MLS Snapshot: Portland Timbers 2-2 FC Dallas


One game, 100 words (or less): A first half where the Timbers failed to get a shot on target left Portland own two at intermission, with goals by Fabián Castíllo and Blas Pérez putting FC Dallas on the verge of its second win in a row. By full-time, however, a Will Johnson penalty kick and Pa Modou Kah’s stoppage time equalizer salvaged a point for the home side. Thanks to second half red cards to Moises Hernández and Pérez, FCD finished the match with nine men, allowing the Timbers to pile up 30 shots (10 on target).

Three moments that mattered:

1. 77′ – Adi draws the whistle on Watson – Part of what made Dallas’s first half performance so remarkable? They were depleted, especially at the back. None of Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Jair Benítez, Michel, Kellyn Acosta — heck, let’s throw George John in, too — were available, leaving fullback Zach Loyd to partner Stephen Keel in the middle while Hernández and Je-Vaughn Watson started wide. On paper, this was a team that should have struggled to contain the Timbers, but it wasn’t until FCD’s more conservative approach in the second half that the back line became sitting ducks.

Fanendo Adi took advantage in the 77th. Making the most of whatever contact there was between himself and Watson, the reigning MLS Player of the Week drew a crucial penalty in the left of the box. After Johnson and Gastón Fernández bickered over who’d have the honors, the Timbers captain brought his team back into the game, taking advantage of a generous whistle.

2. 90+2′ – Pérez ties Dallas’s hands – A dangerous tackle in the 87th minute had already sent Hernández to the locker room, but five minutes later, Pérez’s tendency toward gamesmanship got the better for him, drawing a red card when he stepped on a fallen Kah. Two minutes later, against a Dallas team reduced to nine, Kah scored from close range to make FCD pay for its lack of discipline.

source: Getty Images
Fabian Castillo bumped an assistant referee after Wednesday’s match in Portland, an action that will likely raw the ire of MLS’s league office. (Photo: Getty Images)

3. 90+6′ – Castillo, Dallas assistant create more problems – It’s a shame that a team that played so well over the first 45 minutes was left rueing behavioral problems, but two incidents that happened near the final whistle helped overshadow what would otherwise be a well-earned point:

  • The first saw assistant coach Josema Bazan sent from Dallas’s technical area after an altercation with a fan behind the FCD bench.
  • Then, seconds after full-time as blown, Castillo made contact with assistant referee Fabio Tovar after spiriting from Dallas’s bench to meet him on the field.

Both incidents should draw the attention of the league office.

Three lessons going forward

1. Portland’s defense is still bad – Tonight the back line was so bad that Caleb Porter pulled Rashawn McKenzie at halftime, replacing him with the recently signed Danny O’Rourke. With former Birmingham City defender Liam Ridgewell being spotted in Portland, the Timbers may be getting reinforcements soon.

2. Castillo’s newfound finishing will be missed – For the second game in a row, Castillo proved reliable when given a chance to finish, with his first half score from the right of the area giving Dallas its first half lead. Has the talented Colombian turned a corner? It may be a while before we know for sure. That post-match bump of Tovar could draw a multi-game suspension.

3. Dallas is running out of bodies – The World Cup break couldn’t come at a better time for FCD now. In addition to the team’s injured defenders (above), Mauro Díaz and Hendry Thomas are out. Thanks to their Wednesday indiscretions, Hernández, Pérez, and Castíllo will join them. If you ever wanted to play for a Major Leaue Soccer team, go ask @fcdallas now, because they may be operating on a first come, first serve basis.

Where that leaves them

  • Portland remains in sixth at 4-4-8 but has the seventh-best points rate in the Western Conference.
  • FC Dallas sits on 22 points through 17 games, tying them for third in the West with Colorado. Unfortunately, FCD has played two more matches than every other team in the West’s top five.

Like clockwork, top goalkeepers criticize new World Cup ball

Photo credit: adidas
Leave a comment

It’s a tradition as old as time — the union of top goalkeepers from all over the world, no matter the continent from which they hail, complaining about the new ball to be used at the upcoming World Cup.

[ MORE: New USMNT kits for 2018 World Cup ]

By the end of this summer’s tournament in Russia, you’ll reflexively twitch every time you hear the words “Telstar 18.” Goalkeepers will tell you that it’s designed to deceive them, to boost goalscoring numbers during major tournaments.

Below you’ll find the critical, but restrained so as not to offend, assessments of goalkeepers David De Gea (Spain’s no. 1), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Germany’s no. 1b) and Pepe Reina (De Gea’s wily backup) — quotes from FourFourTwo:

“It’s really strange. It could have been made a lot better.”

“The ball could be better; it moves a lot. But I think we’re just going to have to get used to working with it — and try to get to grips with it as quickly as possible before the World Cup starts. We’ve got no other option.”

“They should change it. There’s still time.”

[ MORE: France blow a lead, lose to Colombia; England top Holland ]

Unsurprisingly, top attacking stars — those who presumably stand to benefit from a ball that unpredictably moves on goalkeepers — have given their seal of approval for Telstar 18.

MLS (afternoon) roundup: NYCFC come back vs. NE; FCD, POR stalemate

Photo credit: NYCFC / Twitter: @NYCFC
Leave a comment

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Ismael Tajouri scored two goals and Sean Johnson had five saves to help New York City FC play the New England Revolution to a 2-2 draw Saturday.

The 23-year-old Tajouri, who has appeared in four MLS games, has three goals in the last two matches while filling in for the injured David Villa.

Yangel Herrera threaded a pass between two defenders to Tajouri, who turned and blasted a rising left-footer into the net to cap the scoring in the 76th minute.

Diego Fagundez bent a shot from well outside the box off the post to give New England (1-1-1) a 1-0 lead in the 11th. Tajouri tied it early in the second half, first-timing a cross from Saad Abdul-Salaam past a diving Matt Turner from near the penalty spot and Juan Agudelo’s header in the 63rd put the Revolution back in front. Cristian Penilla played a perfect cross from the left side to Agudelo who finished from the top of the 6-yard box.

NYCFC (4-0-0) is off to its best start in history and has won a franchise-record five in a row, dating to the 2017 playoffs.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) Roland Lamah scored his third goal in two games and Jimmy Maurer had a career-high five saves in FC Dallas’ 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

Lamah, who had two goals and an assists in FC Dallas’ 3-0 win over Seattle on Sunday, opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Jacori Hayes evaded two defenders and then tapped it to Lamah, who rolled a left-footer past a diving Jake Gleeson into the net from the top of the penalty arc.

Sebastian Blanco side-netted a left-footer from the top of the box to tie it in the 47th.

FC Dallas (1-0-2) is unbeaten in its last nine home matches.

Lawrence Olum, who was shown a yellow card for unsporting behavior in the 44th minute, drew a red for a hand ball in the 75th for Portland (0-2-1).

Report: PSG pressing Conte to leave Chelsea this summer

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

First, Paris Saint-Germain (reportedly) wanted Mauricio Pochettino; then it was (reportedly) Diego Simeone; now it’s Antonio Conte who’s (you guessed it — reportedly) been targeted for, and pitched, an exit from Chelsea this summer.

[ MORE: Conte, Pirlo could spearhead Italy managerial team ]

According to a report from the Guardian, PSG executives have held talks with Conte’s agent in recent days and/or weeks, as the winners of four of the last five Ligue 1 titles prepare to move on from current manager Unai Emery this summer.

The belief in the French capital is that Conte, who’s made no bones about his frustrations at Chelsea dating back to last summer, would be a far more realistic target for that reason. According to the report, PSG are willing to offer Conte an annual salary in the neighborhood of $14 million. The Italian is currently paid nearly $13.5 million per year at Chelsea.

Conte has been at odds with the Chelsea hierarchy, largely, over the lack of funds made available to him to rebuild the squad in the transfer market.

“I have great ambition but I don’t have money for Chelsea. The club knows very well what is my idea, what is my ambition. That is very clear. When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition. Not a loser but a winner. And that ambition must always be shared.”

[ MORE: Man City, Man United reportedly chasing Neymar ]

Talks are said to have been “positive” between Conte’s representative and PSG.

PSG’s motivation to fire Emery stems from the Spaniard’s failure to impress in European competition — two round-of-16 exits from the Champions League, one either side of the massive spending spree of last summer which resulted in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe moving to the Parc des Princes.

Int’l friendlies: Sweden fall to Chile; Canada win Herdman’s debut

Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of Saturday’s (less-than-stellar) slate of international friendlies…

[ MORE: France blow a lead, lose to Colombia; England top Holland ]

Sweden 1-2 Chile

Sweden, who’ll be at the 2018 World Cup, fell 1-0 behind Chile, who won’t be joining them in Russia, when Arturo Vidal hit a simply stunning, off-balance volley into the upper-90 from the edge of the box in the 22nd minute. Ola Toivonen brought Sweden back to 1-1 just a minute later, but Marcos Bolados broke Blagult hearts in the 90th minute, when he pounced on a bouncing rebound and hammered the ball into an open net.

[ MORE: New USMNT kits for 2018 World Cup ]

Northern Ireland 2-1 South Korea

Speaking of World Cup-bound sides falling to those who failed to qualify themselves, South Korea went ahead away to Northern Ireland after just seven minutes, but watched helplessly as Kwon Chang-Hoon’s opening goal slipped away from the Taeguk Warriors.

Min-Jae Kim scored a mostly unavoidable own goal in the 20th minute, and Paul Smyth slipped through a sea of South Korean defenders to fire home a wonderful winner in the 86th minute.

Canada 1-0 New Zealand

Among the national teams not currently preparing for this summer’s tournament, but instead building toward qualification in 2022, there’s Canada, who knocked off New Zealand in Murcia, Spain, to begin the John Herdman era with a victory on Saturday.

Tosaint Ricketts scored the game’s only goal, a 54th-minute volley from the Toronto FC forward, courtesy of a long, searching ball out of the back from defender Dejan Jakovic.

Herdman took over the Canadian men’s post in January, when he stepped down as head coach of the women’s team, which he led to two straight appearances in each the World Cup and Olympics during eight years on the job.

Come September, the Canucks will be competing in the CONCACAF Nations League, a 34-team tournament featuring all but the six nations to have competed in the Hexagonal of World Cup qualifying. The top 10 finishing sides will qualify for the 2019 Gold Cup, alongside the Hex combatants. Canada will face the U.S. Virgin Islands in September, followed by Dominica in October, Saint Kitts and Nevis in November, and finally French Guiana in March 2019.

Elsewhere in int’l friendlies

Israel 1-2 Romania
Togo 2-2 Ivory Coast
Georgia 4-0 Lithuania
Zambia 0-2 South Africa
Kenya 2-2 Comoros
Kosovo 1-0 Madagascar
Armenia 0-0 Estonia