FRISCO – Fourteen games played away from Providence Park, and the Portland Timbers still have yet to come away with three points.
Their latest road struggle came at the hands of dominant hosts FC Dallas to the tune of a 3-1 scoreline, with the Timbers' lone goal coming in the 87th minute after the match was seemingly all but decided.
“I thought we were second best. It wasn’t good enough out of our group. We congratulate Dallas – they showed why they were the best team in the league.”
Even though the match was 3-0 in favor of the hosts going into the final 10 minutes, the momentum nearly swung Portland’s way a couple of times. Porter said his team responded well to the early Dallas PK – what he referred to as a tone-setter – and then again despite suffering a “back-breaker” just after halftime, when Lucas Melano smashed the crossbar and Fanendo Adi headed an open rebound right back to FCD 'keeper Chris Seitz.
The problem for Portland Saturday night was that the ball just didn’t bounce their way when the moments did arise, according to Porter.
“There are always moments where it can swing and can change,” Porter said. “Obviously the PK was a big turning point in the game, but they scored a great goal before half and a good goal after half. For me, we were second best. They were the better the team.”
While reiterating multiple times that they were second best in Frisco, Porter also had a message of calm. Though FC Dallas have the Timbers’ number this season, outscoring them 8-3 in three FCD wins, Porter pointed to last season as a beacon of hope for the future. That's when they were dominated by FC Dallas, but still eliminated them in the postseason.
“It’s important to know it’s just one game,” Porter said. “Last year we lost to this team 4-1 in July. We won the MLS Cup. Every team has these games. We don’t like it, we don’t accept it, we take responsibility for it, but seven days ago we had a very good performance. It’s easy to look at this game and think it’s broken – it’s not.”
While maybe not broken, the sense of urgency is rising, as Portland sit right above the red line with San Jose, Seattle and Vancouver breathing down their neck. They also still have yet to win on the road this season, a trend befuddling to Porter due to their success away from home over the last two seasons.
Half of their six remaining games will be at Providence Park, which should provide some level of comfort for Timbers faithful. But the clock is ticking, says Porter, for his team to snap out of this “mystifying” road funk and get on a roll to secure a spot in the MLS playoffs.
“They’re not happy. I’m not happy,” Porter said. “We’re at a stage in the season where every point matters. We have six games to go, and we’ve got to make it right with these two home games coming up.”