Mar 24, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi (9) is fouled by FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges (not pictured) during the first half at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
FC Dallas (1-0-2) and the Portland Timbers (0-2-1) played to a 1-1 draw in Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
The game was a back-and-forth affair as Portland eyed its first points of the season and Dallas looked to continue its positive start.
“I thought it was hard to get the best out the players today for both teams,” FC Dallas head coach Óscar Pareja said. “We can attribute that to many factors but getting the rhythm of the game cost us, especially [when] we fought a team that’s cutting the timing and flow of the game.”
Sebastian Blanco bent an effort from outside the box past Jimmy Maurer to tie the match, silencing the announced crowd of 13,851 in the 47th minute. Blanco threatened multiple times throughout the match, making up for what was a quiet game from 2017 MLS Major Valuable Player Diego Valeri.
“Beautiful goal in a perfect moment for us,” Timbers head coach Gio Savarese said. “Usually, the start of the second half is the moment they come at you with everything they have and finding that goal was crucial for us to understand that we’re having a good game, that the plan was good for them to be patient and it was excellent the moment Seba scored the goal.
“It was a little rollercoaster,” Hayes said. “They scored really early in the second half, which kind of deflates the sails a little bit. It’s something we have to handle when we’re attacking to be wary of what happens if we lose the ball, so we have to be able to slow down that counter-attack there.
The Timbers took advantage of a limbering Anton Nedyalkov, who struggled throughout the match with an injury. The Bulgarian international started the season on the injury list, dealing with Achilles tendonitis
“Unfortunately, he couldn’t continue the game,” Pareja said. “When he came to the side, we all thought he was able to continue and that one play he struggled.”
LISTEN: Óscar Pareja’s post-game press conference
Dallas opened up the scoring in the 36th minute with a 20-yard effort from leading scorer Roland Lamah. Jacori Hayes continued to hold possession of the ball as he moved farther up the pitch, finding Lamah. Lamah slotted the effort by Timbers keeper Jake Gleeson and Dallas took a surprising lead after a strong start by Portland.
“I saw Rollie [Lamah] last second out of the corner of my eye so I just cut and just played it to him,” Hayes said. “He did the rest. I can’t take too much credit, it was still a great finish.”
Chances were at a premium for both sides in the second half as each team eyed a winner. In the 59th minutes, Michael Barrios and Maxi Urruti connected on one of the few times Gleeson was tested, saving the shot near post.
Portland’s chance at victory took a hard blow with Lawrence Olum’s ejection in the 75th minute. Olum deliberately stuck his hand out on a corner, forcing a save from Maurer and also a second yellow card from referee Mark Geiger. Olum was sent to take an early-shower and Portland was down to 10 men.
The Timbers had the momentum for much of the second half with the early equalizer. The red card took the wind out of their sails and in the end, the team settled for a draw in what was otherwise a positive night.
“It’s unfortunate,” Timbers head coach Gio Savarese said. “You don’t have time to think. You don’t have feelings. In the moment, you must think of solutions that we have to make in order to make sure we are solid enough to continue with 10 men. In the end, we were able to make the right substitutions and the time held in a great way. But of course, if we had the chance to continue with 11 players, I think we were having very good momentum and I think we could’ve gotten a little bit more.”
Alvas Powell almost gave the visitors a shock lead with a brilliant individual effort late on in the 84th minute, dribbling past the FC Dallas midfield and defense and beating Maurer, but putting the shot just wide of the net. It would have been a much needed three points for Portland, who are slowly adjusting to Savarese’s system.
It was a story of missed chances in the end. Dallas could not take advantage of some wing play by Harold Mosquera, as a sliding effort from Urruti was blocked by Gleeson and follow-up attempts were cleared out by Portland in the 86th minute.
“I thought we played alright,” defender Matt Hedges said. “I thought we limited their chances defensively and they had one great goal and few other chances. Defensively, I thought we were alright. We just got unlucky in the last 15 minutes when we were a man up.
Dallas will take another week off before hosting the Colorado Rapids on April 7 at 7:00 PM CST.
The Timbers will continue their road trip as renovations are being done at Providence Park with a date at the Chicago Fire on March 31 at 5:00 PM CST.