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Timbers gain strange 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

You see a lot of strange things if you watch soccer long enough. And Wednesday night’s match between the Portland Timbers and FC Dallas featured one of the strangest things to happen in MLS this season.

Ahead 2-1 late in the match, FC Dallas had two players sent off on straight red cards, one in the 87th minute and one in stoppage time.

Playing 11 vs. 9 through most of the four-minute stoppage time, Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah scored the equalizer and Portland walked away with a 2-2 draw before an announced sellout crowd of 20,814 at Providence Park.

“I’m torn because there’s a good majority of the guys who I couldn’t have asked anything more from,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “The attacking group couldn’t have given anything more. On the other hand, there’s a lot of disappointment in the way we defended in the first half.”

The Timbers caught their first break in the 87th minute when FC Dallas defender Moises Hernandez was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle on Timbers defender Danny O’Rourke, giving Portland an 11 vs. 10 advantage.

“It was a 50-50 ball,” O’Rourke said. “I went in to win it. I don’t know if he tried to go in studs up. But it went through my shin guard and studded me in the leg. I’ve never taken a dive before. You never want to see someone sent off, but I would say it was deservedly so.”

The Timbers then caught an enormous, unbelievable break early in stoppage time when FC Dallas striker Blas Perez was shown a straight red card for a foul against Kah, giving Portland an two-man advantage.

The Timbers capitalized a few moments later when Kah took a shot from the top of the 6-yard box and sent it inside the right post.

Despite scoring the equalizing goal and being on the receiving end of a foul that gave the Timbers a two goal advantage, Kah was not available to the media to answer questions after the match.

Kah was in the locker room, dressing, while Will Johnson, who has a locker next to Kah’s, answered questions. Kah then left the locker room and walked into the shower area where media are not allowed.

Portland trailed 2-0 heading into halftime. The Timbers cut the lead to 2-1 on a PK by Johnson.

On the play preceding the PK, Timbers striker Fanendo Adi crossed into the 18-yard box and got tangled with FC Dallas defender Je-Vaughn Watson. Referee Alan Kelly blew the whistle and awarded the Timbers the PK.

The Timbers took a whopping 30 shots Wednesday and put nine shots on frame — all in the second half. FC Dallas took 13 shots and put six balls on goal.

The Timbers controlled .617 of the possession, while FC Dallas had .383.

The Timbers (4-4-8, 20 points) came out with their foot on the accelerator as the match got underway. Portland sent waves of attack and moved the ball into the final third numerous times.

In the 10th minute, the Timbers appeared to score the first goal of the match when defender Rauwshan McKenzie sent a 4-yard shot into the back of the net. McKenzie was called for being offside, though.

FC Dallas (6-7-4, 22 points) soon stopped the Timbers' momentum and went up 1-0 in the 27th minute.

Blas Perez played a long pass to midfielder Fabian Castillo at the top of the 18-yard box, on the right side. Castillo bounced the ball off his chest, gathered himself and sent a shot to the far post. Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts laid out to block the shot, but it was out of his reach.

FC Dallas then took a 2-0 lead in the 39th minute. Striker Tesho Akindele got the ball at midfield and made a sensational run into the box. Akindele got all the way to the end line, before sending a pass behind him, where Perez was waiting. Perez got the ball 16 yards from goal, completely unmarked. He had all the time in the world to square up on goal and send a rocket to the bottom left corner and into the back of the net.

“The first half was disappointing, it was embarrassing,” Porter said.

The Timbers began trying to force the issue in the second half, throwing numbers forward, and forcing FC Dallas to pack in its defense to protect against the onslaught.

In the 54th minute, the Timbers were robbed of a goal by FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd. With the ball bouncing around the box, FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez left his line and was out of position when the ball came to midfielder Diego Valeri, who fired a shot at the middle of the goal from 8 yards. Loyd was there, though, to make a kick save with his right foot and keep the ball out of the back of the net.

Portland missed out on another golden opportunity in the 62nd minute. Once again, Fernandez came off his line and was badly out of position when Johnson got the ball 20 yards from goal. Shooting at a completely open net, Johnson ballooned his shot 20 feet over the goal and into the Timbers Army.

Then came Johnson’s PK, the two red cards, and the entire complexion of the match was changed.

The Timbers will not play another MLS match until June 27, when they host Sporting Kansas City. In between then, Portland will play host to the Orlando City U23s on June 17 in a U.S. Open Cup match.