By Clay Massey
FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas continues their three-match unbeaten start with a 2-1 win on a late goal by argentine magician, Mauro Diaz, in the 84’ minute to dispatch of the Portland Timbers. In a game where FC Dallas held more possesion (57%), but Portland had more total shots (15-9), FC Dallas made the most of their four chances. FC Dallas came out in a 4-2-3-1 with Blas Perez up top, and Portland came out in a 4-3-3 with Maximilano Urruti in the striker role.
In one of the strangest incidents of the season so far, an off the ball incident resulted in a red card for both sides. In the 38’ minute the linesman blew the whistle to stop play, a mob resulted around the first official, and after some deliberation with his assistant, Ismail Elfath sent off Michael Harrington of Portland and Je-Vaughn Watson of Dallas. Leaving both teams with 10 men.
The first goal of the match came two minutes into first half stoppage time when a Jair Benitez cross was headed by Kellyn Acosta, pulling Andrew Weber out of position straight into Blas Perez’ path in the six-yard box, Perez headed the ball into the open net for a 1-0 lead. Portland equalized in the 65’ minute when a shot by Urruti took a deflection off Matt Hedges and arced over Chris Seitz to make it 1-1.
The breakthrough came in the 84’ minute when the 23 year old Mauro Diaz dropped his shoulder, pushed the ball around Pa Modou Kah and blasted it far post past Weber to make it 2-1 to FC Dallas. Toyota Stadium erupted and the entire FC Dallas team celebrated in the corner. Portland had one final chance five minutes into stoppage time, but Will Johnson skied it over the bar. The Timbers captain, Will Johnson commented on Mauro Diaz with; “Tough result; Give credit where it’s due, guy (Diaz) made a great play.”
Diaz and Perez were named star one and two. Diaz scored the winner, and Perez scored the opener and used his physical prowess and crafty play to cause problems all night. FC Dallas is back in action for the fight for El Capitan in the Texas Derby at Houston. Portland returns to action as they play host to Seattle on rivalry weekend.