The weather made it feel like FC Dallas was at home and the Portland Timbers were on the road but the result was not the same as the last game these teams played. Portland, namely Franck Songo'o, came out strong but were unable to get the opening goal in the first half and were then punished for a defensive mistake. To Portland's credit they did not give up and were given a break when Zach Loyd earned his second yellow and a red card. Portland got the equalizer but were unable to get the game winner.
Portland, just like the Chivas game, lined up with the what I would call a modified 4-5-1 but what Gavin Wilkinson's calls a 4-3-3. And, just like last game Songo'o came out with a lot of energy and looking to beat defenders with his dribbling skills but this game he added a new dimension to his attack and it was the cut inside to look for his own shot. With this added wrinkle Songo'o looked even more dangerous and FC Dallas had to start paying a lot of attention to him.
With the added attention paid to Songo'o by FC Dallas Darlington Nagbe and Diego Chara were able to find more space in the middle of the pitch and this lead to a couple of dangerous opportunities for Portland in the first 15 minutes of the game. None of the chances ended up being very dangerous. Despite Portland having created the better offense in the first 15 minutes Dallas had the better opportunities to score.
FC Dallas used their speed to their advantage and were able to get behind Portland's slower outside backs on numerous occasions. One such occasion, in the 14th minute, found Steve Smith struggling to contain his man and had to be bailed out by David Horst, who was able to clear the ball. However Horst's clearance bounced off of a player and right into the perfect spot for Brek Shea to have a shot on goal. Thankfully Troy Perkins was in the right place to make the save and keep Dallas from getting on the scoresheet.
After Shea's attempt on goal Portland's defense tightened the screws and allowed 1 deflected shot between the 14th minute and the 41st minute. Portland on the other hand rode Songo'o for their offense and he alone had three shots between the 19th minute and the 29th minute. Even with the the offense running through Songo'o none of the shots forced Kevin Hartman to make a save. In fact Portland did not force a save out of Hartman until the 38th minute which came off of a free kick.
After getting the ball into a dangerous position Diego Chara drew a foul, I really think he went down easy and the ref took the bait, just outside the box and at an angle. Just like the last few free kicks in near the box the Timbers set up Kris Boyd for a shot. This time though Boyd placed it rather than hit it with power and Boyd hit it with his right to the far post where it was curling towards the goal when Hartman dove and made a great save for a corner.
After that shot and save there wasn't many more opportunities for either team and Portland and Dallas went into the half tied at 0.
Portland came out stronger in the second half and forced two saves, not difficult ones but saves none the less, out of Hartman in the first 5 minutes of the half. It was not enough though as David Horst surprising joined the attack when he and Diego Chara combined for a wall pass which put Horst up the field and into the attack. After Horst was unable to find the final pass after getting higher up the field he had to get back to his defensive position but he got too out of position and he got a little lost and did not track a runner. The runner, Scott Sealy, ended up wide open in front of the goal when Brek Shea played a ball across the face of goal and just like last game Portland gave up the first goal.
Instead of hanging their heads Portland continued to press forward for the equalizer and they caught a break when Ricardo Salazar decided to give a second yellow to Loyd for a professional foul on Songo'o. What was weird was Salazar gave the yellow and then about 30 seconds later realized he needed to show the red. It says something about a ref who doesn't know who he has already given a yellow and Salazar is exactly what is wrong with MLS reffing.
After the red card in the 52nd minute Dallas recorded two shots while Portland recorded ten shots with three of them forcing saves from Hartman. All of this pressure was great to see despite being one goal down and it finally paid off in the 79th minute when Jack Jewsbury finally found some 2011 Captain Jack.
Portland was knocking on the door and Songo'o forced an amazing reactionary save from Hartman off a rebound back to Franck off of a blocked shot. Hartman was only able parry the ball to the side where Dallas cleared it only as far as Kosuke Kimura. After a few passes among the Timbers players Dallas cleared the ball out for a throw in near the corner flag. Alhassan took the quick throw in and threw it back to Kimura.
Kimura then played the ball first time back to Alhassan who took a touch between two Dallas defenders and hit a cross into the box. Hartman challenged the cross and was able to punch the ball clear but was unable to keep his feet. With Hartman on the ground the ball was punched to the top of the box and right at Captain Jack. Instead of letting the ball hit the ground or trying to control it Captain Jack took the audacious route and hit a first time volley with his left foot. At that point Hartman had just gotten back up off the ground and was screened by his own defenders and thus unable to parry the shot away.
Jewsbury's goal might be goal of the week and at the very least it should be a candidate because it is that good. After the goal Portland really tried to go get the winner. Even with the man advantage Portland had already expended a lot of energy just to get the equalizer and they could not find the game winner, especially with the gamesmanship of FC Dallas and the constant time wasting. So instead of getting full three points Portland had to settle for the draw.
Maybe next game they can break the scoreless streak on the road and actually get a full three points, doubtful but it is possible.
- Franck Songo'o's willingness to take on players and force the other team to keep one, two and sometimes three extra defenders near him has really helped create chances for other players to get shots on goal.
- Kris Boyd did not have a touch in the run of play for the 60 minutes he was on the field.
- Darlington Nagbe looked better today and almost hit a cracker of a goal
- Diego Chara is everywhere and really has an engine on him. Too bad we can't clone him and have two Chrara's in the middle of the pitch
- Jewsbury hit a great goal and it might be what this team needs to gain a little confidence
- As others have said right now Portland is going through a slow and painful process and what really matters for the rest of this season is that there is a upward progression. This game was another step up, granted it was not a huge step but at least it was a step up not back down.
- Kimura would sacrifice everything for this team, especially after being taken to the cleaners multiple times after crossing the ball into the box.
- Ricardo Salazar is the worst ref in MLS. He lets the game get out of control and then likes to try and intimidate players.