FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas dropped their first points at home this season, but the league’s two hottest teams extended their unbeaten runs to eight straight games after the Portland Timbers battled the league leaders to a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas Stadium on Wednesday.
Darlington Nagbe broke an entertaining scoreless deadlock in the 70th minute when second-half substitute Rodney Wallace sent a cross from the left side of the box and found him at the far post. Nagbe coolly volleyed the ball into the net for his third goal of the season to put the Timbers out in front.
But Dallas equalized seven minutes later when Kenny Cooper converted a penalty kick past an otherwise spotless Donovan Ricketts to preserve the draw. The spot kick was given after Portland’s Andrew Jean-Baptiste was whistled for dragging down Blas Pérez in the box and was shown yellow by head official Juan Guzman.
The result keeps FC Dallas (6-1-3) atop the MLS heap with 21 points, four ahead of Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference standings, and five ahead of Portland (3-1-6), who drop to third.
FCD had continued their streak of shutting out their opponents in the first half of all 10 matches of their this season, but the Timbers came agonizingly close to ending that streak as they controlled the midfield and created the better chances in the opening frame.
In the 17th minute, Portland forward Kalif Alhassan found a streaking Diego Valeri wide open in the box with his left to right cross, but Dallas ‘keeper Raúl Fernández was up to the task and saved the midfielder’s hard, low shot.
Only minutes later, Diego Chará was tantalizingly close to collecting his fourth assist of the season when he sent Frédéric Piquionne in on Fernández with a brilliant through ball from just inside midfield. But the Peruvian national teamer showed his quality again with a fingertip save that pushed the ball just wide enough for it to clang off the left post.
Early in the second half, FC Dallas were forced to make a change when captain David Ferreira apparently pulled a muscle, bringing on French forward Eric Hassli.
Both teams play again on short rest on Saturday with Portland hosting Chivas USA at JELD-WEN Field and FC Dallas facing bottom-of-the-table D.C. United back here at FC Dallas Stadium.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Blas Pérez (DAL)||Earned the PK for the equalizer and was a huge pain for Portland's backline all night – a game-changer.|
|2||Diego Chará (POR)||Watch his box-to-box run to cleanly tackle Ferreira on the break – sums up the work he did all game.|
|3||Donovan Ricketts (POR)||Excellent night for the Jamaican, PK aside. Four big saves, including fingertip stop on Cooper late.|