Portland rides its home-field advantage to yet another win, but F.C. Dallas cuts it close late.
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The Portland Timbers, powered by their rowdy home fans, picked up another win, this time at the expense of FC Dallas. The 3-2 result goes to further prove that despite being an expansion squad, the Timbers are a force to contend with on their home ground.
The Timbers' Army was in full voice from the start of the match, and that energy from their main supporters seemed to propel the players.
The Dallas defense was tested early on and good ball movement produced the opening goal. In the 13th minute, Portland's Kalif Alhassan did well on the edge of the Dallas box to fight through a defender on his quest for a goal. Just as his path to a shot was blocked, he turned and found Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury unmarked on the corner of the area. Jewsbury wasted no time firing his shot, and getting a fortuitous bounce off the post.
The Dallas players, perhaps suffering a bit of a let down from their thumping revenge win over Colorado last week, didn't seem to quite understand that Portland's squad was ready to play, league inexperience notwithstanding.
The majority of the chances still went Portland's way, and twenty minutes after the opening striker, the Timbers tallied another.
Jewsbury was again the catalyst, as he drove in an excellent corner kick. Despite Kenny Cooper's reputation as a big man who plays small, the forward wasn't looking to dribble this time. He charged for the ball and drove an excellent header into the goal.
Despite looking more composed in possession, Dallas was unable to come up with any response to Portland's attacking momentum and went into the halftime break scoreless.
Portland nearly scored at the start of the second half but Jorge Perlaza, the hero of the Timbers' midweek match, was judged offside.
However, only ten minutes later, Portland was not to be denied. Alhassan again played the instigator, cutting through a haze of Dallas defenders who all seemed certain that it was another teammate's responsibility to make the tackle. With the last man cleared by a little dinked pass between the legs, Alhassan seemed headed for a certain goal. Teammate Rodney Wallace capitalized on the opportunity, making a run of his own and poked the ball home to ensure the goal.
With a confortable lead, Portland looked to cruise to a victory, but Dallas managed to make their rivals sweat in the final 10 minutes of the match.
Reigning MLS MVP David Ferriera outran his defender, latching on to a through-ball from Brek Shea, then pushed the ball into the goal at the near post. Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson had guessed wrong by leaning to cover the far post.
Dallas wasn't done yet. In the 86th minute, Ferriera chipped the ball forward for Shea, who timed his run perfectly and flicked his foot out to catch the pass and pop in anther goal.
With all the momentum now on their side, Dallas pressed hard for the equalizer. It nearly came. As the ball bounced free from a Dallas corner, Ferreira volleyed a shot towards the back of the net. Gleeson dove for it, managing to just detour the ball onto the framework of the goal.
The final whistle brought relief for thousands of anxious Timbers fans, who were sweating out the result.
While it's clear now that other MLS teams should avoid taking Portland lightly, the Timbers themselves demonstrated they have to learn not to sleep on a lead.
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