Win keeps hopes for a play­off berth alive

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - SOCCER | HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - By Glynn A. Hill STAFF WRITER glynn.hill@chron.com twit­ter.com/glyn­n_hill

The Dy­namo haven’t had the most aus­pi­cious sea­son, but on Satur­day, they turned a hap­less start into points, snap­ping a 10game win­less streak to beat Port­land 4-1 at BBVA Com­pass Sta­dium, very nar­rowly keep­ing their play­off as­pi­ra­tions alive.

Mis­for­tune struck early when de­fender Al­vas Pow­ell looked to build on a promis­ing se­quence and chipped a pass to Diego Va­leri to­ward the goal. Dy­namo de­fender Ale­jan­dro Fuen­mayor out­stretched his leg to in­ter­cept, in­ad­ver­tently pop­ping the ball over keeper Joe Willis for a 9th-minute Tim­bers score in­stead of clear­ing the threat.

“We’ve been work­ing for two weeks to try to for­get what’s been hap­pen­ing lately with our re­sults,” coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “The play­ers made a com­mit­ment to work harder, to push.”

Hous­ton (8-13-7; 31 points) missed a chance to equal­ize as minute 17 turned to 18 — an op­por­tunis­tic win­dow in which a cor­ner kick pre­sented a se­ries of mo­ments for the Dy­namo, in­clud­ing one where the ball was barely cleared be­fore it could break the goal line.

But 14 min­utes later, for­ward Al­berth Elis scored his 11th goal of the sea­son and his sec­ond in as many straight games.

In minute 32, mid­fielder To­mas Martinez chipped a curl­ing free kick to­ward the edge of the area, and Elis rose to head the ball into the op­po­site side of the net for the ty­ing goal.

But Elis wasn’t done for the night.

Seven min­utes later, he re­ceived the ball from Martinez again in Port­land’s (12-8-8; 44 points) half, this time a short way past mid­field where he charged from the flank, fir­ing a shot across the net and con­nect­ing with a slid­ing Mauro Man­o­tas for the go-ahead goal.

The score jolted the crowd and gave Man­o­tas his 17th goal in all com­pe­ti­tions this year, a fran­chise record — sur­pass­ing Will Bruin’s high set in 2012.

The Dy­namo are fight­ing for pride just as much the slim pos­si­bil­ity of a play­off berth. Mean­while, Port­land is look­ing to se­cure its spot from hun­gry op­por­tunists.

As Hous­ton has done so many times late in games this sea­son, it nearly sur­ren­dered a score, this time in the fad­ing min­utes of the first half. In the 43rd minute, Willis re­acted just quickly enough to de­flect Se­bas­tian Blanco’s shot as he danced around a trio of de­fend­ers in the box.

A minute later, Blanco recorded a would-be as­sist on Diego Chara’s score that was re­versed by an off­side call.

Hous­ton’s win evens its all-time se­ries with Port­land (5-5-4), a team Man­o­tas has typ­i­cally ex­celled against. His brace gives him seven goals in his last six ap­pear­ances vs. the Tim­bers and also sets a team record for most reg­u­lar-sea­son goals (14).

Yi-Chin Lee / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

Dy­namo de­fender DaMar­cus Beasley, left, and Tim­bers de­fender Al­vas Pow­ell bat­tle for pos­ses­sion Satur­day night.

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