FC Dallas drew the visiting Portland Timbers, 1-1, at FC Dallas Stadium Saturday night. Dallas’ goal was set up by 20-year-old Homegrown player Bryan Leyva, who made the first start of his career since joining the MLS side on Sept. 16, 2009.
The goal came in the 22nd minute, when Carlos Rodriguez controlled the ball on the left flank and sent a pass ahead of Blas Perez into the center of the area. Perez was unable to get on the end of the cross but the ball skipped through the area and found Leyva at the back post, arriving late from his position on the right side. The 20-year-old midfielder struck the ball with his first touch, forcing Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins to make a diving save to his right side. Fortunately for Dallas, the rebound fell directly at the feet of Perez, who finished into an empty net for the early lead.
Perez now has a goal and two assists for Dallas in his first two games with the team.
Portland nearly drew level in the 36th minute when Jack Jewsbury lobbed a free kick attempt into the area from 35-yards out. Getting forward from his defensive position, Lovel Palmer rose above the crowd to redirect a header on goal, only to have the shot carom off the right post. Defensive stalwart Daniel Hernandez was quick to recover the loose ball inside the six-yard box. The veteran kept FC Dallas’ one-goal lead in tact with a spinning volley out of the area.
With Portland applying pressure late in the first half, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman opted to bring center back George John on for Leyva. The defensive substitution quelled Portland’s attack for the remainder of the half, helping Dallas retain its lead for the time being.
Portland countered with a substitution of its own to begin the second half. John Spencer brought on Darlington Nagbe for Jorge Perlaza at the forward position. The move paid immediate dividends. Nagbe applied heavy pressure to the FC Dallas defense and forced a turnover at the top of the box in the 51st minute. Controlling an off-target back pass, he walked in alone on Hartman and picked out the left side-netting to level the score, 1-1.
Portland nearly took a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute when Kris Boyd came open on the end line off to Hartman’s left side on a play that began with a throw-in. Looking at a tough angle, the 6’1” forward took a hard shot at the near post, but Hartman was in perfect position to kick down the shot attempt and smother the rebound. Boyd’s shot attempt was as close as either side would get to a game-winner as the match settled into a midfield battle for the remaining 19 minutes of play.