Timbers extend FC Dallas winless run with 2-1 win

ANNE M. PETERSON (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Coach Caleb Porter pumped his fist at Portland's fans following the Timbers' victory over FC Dallas: The push for the playoffs is on.

Darlington Nagbe scored the go-ahead goal in the 33rd minute and the Timbers held on to defeat FC Dallas 2-1 Saturday night. Ryan Johnson also scored for Portland, which moved into third place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, a point ahead of the Los Angeles Galaxy and two in front of Vancouver.

''We want to start sprinting now,'' Porter said. ''And I think we showed how hungry we are for the playoffs tonight.''

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Dallas is winless in a season-high 11 straight matches. The team's longest drought came last season when they went 13 straight games without a victory.

The loss dropped FC Dallas (8-7-9) into seventh place in the Western Conference. Coach Schellas Hyndman said he feels his team is close to breaking out of its funk.

''With the artificial surface and the fans, this is a tough place to play,'' he said of Portland's Jeld-Wen Field.

The victory snapped a three-match winless streak for Portland (9-3-11), which had last weekend off after playing to a 1-1 draw with Cascadia Cup rival Vancouver on Aug. 3.

''When you get to this point in the season, it's all about getting points on the board,'' Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts said. ''It doesn't matter how you do it.''

Both teams were struggling with injuries.

FC Dallas right back Zach Loyd was out with a knee strain and central midfielder A.J. Jacobson sat with a sore hamstring. They were injured in last weekend's 3-3 draw against the Galaxy.

The Timbers were without Will Johnson, who has six goals and three assists this season, because of a right shoulder injury. Forward Frederic Piquionne also sat out because of an ankle injury he sustained in the Vancouver match. Midfielder Jack Jewsbury, also nursing a sore ankle, was listed as a reserve.

The Timbers had a good chance in the 21st minute on Diego Valeri's fast-break to the top of the box, but he stumbled on the kick, which went wide. But Ryan Johnson scored on a header off Valeri's well-placed corner kick in the 26th minute to give Portland the lead.

Johnson leads the Timbers with eight goals.

Only two minutes later, Mauro Diaz scored his first goal for FC Dallas to even it. Ricketts slid to the turf out in front of the goal, allowing Diaz to take advantage.

Diaz, who is from Argentina, was acquired by FC Dallas last month and had appeared in just one match for the team as a reserve before his start Saturday night.

Nagbe's goal, off an assist by Valeri, gave the Timbers the lead back - for good, as it turned out.

Valeri has had an assist on each of Portland's last six goals, and is the first Timbers player with 10 assists since the team joined MLS in 2011.

''We are a very good attacking team and I try to help,'' Valeri said. ''I try to do my role.''

The match featured a flurry of yellow cards in the second half, with Portland's Valeri and Ben Zemanski and Dallas' Jackson and Blas Perez each called for a yellow in the span of less than five minutes.

''I don't know if it was getting more physical, I just think the yellow cards started coming out,'' Hyndman said.

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