2015 MLS Cup Playoffs: Thriller in Dallas Sends Portland Timbers To Maiden MLS Cup Final
Picture Source: Brandon Farris

2015 MLS Cup Playoffs: Thriller in Dallas Sends Portland Timbers To Maiden MLS Cup Final

A Western Conference second leg thriller was able to send the Portland Timbers to their first ever MLS Cup Final appearance.

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Roberto Rojas

A thriller in Dallas ended with a 2-2 draw between FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers to send Portland on to their first ever MLS Cup Final appearance. Last week's first leg ended 3-1 in Portland's favor, which mean that the tie ended 5-3 on aggregate in favor of the Timbers. Thus, they have won the Western Conference and will advance to the MLS Cup Final for the first time in club history.

The match started a bit dry but various chances were made by both sides evenly throughout the first 45 minutes of the match at Toyota Stadium. The game's first clear cut chance came in the eighth minute when Timbers' striker Fanendo Adi was free with a chance on goal, only for defender Walker Zimmerman to steal it away from the Nigerian striker to force a corner. 

For the home side, in the 13th minute a run from Fabian Castillo saw the winger create a chance for David Texeira, but the Uruguayan took too much of a touch as it went out for a goal kick. The visitors continued to attack and pressure and almost took the lead when Dairon Asprilla controlled the ball with his chest over the top from the midfield. He was able to take his time, but Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez was able to make a good save just in time. 

It became a first chance full of various chances from both clubs in the Western Conference but in the end, they were unable to provide a decent finish on goal.

In the second half, the home side continued to attack with various chances especially on the flanks and from set pieces. Just five minutes into the second half, Castillo again went on a run on the left side of the pitch and tried to beat goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey. The Ghanian was able to make a good save just in time to deny the Colombian the first goal. 

The Timbers got a vital away goal in the 54th minute by drawing first blood in the match through Adi. Against the run of play, Diego Valeri was able to make the perfect run and provide the ball to the Nigerian striker. With the ball, he was able to turn himself and finish past Gonzalez, to make matters worst for the home side.

Dallas were able to get a lifeline 14 minutes later from Ryan Hollingshead after Castillo was able to cross from the left, allowing Hollingshead to calmly finish with a good first touch past Kwarasey, knowing they need three goals to advance.  They were looking to draw level a few minutes later when a free kick from Mauro Diaz allowed striker from Blas Perez to make it 2-1, which left Dallas just one goal away from sending the game to extra time.

Various chances continued to be made by the home side, but in the end the visitors sealed the match in the last few seconds of the match when Lucas Melano was able to beat Gonzalez and go past him for the final goal and end the match in a 2-2 draw.

Portland now advance to their first ever MLS Cup Final, and will travel to Columbus to take on the Crew on Sunday, December 6th.

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