The Portland Timbers lost a strange and somewhat disheartening match to FC Dallas tonight, falling 2-1 in a game that saw half of the match played with only ten men on the field for each side. However, the Timbers lost much more than the match thanks to a red to Michael Harrington, an injury to Darlington Nagbe, and a probable suspension for Pa Modou Kah coming down the pipe thanks to a reckless tackle late in the game.
The match took a turn for the strange in the 39' when, from off camera, assistant referee Kermit Quisenberry waved match referee Sorin Stoica over to the touch line. After some quick discussion, Stoica showed red cards to Harrington and Dallas's Je-Vaughn Watson, much to the confusion of the players, coaches, announcers, and viewers in general. It was not until the 90' of the match that the announcers would reveal the reasoning behind the red cards; Harrington had pulled on Watson's jersey and Watson had swung at him.
(Yes, that was it.)
Edit: An update from Jamie Goldberg, who is in Dallas for the game.
Referee Sorin Stoica said that Watson struck Harrington & Harrington struck him back. Both players were sent off for violent conduct #RCTID— Jamie Goldberg (@Jamiebgoldberg) March 30, 2014
With the half winding down it looked like both sides would manage to see out the first half on even pegging despite the space opened up by the red cards. In first half stoppage time, however, Dallas managed to open the scoring. Jair Benitez, left alone thanks to an injury to Nagbe, who had pulled up lame on a previous play, sent a high cross over the Timbers box. Kellyn Acosta was there to meet the ball at the far post, heading it back across the face of goal to Blas Perez. A quick header from Perez into the wide open net was all it took to put Dallas up 1-0.
The match got even stranger, however, in the 66' when the Timbers managed to pull one back thanks to the most improbable own goal of the young MLS season. With the game turning into an end to end slug out, Maximiliano Urruti and Kalif Alhassan broke down the pitch, putting the Dallas defense on their heels. With the ball at his feet, Urruti tried to turn the ball to his right and send Alhassan in one on one with the keeper. Instead, his square pass was deflected off the foot of defender Matt Hedges and curled beautifully around a flat-footed Chris Seitz, who could only watch as the ball bounced into the back of the net.
EDIT: The San Jose Earthquakes scored an even worse own goal on themselves while this was being written up. Video here.
The scoring was not over, however, as both teams continued to throw men forward in search of the game winning goal. In the 84' Dallas found the break through as Mauro Diaz received the ball inside the Timbers box. With Kah hanging off of his back. Diaz pushed the ball to his right foot and, in the sliver of space around the Timbers defender, struck a clean, low shot past Weber at the far post for the game winner.
The 2-1 score would stand even as the Timbers pushed forward, searching for another goal that just would not come.