FRISCO, Texas — The Portland Timbers beat the heat and FC Dallas on Wednesday night, 3-2, to move on to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time in team history. The victory was also Portland’s first ever in the state of Texas and FC Dallas’ first home defeat of the season.
In the span of less than two minutes in the second half, Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe put his stamp on the match with a goal and an assist. First, Nagbe dribbled his way into the 18-yard box and around the Dallas defense before neatly slotting home a tough angle shot under Dallas 'keeper Chris Seitz to tie the match at one apiece in the 61st minute.
Just two minutes later, Nagbe hit a nice ball over the top from midfield to meet a perfectly timed run by Diego Valeri. The midfielder beat all of the Dallas defenders to the ball to go 1-v-1 with Seitz, which he cooly converted with a low shot from the edge of the area to give Portland the lead.
Second-half sub Frédéric Piquionne hit the eventual game winner in the 72nd minute when he intercepted an ill-advised back pass from rookie Walker Zimmerman and casually tapped the ball into the net past a helpless Seitz. The goal was Piquionne’s fifth in this year’s Open Cup.
FC Dallas had taken a 1-0 lead into the half thanks to a 15th-minute goal by midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson. Blas Pérez received the ball at the edge of the box and waited for the defense to collapse on him, which opened the space for Watson. Pérez easily found the Jamaican international, who calmly one-timed the ball in stride into the right bottom corner of the net.
Pérez nearly sparked a comeback in the 86th minute, though. Ricketts failed to get all of the ball on an attempted punch and the Panamanian pounced on the flub inside the 6-yard box with a header into the empty net.
However, Dallas' push for the equalizer fell agonzingly short after David Ferreira hit the post with the last kick of the game.
Portland will hit the road again to face Real Salt Lake on Aug. 7 for a chance to reach the US Open Cup final.
The Timbers return to league play on July 7, when they travel to Columbus. FC Dallas, meanwhile, travel to Philadelphia on Saturday.