Both teams came into Wednesday's midweek clash in Dallas needing to turn the tide in their favor. FC Dallas were winless in three and staring down scoring drought after a road trip while the Portland Timbers hadn't yet won on the road in five. It was FC Dallas who emerged the victor, overcoming an early Timbers goal to win 2-1 at Toyota Stadium.
Though the Timbers came in with a new game plan to rectify zero clean sheets this season, they were only able to execute it for one half as Dallas struck twice shortly after the break.
First, in the 55th minute, defender Ryan Hollingshead tried to slip a pass in the box that was blocked back to his feet, but Portland's defenders were late to step up and Hollingshead struck past goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. Moments later, an unmarked Walker Zimmerman sprinted into the box on a set piece and knocked a towering header in.
Up to their meltdown, it had been a dream start for the Timbers, who scored in the third minute and moved the ball well with the edge in possession. The opening goal started with forward Darren Mattocks, who lofted a cross into the box. Dallas defender Maynor Figueroa tried to pull the ball down with his foot instead of heading it away, and winger Lucas Melano pounced. He passed it off to Diego Valeri for the tap-in.
- 3' – POR – Diego Valeri (Lucas Melano)
- 55' – DAL – Ryan Hollingshead
- 57' – DAL – Walker Zimmerman (Mauro Diaz)
- Full box score
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SCORELESS NO MORE: After 347 minutes, FC Dallas finally scored a goal. Dallas were outscored 8-0 in three road matches against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC, and a win at home with two goals is as good as any result FC Dallas could have hoped for. In light of the team's struggles of late, a rally to overcome a deficit should give this team confidence moving forward.
NEW GAME PLAN, SAME RESULT: The Timbers wanted to come into the match possessing the ball more and relying on the counterattack less to cut down on the barrage of shots they've faced recently. They did exactly that -- for the first half anyway. At halftime, the Timbers had the edge in possession (53 percent to 47 percent) and were nearly even on shots with FC Dallas (six to seven). They finished the game being out-shot by a whopping 17-8, continuing a recent trend of Portland being out-shot by lopsided margins. The Timbers still have yet to win on the road or record a clean sheet this season, two things coach Caleb Porter admitted to reporters on Tuesday the team must be able to do.
GOALKEEPER CONUNDRUMS: Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson again put in a performance that will be debated -- he made three strong saves to keep the Timbers in the match, but still conceded two goals for the loss. But more notable was Gleeson's collision with former teammate Maxi Urruti midway through the first half. Gleeson eventually played on after being examined by trainers, but he visibly grimaced in pain every time he kicked the ball. With Adam Kwarasey out with a torn ligament in his hand, the Timbers may not want to face a Gleeson absence if he can't bounce back before Sunday.
- DAL: Saturday, May 14 vs. Seattle Sounders (9:00 pm ET, MLS LIVE)
- POR: Sunday, May 15 vs. New York City FC (7:30 pm ET, FS1)