Bill Tuiloma scores in the Timbers’ 1-0 win over Austin

Bill Tuiloma scored from a diving header in the second half and the Portland Timbers handed Austin their first loss of the season with a 1-0 win on Saturday night.

Tuiloma’s goal came from Yimmi Chara’s free-kick in the 62nd minute to keep Portland unbeaten in their first three matches of the year.

“I had a few chances in the first half, I was a bit frustrated, but I told myself to stay calm and the goal will come, and finally it happened, which I’m happy about,” Tuiloma said. . “But other than that, the back four – not just the back four, the whole whole team – we fought until the end.

“Yes, we can improve, and in every game there is always room to learn as a team and as an individual, but overall it was a great win.”

Austin is off to a good start, scoring 10 goals combined in his first two games. But those goals came against FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami, so the road game against the Timbers – who went to the MLS Cup final last year – was the team’s first real test. .

Portland have drawn back-to-back draws in their first two matches, against New England and LAFC. Chara scored bicycle kick goals in each of those games, earning him back-to-back spots on the MLS Team of the Week.

“We put a lot of work into this game,” Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. “And we were playing against a good team. Austin is a much improved team this season. I think we gave them a little too much respect in the first half. But in the second half we were very good. We put them under pressure, we won balls. We could have scored more goals.”

Sebastian Driussi, who leads Austin with three goals and two assists, appeared to score from a tap-in in the 32nd minute but was offside.

Portland’s best first-half chance came in the 40th, but Tuiloma’s attempt missed the post and the game went scoreless at the break.

The second half started in a downpour at Providence Park before Tuiloma’s diving header.

“I liked the way we came into this game, the way we competed,” Austin coach Josh Wolff said. “We knew we would probably have a bit more ball than in Portland, and I think we handled the game pretty well. We didn’t give up much, unfortunately we gave up one and couldn’t take our opportunities on the other side.

Defenseman Justin Rasmussen, the 27th pick of Grand Canyon’s MLS SuperDraft, made his first start for the Timbers. Left-back Claudio Bravo was suspended for the game after a red card against LAFC last weekend.

The Timbers Army supporter group set off purple smoke bombs following Tuiloma’s goal to show support for victims of domestic violence. A former Portland player, Andy Polo, has been accused by his ex-wife of abuse. Sheriff’s deputies were called to Polo’s home last May and he was cited but never charged with misdemeanor harassment.

The Timbers optioned Polo’s contract last December, but he was fired last month after his estranged wife made the allegations. He denied them.

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Sandy A. Greer