FC Dallas (6-1-3, 21 points) maintained its six-point lead over the rest of the Western Conference with a 1-1 draw against Portland tonight at FC Dallas Stadium.
Forward Kenny Cooper scored FC Dallas’ lone goal in the 77th minute. Portland’s goal was scored by Darlington Nagbe in the 70th minute.
FC Dallas is back in action again this Saturday, May 11 against D.C. United (1-7-1, 4 points) at FC Dallas Stadium.
FC Dallas nearly took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when Zach Loyd came forward from his spot at right back and bent a cross to the back post. Blas Perez was there to win the ball, knocking it backwards for David Ferreira to finish, but the former league MVP’s first-touch volley attempt went just over the bar, keeping the match tied.
Portland countered and quickly earned a corner kick but FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez easily gobbled up the loose ball after it deflected off a pack of players at the top of the six-yard box.
Fernandez was called upon again in the 17th minute. The Peruvian tracked a cross from Kalif Alhassan right-to-left and arrived just in time to steal a goal off the foot of Diego Valeri at the far post.
Just two minutes later, Fernandez made yet another incredible save on Portland forward Frederic Piquionne. The 6-2 forward timed his run perfectly and got in-behind the FC Dallas defense. Portland midfielder Diego Chara played a perfect through ball from midfield to put Piquionne in on the breakaway but Loyd made a recovery run to push him away from the center of the pitch while Fernandez came off his line to cut down on the forward’s shooting angle. Every inch counted as Piquionne’s hard shot to Fernandez’s right side was partially blocked by the goalkeeper and struck the near post before being cleared away by the FC Dallas defense.
The save prolonged FC Dallas’ streak of first-half shutouts to 10 games.
FC Dallas controlled possession of the ball coming out after halftime and nearly found the back of the net in the 49th minute, when Fabian Castillo won control in midfield and played a ball into space for Perez. The Panamanian chased the ball down and got off a sliding shot attempt only to have Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts make a nice save to his right side.
Shortly after, FC Dallas was forced to make a change when Ferreira pulled up with an injury in the 54th minute. Forward Eric Hassli took his place, shifting FC Dallas into a 4-4-2 formation.
Castillo continued to trouble Portland defenders through midfield and on the left flank. He set up a Cooper header from point-blank range in the 65th minute but Ricketts was once again equal to that attempt. Castillo also freed up Michel, who sent in a cross to Perez in the 68th minute. Perez’s header was nearly perfect. The shot beat Ricketts to his right side before caroming off the post.
Portland found the back of the net first, in the 70th minute, when Rodney Wallace, who was running right-to-left across the top of the area, chipped a ball against the grain to the back post. Once again, Fernandez did well to track the ball but Darlington Nagbe’s first touch volley powered its way past the goalkeeper to give Timbers FC a 1-0 lead.
FC Dallas answered, tying the game, 1-1, via its first converted penalty kick attempt of the season in the 77th minute. Referee Juan Guzman awarded the penalty after Perez was fouled by Portland defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste, away from the ball. Cooper stepped to the spot and struck a hard shot to Ricketts’ right side to knot the game.