Timbers down FC Dallas 3-1 in first leg of Western Conference Final
The Portland Timbers attacked from the opening minute and after a first-half goal by Liam Ridgewell, and second half goals by Dairon Asprilla and Nat Borchers, will head to the second leg in Dallas next week after a 3-1 win over FC Dallas. David Texeira had the lone goal for FC Dallas.
Just seconds in the first half, Portland’s Darlington Nagbe played a nice pass to the run of Lucas Melano, whose close-in shot was blocked by Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Three minutes later, Melano was again threatening the Dallas goal, when his cross was deflected off the post by Gonzalez before the Dallas goalkeeper was able to collect and control the ball.
The visitor’s first shot would come in the 21st minute, when Mauro Diaz had an open look from near the top of the box, but his shot was right at Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.
But the Timbers would open the scoring in the 23rd minute, when Nagbe’s corner was flicked on by Dairon Asprilla, and into the run of Liam Ridgewell who was open near the far post, and the Timbers defender softly chipped a shot over Gonzalez and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
In the 29th minute, a deep run by FC Dallas Michael Barrios found David Texeira open near the near post, but his attempt to back-heel the shot was wide right and cleared by the Timbers defense. Six minutes later, after Dallas failed to clear a Timbers free kick, Nat Borchers had an open header from six yards out but it was stopped nicely by Gonzalez, and the Timbers would lead 1-0 at the half.
Early in the second half Asprilla would nearly get a goal of his own, when his one-timer of a Nagbe corner had to be tipped over the bar by Gonzalez. Then in the 53rd minute, Aprilla would finally find the net and double the Timbers lead when he hit a wicked curling blast from outside the corner of the box that bent from right to left and into the top left corner of the net to give the Timbers a 2-0 lead.
Now down two goals on aggregate, FC Dallas started to push forward and in the 55th minute, Barrios put a shot just over the crossbar, and two minutes later, Ryan Hollingshead was played into the box for a 1-on-1 with Kwarasey, but put his shot just wide and into the left side netting.
In the 62nd minute, FC Dallas would finally pull a goal back when Je-Vaughn Watson played in a nice low cross that David Texeira one-timed over Kwarasey to make the score 2-1 Timbers.
But just as the match entered stoppage time, the Timbers regained their two-goal lead when Norberto Paparatto headed Nagbe corner on goal, which was saved but not cleared, and Borchers was able to get to the free ball just a yard or two outside the far post and stab it into the net for a 3-1 lead, which would hold through stoppage time as the final score.
The second leg of the Western Conference Final will be next Sunday in Frisco, Texas.