Dallas survived the final few minutes, which involved a Video Review check on a potential Ryan Hollingshead handball, as the team closed out a victory, something it could not do last week against Philadelphia.
“VAR is always a scary thing,” Reggie Cannon said. “As soon as he motions for the VAR, everyone is like ‘he’s calling him to a VAR for a reason’, so they told him to look at it. Obviously, we didn’t think it was a handball, but it’s the biggest scare of your life. Your heart is in your throat. It’s the worst feeling in the world and luckily we pulled it off and the ref made the right call.”
It capped off a hectic second half for Dallas, which had a lead into the second half before ceding possession and being on the ropes, as opportunities came for Portland late on.
“We had a challenge last game to close,” FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “We decided to put in a center back to create that line of five this time to close the game. Credit to the boys, they found a way, with some controversy in the end. I thought our first half was very good and very positive, in terms of attack, pressure. The second half was inconsistent. We had moments of good pressure, moments of counters and attacks, moments of good possession but then moments of the opposite, with casualness, with not being together in a pressing situation.
“As the game progressed, we absorbed. My tactic at the end was obviously for the last five minutes to absorb and to get the result. I challenged the group and the staff and myself to keep developing to score that third goal and not concede that goal that we did or make it three to one.”
As FC Dallas continue to grow after seven matches, seeing out matches will need to be an improvement, especially if it wants to reach its ultimate goal of winning MLS Cup.
“I think that it helps scoring two instead of one,” Paxton Pomykal said. “In Philly, we only had one and we dropped off way too early. That cost us. We defended for 90 straight minutes and that can’t happen. Today, we only defended in the last five minutes to defend the lead. Congrats to the guys for a great performance tonight. The last five minutes were rough and we pulled it out.”
Apr 13, 2019; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira (27) celebrates scoring a goal against the Portland Timbers during the first half at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Reto Ziegler scored a penalty to make it 2-0 in the 60th minute after a chaotic sequence of play. After a Cannon free kick found Michael Barrios streaking on the right-hand side, Barrios hit the cross into the box. Portland defender Larrys Mabiala attempted to clear the ball, but slid into his own net, forcing a tough save from Jeff Attinella.
The ball popped out to Pablo Aranguiz, who took a touch and was tripped by Jorge Moreira in the box, drawing a penalty.
Dallas (4-2-1, 13 points) opened the scoring in the 8th minute. Barrios hit a pass that deflected off Timbers midfielder Diego Chara and into the path of Jesus Ferreira, who was one-on-one with Attinella and slotted it into the net to give FC Dallas an early 1-0 lead.
Portland (0-5-1, 1 point) grabbed a goal back in the 67th minute after great team play. Chara slipped to Sebastian Blanco on the wing and Blanco chipped it to Cristhan Paredes, who was making a run into the box. Paredes headed it into the net, past Jesse Gonzalez to pull his team back a goal.
Portland’s season-opening 12-game road trip continues next Saturday when the Timbers take on Columbus Crew SC, while FC Dallas meet Atlanta United at Mercedes Benz Stadium.