FRISCO, Texas The Portland Timbers kept pace in the MLS Western Conference on Wednesday, but blew an opportunity to knock off first-place FC Dallas.
Former Timbers forward Kenny Cooper converted a penalty kick in the 77th minute as Dallas earned a 1-1 draw before an announced crowd of 10,112 at FC Dallas Stadium.
The Timbers promptly trashed the officiating, saying the call cost them three points for a win.
I thought we deserved to get three points out of that game," Portland coach Caleb Porter said. "It wasn't a pretty game. It was back and forth. They're a good team. But we scored a goal a legitimate goal and we should have won the game.
"It's a real travesty the way that game played out. It's hard to win a game when you're playing against 12 men. For me, that's just unfair, completely unfair.
"I'm not going to criticize anyone specifically, but that's just unacceptable – an off-the-ball call where two guys get tangled. I mean, there were 20 other plays in the game that were just like that exact one that could have been called in both boxes. Again, I think it's just an absolute travesty.
"For the game to be decided on that type of call. I just think that can't happen at this level. I'm held accountable for doing my job, and these guys need to be held accountable for doing their job as well."
On a cloudy night with kickoff temperature of 80 degrees, the teams battled evenly in most categories. Both sides had 15 shots. Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made four saves, while Dallas' Raul Fernandez had three stops. Dallas led in corner kicks 8-5, and Portland had an edge in possession but only .512 to .488.
Darlington Nagbe's goal in the 70th minute off a cross from Rodney Wallace opened the scoring. Nagbe's third goal of the season gave him 11 in his Timbers career, the club best.
But Portland defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste got caught up in what he called a "tugging" match in the box, and he was whistled for a foul that gave Cooper the chance to equalize.
It was a rough game out there. We were battling," Jean-Baptiste said. "He was holding on to me. I was holding on to him. He was hungry to score. I was hungry to keep our clean sheet and leave here with three points. The referee felt I drug him down. I felt like he was tugging on me, I was tugging on him and it was really going both ways.
"I still feel like I let my team down. with a lack of focus and the referee gave them a gift.
Dallas is atop the West with 21 points and a 6-1-3 record. Portland (15, 3-1-6) is third, behind Real Salt Lake (17, 5-4-2).
Both Dallas and Portland extended their unbeaten streak to eight games.
The Timbers' next game is at Jeld-Wen Field at 2 p.m. Sunday against Chivas USA (11 points, 3-4-2, seventh in the nine-team Western Conference).