HOUSTON – Jeff Attinella had two saves to help the Portland Timbers to a 0-0 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Monday night in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal.
The second leg of the two-game aggregate series is Sunday in Portland. The fourth-seeded Dynamo had just one road win in the regular season.
Attinella posted his 10th career shutout in his first playoff action - including a sliding 1-on-1 save against Alberth Elis in the 51st minute and a leaping stop of a header by Philippe Senderos in the 56th.
Houston is unbeaten in its last eight matches, including a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City in Thursday's single-elimination knockout round.
The Dynamo were awarded a penalty kick in the 30th minute after Larryss Mabiala's sliding tackle of Alberth Elis at the corner of the 6-yard box, but the call was overturned after a replay review.
Mabiala, a defender, as well as midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Diego Chara - who was taken off on a stretcher - did not return for Portland after injuries midway through the game.
The top-seeded Timbers were already without Fanendo Adi, Sebastian Blanco and David Guzman. Adi was second on the team with 10 goals despite missing the final 10 regular-season games after he injured a hamstring during a 3-1 win over Los Angeles on Aug. 6.
The Dynamo will travel to Portland on Nov. 2 for Leg 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker is goals scored away from home. That means Houston can still advance with either a win or a draw, provided they scare at least one goal. If the match ends in another scoreless draw, it would go to extra time and eventually penalty kicks if the draw remains at the end of two extra time periods.
Tickets for the potential Conference Finals will start at $32 and will be available online at HoustonDynamo.com/playoffs, by phone at 713-276-4625 or at the BBVA Compass Stadium box office. If Houston does not advance to the finals, fans can apply the funds toward 2018 season tickets or single-game tickets.