The Portland Timbers needed to come out of their home leg of the Western Conference Finals with a goal in hand. Instead the Timbers emerged with two of them, beating FC Dallas 3-1 at Providence Park and setting up what could be a wide open away fixture next weekend to close out the series.
The Timbers struck first in the 23rd minute after a quick break down the pitch earned the team a corner kick. In Diego Valeri's absence it was Darlington Nagbe who stepped up to swing the ball in, dropping an out swinger just outside the six yard box. Dairon Asprilla rose to meet it and got off a glancing header across the face of goal where Liam Ridgewell was waiting. With only an open net in front of him, Ridgewell had no problem bundling the ball home to open the scoring.
Portland struck again in the 53rd minute, again getting a chance off a quick break down the pitch. This time the Timbers almost had Adi in on goal, only to see the ball knocked away at the last second. It fell, however, to the feet of Asprilla, twenty five yards from goal and wide on the right. Cutting inside, Asprilla uncorked a thunderous strike on goal that curled away from Jesse Gonzalez and dipped just inside the upper ninety, putting the Timbers up 2-0.
The scoring was not over there. Dallas were able to pull one back moments after the Liam Ridgewell was forced off the pitch in the 61st minute. With Norberto Paparatto inserted into the back line, Dallas went right at the big man and Fabian Castillo soon found room to slip a quick ball behind him to David Texeira, who was able to put a slight touch on the ball and redirect it around Adam Kwarasey.
The two goal lead would be restored soon thereafter, however, as the Timbers once again struck off a corner kick in second half stoppage time. Once again it was Darlington Nagbe serving the ball in, but this time it was Paparatto who got on the ball as it dropped into the box. Papa drove forward, hitting a hard header on frame that Gonzalez saved, but could not hold. In the ensuing scrum of Timbers players trying to pounce and Dallas defenders trying to clear, it was Nat Borchers who emerged triumphant, knocking the ball into the side netting and putting the Timbers up 3-1 going into the final whistle.
The Timbers will play at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas next Sunday for the second leg of the home and away match up.