A poor night defending set-pieces left FC Dallas with a 3-1 loss in Portland, and looking at an uphill battle returning home. Liam Ridgewell, Darion Asprilla and Nat Borchers got on the score sheet for Portland. David Teixeria scored the away goal for FC Dallas.
Portland wasted no time, as they came out firing straight out of the gate. Lucas Melano would blast a shot on goal within the first 30 seconds, but homegrown rookie keeper Jesse Gonzalez stood tall with the save. Gonzalez saved two penalties in the shootout against the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference semi-finals.
Both teams would begin to fly up and down the pitch with chances galore, but the final ball was not there for either side.
FC Dallas would be on their heels for the majority of the first 20 minutes, and the Timbers would finally strike in the 23rd minute. Using one of FC Dallas’ weaknesses that has been shown all season, Portland struck off of a corner.
Darlington Nagbe swung the cross in, and Asprilla nodded the ball towards the feet of an unmarked Ridgwell. Zach Loyd had lost Ridgewell in the shuffle, and the Portland captain executed making it 1-0 in the 23rd minute.
FC Dallas’ best chance would come in the 29th minute as Michael Barrios would blast to the end line and send a cross with pace across the face of goal. The cross would find the feet of Teixeria who tried the heel flick finish due to the awkward angle, but his should would fizzle out to nothing.
After that, Portland began to play an effective double team on Barrios and Colombian national Fabian Castillo. A frustrating half for FC Dallas came to an end with Portland leading 1-0, and out shooting Dallas three to two.
The second half saw both sides have a bit more control, but Portland again struck first, and what a strike it was. After Gonzalez stopped a corner with his fingertips, he was left rooted to the spot just seven minutes later.
Asprilla let a shot fly from 20 yards out, and the wicked curve saw it into the top left corner making it 2-0 in favor of the Timbers.
The chance was created by a turnover by Loyd. Dallas would answer getting the important away goal in the 61st minute after Mauro Diaz played a great ball to Je-Vaughn Watson on the right, Watson played a great cross to Teixeira who flicked the ball into the net for 2-1.
Ryan Hollingshead had a chance to get another away goal just before Dallas scored after a brilliant ball from Diaz, but he shanked his shot after pressure from Adam Kwarasey.
The 2-1 score line favored Dallas heading back home, but Borchers had other ideas. After a corner was awarded to the Timbers in the 90th minute, a scramble occurred on the goal line, the bearded defender came crashing in and poked the ball home to make it 3-1 to the delight of a sold out Providence Park.
The match would finish 3-1, making the hill for FC Dallas to climb just that much steeper. FC Dallas return home for leg two of the series. The match is Sunday November 29th in Frisco at 4:00 P.M..