The Portland Timbers came into Frisco with a thread-bare roster and walked out with a point after a stoppage time equalizer from Franck Boli.
“Anything can happen in this sport,” said FC DallasHead Coach Nico Estevez. “I think our team did everything to win the game, and the numbers show that. At the beginning it was difficult because they made the game very slow and didn’t press. We found ways to attack and increase the tempo, finding Geovane (Jesus) with the diagonal ball.”
Estevez had a couple of changes from the 2-1 loss at LAFC. The boss welcomed back his regular midfield, but had to make do without the suspended Ema Twumasi. Jose Martinez also returned from a knee injury.
Sebastien Ibeagha kept the start alongside Nkosi Tafari with Maarten Paes in goal. Geovane Jesus started at right back, opposite Marco Farfan.
Edwin Cerrillo started at the six with the returning Sebastian Lletget and Paxton Pomykal at the eights. The attack was it’s usual look with Jesus Ferreira leading the line with Alan Velasco and Paul Arriola flanking.
Portland lined up in a similar 4-3-3 shape. Gio Savarese has had to deal with a host of injuries, missing new DP Evander, Yimmi Chara, Felipe Mora, and Sebastian Blanco among their eight-man injury list for tonight’s game.
Neither side could carve out a solid chance in the opening half hour. Portland compressed their lines out of possession, leaving Dallas to work the flanks or play over the top. The Timbers did finally produce a chance in the 30th minute, rattling Maarten Paes’ left post.
Juan Mosquera received a cross-field ball breaking from the remnants of an FCD attack. Mosquera beat out former Timber Marco Farfan down the Dallas left, before cutting back across the box for Santiago Moreno to run onto. Moreno took a touch and tried to curl around Paes, but could only hit the post before the Burn cleared to safety.
Geovane Jesus started brightly on both sides of the ball. His header on a 37th minute Jesus Ferreira corner was Dallas’ first shot on target, forcing Aljaz Ivacic to parry the ball back to Ferreira. Realizing he would have been offside, the Dallas forward watched the ball out for a throw. Alan Velasco followed that up a minute later with a curling effort from outside the box to work the Timbers’ keeper.
FC Dallas managed to break Portland’s block a couple of times early in the second half, but frustrated themselves and the crowd with a lot of passes in and around the box with no-one willing to take a shot.
With Dallas in the ascendency, coach went to the bench to bring in Jesus Jimenez and Facundo Quignon for Edwin Cerrillo and Sebastian Lletget in the 64th minute. Dallas moved into more of a 4-2-3-1 to counter Portland’s attempt to go shape-for-shape.
Jimenez had a nice give and go with Paul Arriola in the first couple of minutes following the change. Jimenez took the higher line allowing Jesus Ferreira to float as the 10.
Dallas worked a series of set pieces around the Portland Area. One that started with a nice training ground routine between Ferreira and Arriola – the latter forcing a save – was put back in by Ferreira. The ball was held up by Geovane allowing Facundo Quignon to take a touch into space and drive a left footed effort across Ivacic in to the net. The goal came in the 74th minute.
Dallas had the ball in the net once again two minutes after. Jimenez ran through to a loose ball and cut back nicely for Alan Velasco to bundle home. The former Toronto forward was slightly offside leading to the late flag cancelling out the goal.
Portland weren’t done, almost immediately bombing a long ball for Juan Mosquera. The Portland man’s first touch beat out Nkosi Tafari, but Maarten Paes aggressively came off his line to make the save.
Coach Estevez changed the shape again in the 84th minute, bringing Jose Martinez in for Alan Velasco to push Dallas into a 3-4-3. The final changes came five minutes later with Sam Junqua on for Geovane Jesus, and Jader Obrian replacing Jesus Ferreira.
Dallas had wasted a couple of good chances, and were made to pay in the second minute of stoppage time. Diego Chara smashed a ball out wide for Dairon Asprilla and Portland debutant Franck Boli slammed Asprilla’s cut back beyond Maarten Paes from the edge of the box.
“I saw the long ball played to the right side and I decided to follow the action,” said the Portland goalscorer. “I saw a few guys inside the box, so I decided to stay near the edge of the box because no one was there. The ball came well, and I had to adjust the best way possible to hit the ball with my left foot. Luckily, I scored and I was able to help my team out.”
Dallas sat back to preserve the remaining point but the final whistle felt more like a defeat ahead of next weekend’s trip to Fort Lauderdale to face Inter Miami.