FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers have matched up 3 times so far this season, and they still have one more meeting later in the season. The prestigious Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal game was not all it was cracked up to be. The game started off at a very slow pace; FC Dallas had most of the possession and chances in the early stages.
As most people know, the Open Cup is one of those tournaments that MLS teams can either take seriously or not so seriously. The majority of the time, MLS teams put up a Ã¢â‚¬Å“BÃ¢â‚¬Â Team to give players on the bench and reserve players a chance to get into the mix. The tournament definitely has its rewards, but with a tough MLS schedule, the Cup doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bring in the average fans. On the night of June 26th, FC Dallas and Portland fielded their best teams. With minor tweaks to the starting lineups due to injuries, it was very apparent that both coaches were going for the win.
It was only the 15th minute when FC Dallas Midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson put a beautifully placed ball in the lower right hand corner of the net. Watson now has 2 goals on the books and continues to grow into a more consistent player for the Hoops. The rest of the first half was pretty quiet with little movement off the ball; both sides looked a bit out of sync.
As halftime drew to a close, the players looked eager and ready to go at it again. It was very clear that after the first 5 minutes that the Timbers were fired up and firing on all cylinders. FC Dallas and Co. just couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t keep up with the speed and skill of the Timbers as the half went on. Shot after shot, it seemed as if FC Dallas couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop Portland from their attacks into the box. The FCD defense found themselves in trouble several times and finally in the 61st minute they paid for it. Portlands Darlington Nagbe was determined to get his team level and decided to take on 3 FCD players. His last player to get by was FC DallasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ brick wall, Zach Loyd. Well, with NagbeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s quickness on the ball, he beat Loyd on the base line and fired a shot point blank at goalkeeper Chris Seitz. The ball flew right past Seitz and into the goal to pull the Timbers even with the Hoops.
Only 2 minutes had passed when Diego Valeri ran onto a ball played into him to take Seitz one on one. The Timbers midfielder didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t disappoint either; he converted on the opportunity to put the Timbers up 2-1 in the 63rd minute. FC Dallas didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what hit them and the pain didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stop there. FCD rookie, Walker Zimmerman, made the mistake of playing a soft ball back to Seitz when TimbersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Frederic Piquionne simply passed the ball into the side netting. Portland was then up 3-1 in the 72nd minute, and FC Dallas didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look anywhere near making a comeback. Substitutions where made by FCD in the 68th, 77th, and 83rd minutes, but none made any impact on the game like Coach Schellas had hoped.
Finally in the 86th, minute FCDÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sBlas Perez snapped a header in to make it 3-2 after Timbers Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts mishit a ball and deflected it back towards his own goal. A last ditch effort by FCDÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s David Ferreira looked like it had a chance to hit the back of the net, but it was just off target and hit the far post. The game was finally called and FC DallasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ hopes of advancing to the semifinals were lost. FC Dallas has found themselves in a very bad slump that has come at the wrong time of the season. What will Coach Schellas and the boys do to pick themselves back up and find their form again?