A pair of Major League Soccer fixtures finished out the weekend matches. Both featured late drama, but the nature contrasted entirely.
FC Dallas picked up a draw thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Raul Fernandez. He admitted after the match on Twitter that despite the single point he was happy to bring home something in his hands – literally.
Fernandez kept the game at a 2-2 draw from the Vancouver equalizer in the 53rd minute, diving and parrying to his heart’s content.
The goalkeeping masterpiece was vital to the survival of Dallas’s momentum. Holding an unbeaten streak since June 7, Dallas still needed this point to hold off Vancouver in the muddy middle of the Western Conference standings.
But from the other side of the coin, Vancouver let another chance slip through its fingers. “There was only one team that was going to win that game,” said Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson. “Even at half time I had full confidence in the guys. We played very well for the first half hour of the game but we switched off mentally twice.”
Despite the fact they lack a win all month, the Whitecaps still could have used three points to vault past Dallas into fourth position, but it wasn’t to be thanks to Fernandez.
Meanwhile, the Portland Timbers used flair and style to beat Montreal 3-2 on a late goal from Diego Valeri.
Both teams squandered a lead, but it was Valeri’s low strike from outside the top of the box that proved the difference with just eight minutes to go.
The visitors went home with the spoils, playing a risk/reward game the entire time with midfielders and wing backs springing forward regularly. It paid off with a trio of goals, one each from Valeri, Will Johnson, and Max Urruti.
There’s still a good ways to go for Portland, who remain in seventh in the Western Conference, but they are now tied with the LA Galaxy on points and are just three behind the final playoff spot. Problem is, there are a whopping six teams within five points of each other, and Portland remain bottom of that bunch.