The Portland Timbers were completely unable to deal with FC Dallas's high pressure tonight and it cost them as the team went down 3-0 in the first half at Providence Park before picking their heads up and pulling a single goal back in the second half.
Giving up the first goal of the match for the fourth time this season, the Timbers found themselves down 1-0 in just the fourth minute. With Dallas pressing high, Ned Grabavoy played a square pass to Jack Jewsbury in the center of the pitch. A pair of Dallas attackers immediately converged on him and Jewsbury coughed up the ball in a dangerous spot. Already in the Timbers' half, Dallas drove at goal. The effort of some late arriving defenders would not be enough, however, as the ball skipped out wide to winger Michael Barrios in space on the edge of the Timbers box. With time to line up his shot, Barrios was able to slip the ball under Adam Kwarasey's dive and inside the far post to open the scoring.
Things got worse in the 26th minute as once again the Timbers coughed up the ball in their own half. Jack Jewsbury found himself with former Timber Maximiliano Urruti closing him down in the center of the pitch once again. Jewsbury looked up the field and prepared to booth the ball away, only to have Urruti to nip the ball away and play a quick ball down the pitch for Fabian Castillo to run onto. With Kwarasey closing him down, Castillo played a neat chip just over the fingertips the of the Timbers keeper that nestled easily into the back of the net.
With the Timbers looking uninspired and Dallas tasting the blood in the water, it was only another two minutes before Dallas would strike again. Following some shambolic attempts at defending from the Timbers, Castillo got on the end of a looping ball at the top of the Timbers' box and hit a first time volley straight down the middle. A defender was on hand to get a boot on the ball, but that only caused it to skip into the path of Dallas forward Tesho Akindele, who fired his free shot home with aplomb.
The Timbers thought they might have a life line in the 41st minute during a strange moment that could have seen Dallas keeper Chris Seitz given a red card as he picked up a ball that was passes back to him off a Dallas free kick outside the box with Fanendo Adi bearing down on him. The Timbers argued that play had restarted and that Seitz should be tossed, but referee Juan Guzman ruled that play had not resumed and that the free kick had not been taken.
With the game seeming out of reach at the half, the Timbers decided to throw everything forward and, in the 67th minute, the gambit paid off as Darren Mattocks got his first goal of the season. With Dallas committed forward in the attack, the Timbers broke quickly down the pitch and Jewsbury set Chris Klute free down the left flank. With space in which to work, Klute hit a low, curling cross that skipped under a Dallas defender and to the feet of Mattocks who had the space needed to hammer home a hard shot just over the shoulder of Seitz.
Dallas would spend the remainder of the match bunking down and absorbing constant pressure from the Timbers, but actual scoring chances for the home team were few and far between.
The Timbers play again on Saturday -- their third match in seven days -- hosting the San Jose Earthquakes.