The Portland Timbers celebrate one of their three second half goals as they advance to the Semifinals for the first time in club history. Photo: Tim Heitman | USA Today Sports Images
In a battle between Major League Soccer’s two best second half offenses, the Portland Timbers overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to win a rare game at FC Dallas in the US Open Cup Quarterfinals, 3-2. The Timbers scored three straight goals and survived a late push by the home team to hand Dallas their first loss at FC Dallas Stadium in 13 games in all competitions.
Frederic Piquionne, who continued his breakout season, scored an Open Cup-leading fifth goal which proved to be the game-winner. Dallas would pull within one and hit the woodwork on the game’s final play as Portland would hang on to reach their first US Open Cup semifinal in club history.
Not only does this mark the first time the Timbers have reached the final four, but it’s the first time any team from the state of Oregon has reached the semis in the 100-year history of the US Open Cup.
Dallas and Portland found themselves meeting for the second time in 11 days after the Timbers defeated Dallas 1-0 in Portland on June 15. The two sides also played to a 1-1 draw in Dallas back on May 8. The first ten minutes saw almost no scoring chances created by either side with Dallas maintaining a small majority of possession.
Then in the 15th minute, FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughan Watson received a pass from Blas Perez just outside the top of the box and eased his shot just past Donovan Ricketts, who seemed to be caught off guard by the effort, to give Dallas the early 1-0 lead.
Dallas continued to control the game as Perez found himself inside the six yard box, but couldn’t get enough on his shot to trouble Ricketts. Fabian Castillo played through by a sharp David Ferreira pass, got inside the penalty area, but Ricketts got to the ball first.
Timbers playmaker Diego Valeri was rendered largely ineffective in the first half as he saw limited touches in dangerous spots. Portland’s only chances in the first half came courtesy of set pieces. In the 40th minute, Will Johnson had a corner kick skip across the box to Pa Modou Kah, but the defender’s header was on the wrong side of the post by a few inches. Johnson took another corner kick moments later, but it was cleared by Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz, starting in place of regular No.1 Raul Fernandez.
True to form, the second half saw Portland take control as Darlington Nagbe navigated his way past three different Dallas defenders and beat Seitz to level the score at 1-1 in the 61st minute. Two minutes later, Diego Valeri was on the receiving end of a through ball from Nagbe and made it 2-1 Timbers.
Then second half substitute Frederic Piquionne took advantage of a poor back pass from FC Dallas rookie Walker Zimmerman and put Portland up 3-1. For Piquionne, combined with his four-goal performance against the Wilmington Hammerheads in Round 3, the New Caledonia native gave him a tournament-best five goals, which also puts him on top of the club’s all-time Open Cup scoring list.
Dallas got their own second half goal as Perez took advantage of Ricketts howler in the 86th minute to make the score 3-2 Portland.
Dallas had a couple of free kicks in the final minutes of the game, but could not take advantage. David Ferreira had a good look from the edge of the box in stoppage time, but his shot hit the post and just seconds later referee Jose Carlos Rivero signaled the end of the game.
The Timbers continue their fine form under first year head coach Caleb Porter. They lead the league in scoring with 28 goals so far this season. They are also fifth in the league in goals allowed with 16 and Donovan Ricketts was in the middle of a 396-minute shutout streak before Watson’s goal.
Portland’s rabid fan base will not get an opportunity to see their players at home in the next round. The Timbers will travel to Salt Lake City on August 7 to take on Real Salt Lake in the final four. Portland is the first Oregon-based club to reach the Semifinals, and they will meet the first Utah-based club to advance that far.
The winner of that game will meet the winner of the other semifinal between DC United and Chicago Fire in the 100th US Open Cup Final on either the 1st or 2nd of October. The host for the final will be determined via coin flip at a later date.
2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – Quarterfinal
Portland Timbers (MLS) vs. FC Dallas (MLS)
June 26, 2013 – FC Dallas Stadium (Frisco, Texas)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
FC Dallas 1 1 2
Portland Timbers 0 3 3