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2019 Major League Soccer, Regular Season

Minnesota survives Timbers for scoreless draw

The host Portland Timbers and Minnesota United played to a scoreless draw Sunday afternoon in a key Major League Soccer Western Conference match.

The Timbers were shut out at home for the third straight game despite forcing Loons goalkeeper Vito Mannone into 12 saves.

An apparent handball in the box in the 87th minute by a Minnesota defender wasn't called nor reviewed with replay technology, and Mannone then saved a header off a corner kick. At the other end, Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark denied Kevin Molino's breakaway to keep the game scoreless.

The Timbers had to make a substitution early in the game after midfielder Andres Flores took a high boot from a teammate to just under his eye. Cristhian Paredes entered in the 21st minute.

Portland also welcomed back midfielder Sebastian Blanco and defender Larrys Mabiala to the lineup after lengthy injury absences. The Timbers registered 29 shots, putting 11 on goal, but came up empty.

Blanco hit the crossbar with a shot just before halftime, but the two teams went into the break scoreless.

Michael Boxall struck the crossbar with a header in the 63rd minute for Minnesota. Not long after that, Portland generated a series of chances in a four-minute span, including a header from Paredes that hit the right goal post.

The Timbers (13-13-5, 44 points) earned a point and temporarily moved into seventh place in the Western Conference, equal on points but behind San Jose and ahead of FC Dallas on tiebreakers. But Dallas had yet to play Sunday and with a point could break the three-way tie between the three teams.

Minnesota United missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot, which would have happened with a win. The Loons (14-10-7, 49 points) took sole possession of third place in the West on 49 points.

Both teams have three games remaining in the regular season. The highest Minnesota United can finish is in second place in the West, while Portland has two more games at Providence Park to try to regain some kind of home-field advantage.