The Portland Timbers didn’t have complete control over their destiny, but what they did have control over was their match against FC Dallas, which ended with the Timbers on top 2–0.
There were a ton of different scenarios, all of which included ways in which the Timbers would or would not make the playoffs. If anything was for sure it was that a Timbers win would help in their fight for a playoff spot.
Unfortunately, Portland’s road victory was not enough to push the Timbers back into the playoff race, as the Vancouver Whitecaps won their game right after Portland won theirs. The way all of the different scenarios played out, there was one consistent theme: If Vancouver won their game, they would be in the playoffs. They did exactly that.
In Dallas, Portland’s last game of the season included two teams in the thick of the playoff race. Without the power of Providence Park behind them, Portland got a much needed first-half goal from Darlington Nagbe, who scored his first goal of the season. Nagbe had gone over 2,600 minutes without scoring but put one in the back of the net when the Timbers needed it most.
The first goal before halftime put a little ease in the minds of Timbers fans. As the second half started, however, Dallas came out attacking, controlling possession on their attacking third. It wasn’t long before they sent a ball into the back of the net, only for the goal to be disallowed by the referee who called a handball in the box.
The disallowed goal added more fuel to Dallas fire. They came out attacking more furiously than before. Once again, the ball only stayed on the offensive side of the field for Dallas, who put another ball into the net after a cross into the middle of the box was headed home. The referee’s whistle blew again, this time with an out of bounds call as another FC Dallas goal was called back.
After the bizarre sequence of two disallowed goals, the Timbers started to get their groove back and were able to control the ball better, leading to some attacks of their own. Maximiliano Urruti was subbed in for Portland forward Fanendo Adi and the Timbers found themselves in their attacking third. Gato Fernandez hit Urruti with a pass in the box and he scored, all but securing the Timbers’ win.
The rest of the game was scoreless for both teams, giving Portland three points and putting them in the playoffs, with the Vancouver Whitecaps just starting their game as the Timbers finished theirs. A draw or loss from Vancouver would secure Portland’s spot. A win for the Whitecaps would end the Timbers’ season.
Unfortunately for Portland, the Whitecaps scored a goal late in their game to win 1–0, ending the Timbers’ season. The MLS playoffs begin next week.