It was the first win for new head coach Caleb Porter, who endeared himself further with the home town crowd by wearing a Timbers Army scarf throughout the match to protect himself from the steady rain that fell during the entire evening.
For Johnson, the two goals were his second and third of the 2013 campaign, both coming in the second half of the match.
The first half was a sloppy and fairly uneventful affair, the only real action coming early when both David Horst and Diego Valeri had to come off for injuries.
The Timbers took control of the match following the break. Johnson’s first goal started with a nice short pass from Darlington Nagbe who sprung Diego Chara down the right wing. Chara sprinted free and curled a perfectly placed cross to Johnson who deflected it past Houston goal keeper Tally Hall for the lead.
Johnson’s second goal was also started by Nagbe who stole the ball, fed Kalif Alhssan and took the return pass, and then found Johnson with a perfectly weighed ball breaking free down the left wing. Johnson did the rest, keeping his cool and calmly beating Hall to the far post to seal the victory.
Coach Caleb Porter made some minor adjustments to his lineup, starting Rodney Wallace on the left wing and Jack Jewsbury at right back. He also started David Host in central defense for the second game in a row, this time pairing Horst with Mikael Silvestre, who was benched the previous game. Right Back continues to be a problem for the Timbers; Jewsbury is the third player to start there after Ryan Miller and Ben Zemanski were both given a chance to win the starting spot.
Porter was forced to go to his bench early as Horst went down with a badly rolled ankle after he challenged Gilles Barnes for a loose ball in the Timbers goal box. Horst had to be taken off the field on a stretcher and was replaced by Andrew Jean-Baptiste. Valeri had to be helped off the field after taking an elbow to the face from Jermaine Taylor when both went up for a head ball in midfield. Kalif Alhassan replaced Valeri; Nagbe took over his central midfield spot and Alhassan moved out to the left wing.
Wallace had a good game in his first start this season and was unlucky to not score on two different occasions. After the Timber took the 1-0 lead, Johnson found Wallace with a square pass all alone outside the goal box and Wallace sent a screamer of a shot that beat Hall but ricocheted off the cross bar and the right post before bouncing out of the goal mouth. With the Timbers holding a 2-0 lead Wallace almost sealed the deal when Alhassan found him alone directly in front of the goal; his shot was unfortunately right at Hall.
Donovan Ricketts was in goal for the Timbers and recorded his first shutout of the season.
The Timbers next match is Sunday April 14 at home against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Man Of the Match: Once again there is little doubt who deserves this award this week. You score the teams only two goals, you get named MOM. Ryan Johnson alerted Timbers fans and the rest of the league that he is a center forward to be reckoned with.