FC Dallas would come just a goal short of producing yet another classic in this year’s MLS Cup Playoffs, but after a valiant effort, their 2015 campaign came to an end.
Ryan Hollingshead and Blas Perez would put their best efforts forward for Dallas, but Dairon Asprilla and Lucas Melano had other ideas, putting the Portland Timbers into their first MLS Cup in club history.
Dallas would have the first chance of the match coming in the 6th minute. Fabian Castillo was lurking on the left-side of the box unmarked and homegrown Kellyn Acosta found him with a great cross. Castillo crossed the ball across the face of goal but no-one could connect. Portland would immediately counter, but Acosta tracked back to prevent the one-on-one chance with a tackle of Fanendo Adi.
The teams would then trade open chances, neither would find the back of the net. Portland would get the first of those chances as Darion Asprilla would use a deft touch with his chest to produce a shot inside the box in the 14th minute. Homegrown keeper Jesse Gonzalez would come up with a nice save from point-blank.
Portland’s keeper, Adam Larsen Kwarasey, would commit grand larceny, robbing David Texeira of his second goal in this year’s playoffs. Texeira would have an open header crashing down towards goal. His effort was stonewalled by Kwarasey who flailed his body at it to make the stop in the 32nd minute.
The Timbers would have one final chance in the first half at the 36 minute mark after an Asprilla cross, but Adi would send his effort 20 rows into the stands.
Adi would have the last laugh in the 51st minute. After a Mauro Diaz turnover the ball found its way to the feet of Adi who had just Gonzalez in front of him as Walker Zimmerman had slipped to the ground. Adi dribbled and ripped a shot past the fingertips of Gonzalez to make the score 1-0 in the match, 4-1 on aggregate in favor of the Timbers.
Diaz would refuse to be remembered as the guy who helped end his clubs season, so he took over the match. The Argentine would provide two assists for FC Dallas’ last gasp at MLS Cup.
The Argentine lifted a perfectly weighted ball towards the former UCLA Bruin, Hollingshead. Hollingshead’s finish was crisp and clean into the bottom right corner making the score 1-1 in the match and 4-2 on aggregate in the 69th minute. The life was just what FC Dallas needed, as they used the momentum to grab another.
The Panamanian big man Perez, who checked into the match in the 66th minute, grabbed a header to pull Dallas within one on aggregate. His first goal since May. Diaz lifted a cross a cross in off a set-piece, and Perez was there for the goal making it 4-3 on aggregate in favor of the Timbers in the 73rd minute. Toyota Stadium would not sit down for the rest of the match.
Perez would have another chance in stoppage time, but his shot was blocked out of play by an outstanding effort from Nat Borchers. Portland would pick up the dagger just minutes later. Stoppage time sub Lucas Melano would round Gonzalez, tapping the ball into the net for the series.
FC Dallas’ gutsy effort would fall short, as they could not muster the goals they needed. Portland would tie the match 2-2, and win on aggregate by a score of 5-3, advancing to MLS Cup. Now begins a long off-season for FC Dallas.