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May 8, 2013

Timbers hold on for draw in Dallas

FRISCO, Texas -- Kenny Cooper scored on a penalty kick in the 77th minute to lift FC Dallas into a 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night.

The draw extended the unbeaten streaks for two of the hottest clubs in MLS to eight games apiece.

Cooper's second goal of the season came after Portland's Andrew Jean-Baptiste was shown a yellow card for pulling down Blas Perez inside the penalty area. The ball wasn't anywhere near them when Perez tumbled to the ground.

"It was just me and Perez battling," Jean-Baptiste said. "He was holding onto me, I was holding onto him, we were just both fighting for it, but the ref felt like I drug him down."

Cooper then stepped to the dot and slotted a low shot just inside the left post to tie it.

"I feel like I let my team down," Jean-Baptiste said. "We had three points in the bag, we knew the second half was ours, and I just let my team down with a silly lack of focus and the ref gave them a gift."

Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman was pleased with his team's resilience.

"For us to be down 1-0 and to dig in and to come back and get a PK and walk away with a point, we're very happy with," Hyndman said.

Timbers coach Caleb Porter wasn't pleased with the call.

"I thought we deserved to get three points out of that game," he said. "... It's hard to win a game when you're playing against 12 men. That's just completely unfair.

"I'm not going to criticize anyone specifically, but that's just unacceptable, and off the ball, where two guys get tangled. There were 20 other plays in that game that were just like that exact one that could have been called, in both boxes, so I think it's just a travesty."

Raul Fernandez made three saves for Dallas, which owns the league's best record and is 6-0-2 in its last eight. Dallas also remains unbeaten at home (5-0-1), outscoring the opposition 10-3.

Cooper nearly gave Dallas the victory in the 86th, but Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts got his hand on Cooper's blast from the edge of the box, deflecting it just over the crossbar.

Diego Chara scored and Ricketts made four saves for the Timbers, who are now 3-0-5 in their last eight matches. It was Portland's first point earned in Dallas, having lost on its previous three visits by a combined 10-1 margin.

"It wasn't one of our best team performances, we played well in patches, but when you play on the road and come out with a point, you have to leave happy," Ricketts said.

Chara's first goal of the season snapped a scoreless tie in the 70th, coming off a nice setup from Rodney Wallace, who had just entered the match seven minutes earlier. Wallace worked his way around Dallas' Je-Vaughan Watson and chipped a pass across the box to Chara for a one-timer past Fernandez inside the right post.

Dallas controlled the ball for much of the first 15 minutes, with Cooper generating the game's first prime scoring chance, drilling a shot from just outside the penalty area in the 16th that just curled wide of the left goalpost.

After withstanding sustained pressure from Portland, Dallas nearly scored when Castillo raced into the penalty area from the left wing and fired a left-footed shot that Ricketts knocked aside with his arm.

Ricketts kept the match scoreless with a diving save five minutes into the second half when Castillo's lead pass sprung Perez in on a breakaway, knocking aside Perez's 20-yard blast.

FC Dallas star midfielder David Ferreira, the 2010 MLS MVP, left the contest in the 54th minute after having to limp off the field with an apparent right leg injury twice within a four-minute span.

"He tweaked his hamstring a little bit," Hyndman said.

Dallas also played without Jackson, who received a red card in Dallas' 2-2 draw at Vancouver on April 27 and served his one-game suspension.

"We were missing some guys tonight, unfortunately that happens throughout the season, but we didn't stop," Cooper said. "We kept knocking on the door and we were fortunate enough to get a penalty."

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