Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers Stomp on FC Dallas Despite Red Card

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Diego Valeri
PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 29: Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri takes a shot on goal during the Portland Timbers 2-0 victory over the Toronto FC on August 29, 2018 at Providence Park in Portland, OR. (Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

FRISCO, Texas (Oct. 31, 2018) — It was all treats for the Portland Timbers and only tricks for FC Dallas on Halloween night.

With the holiday and week-night match, Toyota Stadium’s crowd was sparse, totaling only 10,297 fans. However, the fans were loud when needed to be — and there were plenty of spots for fan interaction. But, if there is one player that knows how to silence a crowd, it’s Diego Valeri.

Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers Stomp on FC Dallas Despite Red Card

Last year’s MLS MVP, Valeri found the back of Jesse Gonzalez’s net twice. Valeri’s first goal in the 23rd minute came off a free kick, swerving it past the four-man wall from FC Dallas.

After a half-time scuffle between both sides, FC Dallas piled on the attack. During one particular play, Dominique Badji made a sprint toward goal. However, with the last attempt to stop Badji, Timbers defender Larrys Mabiala was given a straight red card for using his hands to disrupt the play.

Despite being down a man, the Timbers still managed to secure the lead.

Valeri extended the lead in the 71st minute, catching FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez off-guard. Valeri found his way through three different defenders, firing another rocket shot from the top of the penalty box.

Final attempts at goal from Michael Barrios and Hárold Mosquera fell flat. However, it was defender Matt Hedges who scored in the 94th minute, attempting to keep hopes alive for FC Dallas.

With two minutes left, FC Dallas kept the ball, attempting a few more shots. However, it was Jeff Attinella in goal for Portland that came up big. The goalkeeper finished the match with five saves against FC Dallas.

Now, Portland will wait to find out their conference semifinal opponent. Should Real Salt Lake upset Los Angeles FC tomorrow, the Timbers will take on the second-seeded Seattle Sounders FC.

However, should LAFC win, Portland will host Sporting Kansas City.

Three Takeaways

  1. FC Dallas wasn’t bold enough: When the opposing team is down a man and only has a 1-0 lead, there is room for creative shots. However, those creative shots need to be smart shots. The problem for FC Dallas wasn’t the neglect of having smart shots — the team didn’t take many shots at all. Instead of taking shots at Attinella, FC Dallas looked content with passing the ball around. It was in stoppage time of the second half that FC Dallas started to take chances.
  2. No more weekday playoff games, please: FC Dallas wasn’t alone with the attendance woes. Up in New York City, the crowd at Yankee Stadium only registered 15,153 fans. Having a game on Halloween will surely dwindle some numbers, but having a game on a weeknight hurts even more. Major League Soccer is obviously going to compete with college football for Saturdays, but it’s better than a mid-week game.
  3. Valeri hits his hot streak in time: The man was the MVP last year and if he continues to trample over teams and score braces, he might just be named the playoff MVP. It’s way too early to call it, but Valeri has hit a hot streak, which is perfect timing for the Portland Timbers. Whether it’s Seattle or Sporting Kansas City, Valeri has to find the back of the net for the Timbers to have a chance.

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