The Houston Dynamo began the stretch run to the postseason with a bang, getting goals from five different players en route to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Portland Timbers on Sunday.
It was both teams' first MLS match after the inaugural Leagues Cup.
Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark had the easiest of matches, never facing a shot on goal while earning his ninth clean sheet of the season. He even assisted on a goal as Houston snapped a nine-match winless streak across all competitions.
The Dynamo (9-10-5, 32 points) left little doubt about which team was ready for the MLS restart, roaring out of the gate and scoring three unanswered goals in the match's first 14 minutes.
Houston got on the board in the fifth minute after Griffin Dorsey was fouled in the box by the Timbers' Claudio Bravo. After VAR confirmed the foul call, the Dynamo's Amine Bassi converted a penalty kick, beating Portland goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic at the center of the goal.
The Dynamo added to their advantage six minutes later, with Nelson Quinones turning around a headed pass into the box by Hector Herrera and finding the net.
Houston made it 3-0 in the 14th minute as Adalberto Carrasquilla caught the Timbers' backline sleeping and backheeled a pass to Corey Baird, who split two Portland defenders before lobbing a shot over Ivacic and into the net.
But Houston continued its onslaught three minutes into first-half stoppage time when Franco Escobar's left-footed shot following a pass by Baird got past Ivacic at the bottom left corner, giving the Dynamo a 4-0 cushion at halftime.
Houston made it 5-0 in the 63rd minute as Brad Smith, who had just entered as a substitute, corralled a long free kick from Clark and outraced the Portland defense before finding the bottom right corner of the net.
Portland (6-10-8, 26 points) was forced to play the final 17 minutes plus second-half stoppage time with just 10 men when Jaroslaw Niezgoda was injured after the Timbers had used all their substitutes.
—Field Level Media