Game Flow: Portland Timbers Salvage a Point

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers Salvage a point by battling back from a two goal deficit.

Opening whistle- 10': You could tell the Portland Timbers were confident from the get-go as they passed the ball around the park with ease. A deft flick here, a soft touch there, and Portland quickly earned two corner kicks in the first two minutes of the game. FC Dallas was unfazed by Portland's displays of skill as they themselves looked confident attacking. Dallas earned the first dangerous chance of the night when Donovan Ricketts pushed a cross right to the feet of a Dallas player but thankfully Jorge Villafana twice put his body on the line to block goal scoring opportunities.

10'- Dallas Goal: After the first 15 minutes of the game, both teams had their chances but the game settled down to a more leisurely pace than the breakneck speed. Even though the game flow slowed down, Portland was attacking with speed when the opportunity presented itself. Usually they did so by playing the ball through the middle of the field and then laying the ball out wide to the attacking wings Darlington Nagbe and Steve Zakuani. FC Dallas did well to weather Portland's initial attacking onslaught and they themselves used their speed through the middle of the pitch to attack Portland's CBs.

It was a lot of end to end action with each team creating half-chances to score but none of them tested either keeper. With the end to end action, neither team had any long possession spells. This didn't matter as FC Dallas was able to use short, quick passes to unlock Portland's defense and score the first goal of the game on one run from Fabian Castillo.

Dallas Goal- Second Dallas Goal: Dallas' goal slightly deflated Portland's attack, or it could have been Dallas sitting a little deeper now that they had the lead, and they found Dallas' defense a little tighter. On the other hand, FC Dallas had that injection of energy that comes with the goal, and the attack looked even more dangerous. Their attack was also helped by the myriad of turnovers committed by Portland deep in their own half.

The turnovers and lazy passes continued, and it cost Portland a second goal.

Second Goal - 45: Portland looked shell-shocked after the second goal for a few minutes as they passed the ball around the back four trying to gather their thoughts. After they caught their breath, they put the pedal to the metal and gunned it for their first goal of the game.

Restart- 60': If you have followed Portland's home games, I am confident you know that after the restart they look good. This game was no different as Portland really controlled the ball with long spells of possession. At one point, the ball was cleared off the line twice in the sequence after Portland's attack made it's way into the penalty area. The pinballing of the ball in the box had the crowd screaming for the goal. Portland's attack was relentless but it opened up their defense for counter attacks even more.

At this point in the game, whoever scored next would set the tone and they would dictate the rest of the game.

60' - PK: The Timbers did not give up and kept pressing, but as the time kept winding down so too did their opportunity to secure any points from the game. Dallas knew this and they were putting all 11 men behind the ball and forcing Portland to break down the whole team. The game then devolved into park the bus. Portland was forced to play it out wide and then cross it into the box, which is not their strong suit. Portland had chance after chance to get their first goal but it seemed like every time they did the ball was deflected wide of the goal.

Well, Portland can't complain about soft PK's anymore. Fanendo Adi earned one in 78' as he fell down in the box when a Dallas defender stuck a leg out. (I think it was soft but I write this having not seen a replay.)

PK- Red Card: The PK goal breathed new life into Portland's tired legs and the extra boost from the goal energized the crowd. Portland was throwing everything forward by the 85th minute and even went three at the back. It was one point or none at that point. While the game was a might chippy, there were no over-the-top fouls until all of sudden FC Dallas' Moises Hernandez was shown a straight red for a dangerous tackle on Danny O'Rourke.

Red Card - Final Whistle: Right after the red, Portland survived a scare but then continued to throw everything they had forward. They then got another gift when Blas Perez was shown another straight red for some extracurricular activities with Pa Modou Kah. With 2 men sent off, Dallas could do very little to survive Portland's onslaught and they were able to score the equalizer from an unlikely source, namely the aforementioned Kah.

Observations:

  • Michael Harrington plays a much better cross from the right side because he is not cutting it back to his right. His passing could use a little more polishing at times.

  • Rashawn McKenzie was subbed at half, which is....(Insert what ever you want)

  • Adi was no match for Stephen Keel as Adi was able to hold him off all game long.  (EDIT: Adi physically manhandled Keel last night)

  • Emilio Hoffman was honored twice tonight, once with a moment of silence before the national anthem and again in the 29th minute in honor of his number.

  • Too many lazy passes. FC Dallas just looked like they were built to counter Portland.

  • Good news is that Rodney Wallace started and scored during his two game loan spell.

  • Will Johnson and Gaston Fernandez argued for a solid minute about who was going to take the PK. WJ won out after being more stubborn than La Gata.

  • After Perez was sent off, there was an altercation with the FC Dallas bench and a fan in the Root Sports Lounge. The kerfuffle — I am pretty sure it was just a friendly disagreement — resulted in an assistant coach and the fan ejected (The referee explained the ejection by saying that they were "not behaving in a responsible manner in the technical area").

  • At the end of the game, Castillo charged the AR closest to his bench and bumped him as if he was trying to pick a fight. I smell a suspension coming.
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