Portland Timbers Reign Supreme Over FC Dallas – Even With 10-Men
Western Conference Knockout Round Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoff: Portland Timbers’ Diego Valeri nets two goals as Timbers beats Dallas in the Western Conference Knockout Round Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoff match at Toyota Stadium.
Soccer News: Usually, soccer is a demanding game when all 11 men are on the field and the crowd takes over as the cheering 12th member of the squad, but when the tough get going, one can see who the toughest is left on the field.
In the Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas Western Conference Knockout Round Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoff match at Toyota Stadium, the Timbers walked tall and proved to be most resilient, and triumphed although they only had 10 men — which proved enough to defeat FC Dallas, 2-1.
Congratulations go to Timbers’ coach Giovanni Savarese and his squad for advancing to the next round.
Fun Fact: This match was Giovanni Savarese’s first MLS playoff game as a manager. Savarese played in five MLS playoff matches as a player, including the first MLS playoff game ever played.
While FC Dallas was highly aggressive and served more first-half shots than the Timbers, the ball did not net their way. There was early excitement when Reto Ziegler headed the ball into the back of the net in a 12th-minute set piece, but it was ruled offside.
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said, in response to being asked about his team’s performance against FC Dallas, “I am very proud of every player, not only the ones that were on the field but everybody around the team. Great energy. In a difficult situation, they were able to sacrifice to make sure we got the victory against a very good Dallas team.”
“We found a very good goal. I think Valeri was magic today and then when we were with 10 men the discipline was very important,” said Savarese.
“Once we became 10 players it was mostly sacrifice and discipline, making sure that we cover each other in every aspect and making sure that we frustrated Dallas,” added Savarese.
Diego Valeri was obviously overjoyed with his ability to help secure his team’s advance.
“It feels great,” said Valeri. “I think the hero was the team. It was an ugly game.”
“They played well and we fought for this and we advanced, and that’s what we wanted so I’m very happy about the team,” said Valeri.
With the win, Portland has now appeared in the conference semifinals four times (2013, 2015, 2017, 2018) in its last six seasons.
According to the MLS Game Recap: The half’s only goal came on a free kick in the 23rd minute when Valeri set up outside the box and curled in a near-post shot that evaded Dallas ‘keeper Jesse Gonzalez.
The complexion of the match changed in the 58th minute when Larrys Mabiala clattered an en-route-to-goal Dominique Badji, earning a red card for his efforts. Despite the man advantage, though, Valeri would score his second shortly after, when a defensive miscue between Gonzalez and Ziegler allowed Jeremy Ebobisse a relatively easy assist. FC Dallas would find a goal midway through seven minutes of stoppage time, when Matt Hedges got his foot on a loose ball in front of goal, but couldn’t find the second goal they needed before the clock wound down on Dallas’ season.
MLS – FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers Goals
- 23′ – POR – Diego Valeri | WATCH
- 71′ – POR – Diego Valeri | WATCH
- 90′ + 4′ – DAL – Matt Hedges | WATCH
MLS- FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers Notes:
- The victory was the fourth road win secured by the Timbers in their MLS Cup Playoffs history. Portland is unbeaten in its last five road playoff games (3-0-2).
- Portland’s road playoff record of 4-1-2 gives them the best road postseason winning percentage (.714%) in MLS history.
- The Timbers goal differential of +3 in road playoff games is the best among all MLS teams.
- Diego Valeri scored two goals, becoming the first Timbers player ever to score a brace in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Valeri is also just the second Timbers player in all eras of the club to score a playoff brace, joining Brian Farber in 2009.
- Valeri now has four career postseason goals for the Timbers, which is the most by a single player in Timbers all-era history.
- Valeri is one of three active MLS players to have four or more playoff goals and four or more playoff assists, joining Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.
- Jeremy Ebobisse notched his first playoff assist. In his eight career MLS starts (including playoffs), Ebobisse has three goals and four assists.
- Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella had five saves, which are the most by a Timbers goalkeeper in an MLS Cup playoff match.
- Andy Polo, Zarek Valentin, and Bill Tuiloma all made their MLS Cup Playoffs debut in the match.
Images courtesy of Timbers Facebook