The Portland Timbers headed to Texas seeking their first points of the season. FC Dallas was looking to earn back-to-back wins after punishing a 10-man Seattle Sounders last weekend. It was going to be interesting to see how both sides handled the warm weather, as water breaks were required Saturday afternoon. But the Dallas attack left a lot to be desired as the home side were held to a draw.
Opportunity Lost – FC Dallas Attack Falls Short Against Portland Timbers
FC Dallas looked to stay hot as they hosted Portland Saturday afternoon. With temperatures in the mid-80s, fans and players alike were forced to stay hydrated as the game wore on.
Dallas would come out with the same lineup that earned three points from last weekend, with Roland Lamah and Michael Barrios running the wings. With Mauro Diaz sitting out midweek training and Paxton Pomykal declining his U-20 USYNT call-up, some were wondering if the Pax would be starting. But alas, Super Mauro would lead the midfield Saturday. Jimmy Maurer earning yet another start in goal as Jesse Gonzalez did not make the 18, still suffering from a knee injury.
Roland Lamah Keeps Scoring
Dallas would start off on the front foot, earning a corner just a minute into the match. Dallas earned 10 corners throughout the match but were unable to capitalize on any of them. But it was just one minute after their 3rd corner that Dallas would put one on the board. Jacori Hayes would win the ball back just 30 yards from goal, and drive at the Portland defense. Just as he was being closed down, he squared a ball to Roland Lamah at the top of the 18-yard box, and Lamah would drive his shot low and into the corner to open the scoring. Lamah, who is looking to solidify that starting winger position, now has three goals in two matches for FC Dallas.
Dallas would head into half-time up 1-0, but it wouldn’t last long. Portland would answer just two minutes into the second half, as Sebastián Blanco curled a beautiful shot into the left upper 90 past Maurer.
Dallas vs 10 Again
Both teams looked dangerous on the attack, but couldn’t find the winner. Portland would go down a man with only 15 minutes remaining, as Lawrence Olum picked up a second yellow for a ridiculous act. Portland would swing in a free kick in the 75th minute into the Dallas box, looking for the winner. Olum found himself just out of reach for a header, and instead extended his arm out and hit the ball. Referee Mark Geiger had a perfect angle, and would quickly hand Olum his second yellow of the match.
Dallas would make key offensive substitutions just after the sending off, but could not score. Cristian Colmán and Santiago Mosquera would come on to try to earn the winner, but Dallas would only have two good chances towards goal in the final 15. Portland would ride this one out and earn their first points in the 2018 MLS season.
Dallas, who seemed comfortable with 10-man Seattle last week, really struggled against the short-handed Timbers Saturday. The team’s attack looked unsure and lacking confidence at times. Michael Barrios was fed early and often, but could quite round the Timbers defense. Dallas will take another week off, as they will prepare to host the Colorado Rapids on April 7th. One thing to keep an eye on for Dallas fans will be Anton Nedyalkov. The newly-signed left-back seemed to pull up late in the second half and motioned for a sub. Nedyalkov, just coming back from an Achilles injury, has looked solid for the Dallas defense since he was signed in the preseason. Depending on the severity of his injury, this week off could be crucial to his recovery and playing time.
Portland will continue their long road trip to start 2018, as they head off to face the Chicago Fire on the 31st. Both sides will be looking to earn their first victory of 2018, as Chicago fell to Minnesota United last weekend.