The Timbers are two wins away from their first trophy as a big-league franchise (other than last year's Cascadia Cup, OF COURSE).
Portland scored thrice in an 11-minute span and messed with FC Dallas under Wednesday night lights, rallying from a halftime deficit to claim a 3-2 victory over the Hoops in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
Darlington Nagbe scored perhaps his most impressive goal as a Timber (and that's sayin' somethin', y'all) to start things off in the 61st minute, and within 10 more, Portland was well on its way to the final four of the country's oldest continuous soccer tourney.
Seriously. Look at this:
- h/t Chris Cooper
Just like coach Caleb Porter's postgame reaction.
"I can’t be any more proud of the guys," he said after goals from Diego Valeri (above, 63rd minute) and Frederic Piquionne (72nd). "They continued to show me they have big hearts and brass balls, because they know how to get it done when the game is on the line. That’s the mark of a good team."
Portland will now travel to Utah on Aug. 7 to face Real Salt Lake in its first-ever USOC semifinal. But first the Timbers will play for a more unofficial cup—the inaugural Copa Verde—when they host Mexican first-division club Monarcas Morelia in their first friendly of the season at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Jelly.
Full recap and highlights after the jump...
FRISCO, Texas—Forward Darlington Nagbe recorded one goal and one assist as the Portland Timbers scored three goals in the second half to defeat FC Dallas 3-2 at FC Dallas Stadium in the quarterfinal of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night.
The Timbers advance to the U.S. Open Cup semifinal for the first time in club history and will travel to face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific).
The Timbers overturned a 1-0 halftime deficit with three goals inside an 11-minute span in the second half. Nagbe initiated the comeback with a goal in the 61st minute and then set up one by midfielder Diego Valeri two minutes later. Portland forward Frederic Piquionne then took advantage of a slow back pass to make the score 3-1 in the 72nd minute. FC Dallas pulled one back late on a header from forward Blas Perez in the 86th minute, but the Timbers were able to see out the 3-2 victory and hand FC Dallas its first home loss of the 2013 campaign.
The Timbers, playing their sixth match in last 18 days across all competitions, are unbeaten in their last 18 matches across all competitions (15 MLS, 3 U.S. Open Cup) and have not lost on the road in 2013.
Piquionne became the Timbers all-time leading scorer in U.S. Open Cup play with his fifth goal of the tournament and is the 2013 U.S. Open Cup’s leading goal-scorer. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts matched a season-high with seven saves, including four in the first half, to help the Timbers earn their first road win in U.S. Open Cup play as an MLS side. FC Dallas claimed the initial lead in the 15th minute on a goal by midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson. Receiving a pass from Perez, Watson placed a shot inside the bottom left corner of the goal.
A hard-working run by Nagbe led to the Timbers’ first goal just past the hour mark. Nagbe dribbled by multiple FC Dallas players as he worked into the box before slotting a shot by FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz from a tight angle near the left post to tie the score at 1-1. It was his third goal against FC Dallas this season across all competitions. In the 63rd minute, Nagbe then played a leading ball into the attacking third for Valeri. Beating the offside trap, Valeri had a one-on-one with Seitz and calmly finished from inside the penalty area to lift Portland to a 2-1 lead.
Portland took a 3-1 advantage in the 72nd minute. FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman played a slow back pass into his box for Seitz, and Piquionne ran on to the ball. With only the goalkeeper in front of him, Piquionne slotted the ball past Seitz for his sixth goal in his last eight games across all competitions. Perez found an opportunistic goal in the 86th minute. Ricketts went to punch away a falling ball near the left goal post and the ball looped over to Perez in front of an open right side of Portland’s goal. Perez headed the ball in from close range to trim the score line 3-2.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
Thoughts on difference in second half…
“It was a bit of a mentality change. We were a little bit reactive in that first half and flat. Whether it was the heat or us being on our sixth game in 18 days… I don’t know what it was. Certainly we weren’t at our best in that first half and yet we knew we were capable of coming back as long as we had a mentality change, we changed our urgency and our spirit. We’ve come back before, so we knew we could do it.”
On the team’s mentality in the second half…
“Everybody believed and we made a tactical tweak as well. We flipped the triangle in the middle, played with Will Johnson, pushed him up with Darlington Nagbe, played Chara behind them and, obviously, guys we put in the game. [Frederic] Piquionne and [Ben] Zemanski, Futty at the end, they really helped us as well to get the result. It was a total team effort. I can’t be any more proud of the guys. They continued to show me they have big hearts and brass balls, because they know how to get it done when the game is on the line. That’s the mark of a good team. When your backs are against the wall, you dig deep and you find a way. This team just continues to find ways to win games. We’re excited; we’re two games from winning a Cup.”
On the team’s stretch of six games in 18 days…
“For us, it’s a great time to recharge the batteries. We’ve got the bye week and these guys need it. They’ve gone through this stretch – six games in 18 days. Not many teams could have pushed in that second half with as many minutes as these guys have managed. 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, it just shows how hungry this team is and how bad they want to win trophies here with this club.”
Timbers forward Darlington Nagbe
On their overall unbeaten streak…
“It just shows the team is working hard as a group. We’re defending well. We’re attacking well. We’re a balanced team, doing the best that we can.”
On FC Dallas…
“They’ve been one of the better teams this season so we’re always up for them. Maybe that’s why we play so well against them. The heat was awful. We knew the team that had the ball was going to make it a game. In the first half, they had the ball, but in the second half we had the ball. It feels good beating a good team on their field. It just shows the character on this team and how determined our guys are.”
Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On his goal that gave Portland a 2-1 lead…
“It was just Darlington at the control. He worked the ball to me to get around the defense and into space.”
On the conditions…
“We knew this was a hard field. The weather was really hot and we knew that with our play and our control and chances we had in the first half, we would get chances and score goals in the first five minutes of the second half. We are happy and enjoying this moment. We are very confident in our work. We’re just enjoying it.”
Timbers midfielder Will Johnson
General thoughts on the match…
“About 15 minutes before halftime we started to press a little bit and started to be a little more aggressive. We started a little slow but once we got out of that and loosened up a little bit and started pressing and putting Dallas under pressure, they started giving us the ball back. Then they got a little tired and we started to create a few waves of attacks. Pressure led to chances.”
On the upcoming break…
“We just played six in 18 days. We need to recharge. Obviously, you worry about what you can control. You can’t control the schedule. You play the games and teams that are put in front of you and you just be professional in that manner. It’s good to have a little break mentally and physically. We’ll get back on the horse July 7 in Columbus. That’ll be another big game for us.”
On the possibility of winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup…
“It’s big. It’s our goal. We want to try to win things and compete for trophies and we’re doing that. We haven’t had much luck with the coin tosses so we’re doing it on the road. That speaks volumes. I also think the experience, for this young group to get games in places like Dallas… It’s a positive thing down the stretch. Some older teams might not want those extra games but at this point we do. We want to keep competing for trophies and getting better and keep improving.”