Timbers do their part, but miss playoffs

Urruti, Nagbe score in 2-0 win at Dallas, but Vancouver wins, too
Oct. 25, 2014
Darlington Nagbe scored his first goal of the season Satureday.
AP photo.

FRISCO, Texas – The Portland Timbers tallied their third consecutive clean sheet, receiving goals from midfielder Darlington Nagbe and forward Maximiliano Urruti in a 2-0 win against FC Dallas before 17,231 fans at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday night to conclude the team’s 2014 MLS campaign.

But, the result and late-season surge wasn’t enough to get the team to the playoffs.

Just hours later, Vancouver scored a 1-0 home victory over Colorado and passed the Timbers in the conference standings for the fifth playoff spot.

Nagbe netted a goal just before halftime and Urruti tallied a goal late in the second half to help Portland register its third straight clean sheet in regular-season play. The Timbers compiled a 304-minute shutout streak since an Oct. 4 win over San Jose and registered eight consecutive unbeaten games against Western Conference opponents (5-0-3) – earning a plus-12 goal differential during the stretch.

Over the final 26 regular-season matches in 2014, Portland (12-9-13, 49pts) registered one of the league’s highest point totals (44) while compiling a 12-6-8 record over that stretch to come within one point of qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season.

With the road victory over FC Dallas, the Timbers briefly moved ahead of Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the final spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, but Vancouver regained the fifth spot in the conference by just one point with a 1-0 win against Colorado on Saturday night. Portland finishes the season with a plus-nine goal differential, the highest margin for a non-playoff team in MLS history, surpassing the 2005 Kansas City Wizards and 2013 Whitecaps FC (+8).

Portland concluded the regular-season schedule on a strong note, sustaining just one defeat over its last nine games (5-1-3), including five wins and four shutouts in its last six matches, and five clean sheets over the last eight matches in all competitions.

With a goal in each half against FC Dallas (16-12-6, 54pts), Portland finished the regular-season with a Timbers MLS-club record 61 goals, including a league-best 34 in the final 30 minutes of matches while compiling one of the league’s top road records (7-6-4) and the second-most road wins in MLS this season.

Nagbe put Portland in front in the 43rd minute with a low drive from the top of the penalty box that deflected off FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd’s leg and settled into the back of the net just before halftime. The goal marked Nagbe’s first of the season and his fifth goal in 10 career matches against FC Dallas and helped Portland to its first-ever road win at Toyota Stadium in MLS play.

Urruti tallied his 10th goal of the season in the 82nd minute, giving Portland a two-goal cushion. Settling a pass from midfielder Gastón Fernández, Urruti fired a strong shot past FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz from the top of the box to become Portland’s second player to register 10 or more goals during the regular season (Diego Valeri, 11).

Portland held FC Dallas to just one shot on goal in the match, snapping the home side’s eight-game winning streak at Toyota Stadium.