Timbers advance in Open Cup



FRISCO, Texas — The Portland Timbers scored three times within 15 minutes of the second half Wednesday, then survived a close call at the finish to beat FC Dallas 3-2 and reach the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament.

Portland will play Aug. 7 at Real Salt Lake in the semifinal match. RSL beat the visiting Carolina Railhawks 3-0 on Wednesday.

This was the first time a Timbers team reached the tournament’s quarterfinals, and despite temperatures near triple digits they rallied for the victory at FC Dallas Stadium.

Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Timbers turned around the game midway through the second half. Darlington Nagbe tied the score 1-1 in the 61st minute, weaving past four Dallas defenders before scoring through goalkeeper Chris Seitz from a sharp angle at close range.

“He pulled an absolute rabbit out of the hat,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “In that moment, he showed how passionate he is, how hungry he is, and how good he is as a player.”

Two minutes after Nagbe’s third goal in as many games against Dallas this season, he lofted a pass that sent Diego Valeri free behind the Dallas defense to give the Timbers a 2-1 lead. In the 72nd minute, substitute Frederic Piquionne took advantage of a Dallas mistake to make it 3-1.

Portland missed on several chances to expand the lead, and in the closing moments FC Dallas almost sent the match to 30 minutes of overtime.

In the 86th minute, Blas Perez capitalized on a misplay by Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Ricketts, who made several tough saves on the night, attempted to punch away the ball near the goal mouth, but the ball landed at the feet of Perez, who found the open goal to make it 3-2.

In the eight minutes following that goal, Dallas had a pair of free-kick opportunities, while Portland misfired on a couple of high-quality counter-attack chances. Seconds before the final whistle, David Ferreira’s shot from near the top of the 18-yard box caught the right post squarely.

Wednesday’s match was the sixth in 18 days for the Timbers, who had four wins and two draws over the challenging stretch. Portland’s unbeaten streak has reached 18 games over all competitions.

The Timbers face Morelia from Mexico in a friendly match next Wednesday, but get a break from competitive play until a July 7 visit to Columbus.

Dallas took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute on a goal from Je-Vaughn Watson. But the Timbers began asserting themselves in the final 10 minutes before halftime, and carried that momentum into the second half.

Porter said his team seemed flat and too reactive in the first half, but changed its sense of urgency in the second half. The coach also moved Will Johnson from a defensive midfield position to play alongside Nagbe in an attacking position.

“There are not many teams that could have pushed in that second half with as many minutes as these guys have (played),” Porter said. “For us to really find those goals and take it to another level in the heat, against a good team, with a lot of minutes on their legs just shows how hungry this team is, and how bad they want to win trophies.”

Portland was the only road team to win in Wednesday’s Cup quarterfinals. Chicago beat Orlando City SC 5-1, and DC United defeated New England 3-1.