Timbers beat FC Dallas, earn MLS Cup Finals

The Timbers will face either the Columbus Crew SC for the title

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri kisses the trophy after winning the MLS soccer Western Conference championship, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Loper)
Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri kisses the trophy after winning the MLS soccer Western Conference championship, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Frisco, Texas. The teams tied 2-2, but Portland advanced to the MLS championship on aggregate score. (AP Photo/Brad Loper)

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Fanendo Adi and Lucas Melano scored and the Portland Timbers advanced to the MLS Cup for the first time, tying FC Dallas 2-2 on Sunday in the second leg of the Western Conference finals.

Portland won the first leg 3-0 at home en route to a 5-3 victory in the two-game series. The Timbers will face Columbus in the championship game next Sunday.

The Columbus Crew earned only their second trip to the MLS Cup final in the 20-year history of Major League Soccer and their first since 2008 on Sunday night, losing 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls but advancing with a two-leg 2-1 aggregate victory.

Dallas rallied for a 2-1 lead on goals by Ryan Hollingshead and Blas Perez in a 5-minute span, but couldn’t overcome the three-goal aggregate deficit created by Adi’s goal in the 54th minute. Mauro Diaz assisted on both FC Dallas goals.

Melano scored Portland’s tying goal just after entering the game in stoppage time.

Portland’s Adam Larsen Kwaresey and Dallas’ Jesse Gonzalez each had one save.

FC Dallas made its only MLS Cup appearance in 2010, losing 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids.

Each team took five shots, but with only one on goal, in the first half.

Portland Timbers fans march to the stadium before the MLS soccer Western Conference final playoff match against FC Dallas, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Loper)
Portland Timbers fans march to the stadium before the MLS soccer Western Conference final playoff match against FC Dallas, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Frisco, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Loper)

David Texeira had Dallas’ best scoring chances. During the sixth minute, he couldn’t quite catch up with a pass in front of the goal. And in the 32nd minute, Texeira had a header that Kwaresey knocked down.

The Timbers’ best chance before halftime came in the 14th minute. Dairon Asprilla shot from just to the right of the goal, but Gonzalez came out to deflect the ball high and wide.

FC Dallas had three corner kicks to two for Portland.

In the second half, Dallas’ Matt Hedges just missed connecting with a free kick in front of the net, and the ball went wide left.

Portland took a three-goal lead in the aggregate series in the 55th minute. Dairon Asprilla made a short pass from the right sideline to Diego Valeri. He passed into the middle, where Adi knocked down the ball, spun and sent a left-footed shot into the net to Gonzalez’s right.

It was Adi’s second goal in the postseason and his 18th this year. Asprilla, who had one goal and two assists in 26 regular-season matches, has one goal and three assists in five playoff games.

Hollingshead broke down the left wing, took a pass from Mauro Diaz and shot into the right corner of the net in the 68th minute.

In the 73rd minute, Diaz sent a free kick in front of the net, and Perez headed the ball past Kwaresey. That free kick was set up by a foul that drew the Timbers’ Diego Chara a yellow card.

Melano scored by dribbling to the right goalpost, outmaneuvering Gonzalez and nudging the ball just across the goal line.

FC Dallas’ Kellyn Acosta received a yellow card in the 80th minute.

 

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