Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew SC will meet in MLS Cup finals
The Portland Timbers drew 2-2 with FC Dallas, but still came out on top as 5-3 aggregate winners in Major League Soccer's Western Conference finals on an unseasonably cold night in Dallas. Portland now will travel to Columbus for the MLS Cup final on Dec. 6 (4 p.m. ET ESPN/WatchESPN).
Both teams had chances in a back-and-forth opening 45 minutes, but neither could break through.
Portland's Fanendo Adi broke the ice for the visitors early in the second half, when he settled a cross in the center of the Dallas penalty area, pivoted and powered a shot past goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.
Dallas answered in the 68th minute, when Mauro Diaz found Ryan Hollingshead with a beautiful chip and the midfielder volleyed home past Adam Kwarasey.
Minutes later, Blas Perez's header from a set piece gave Dallas a 2-1 lead in the game and cut its aggregate deficit to 4-3.
With Portland holding on for the win, Lucas Melano scored a magnificent goal to secure the win for his team as he literally walked the ball into the net past a helpless Gonzalez.
Despite holding a 3-1 advantage from the opening leg and playing without injured defender Liam Ridgewell, Caleb Porter's team came out on the offensive to start the game, looking to pad its lead with an away goal.
Dallas' best chance in the first half came in the 32nd minute, when Kellyn Acosta's curled cross found David Texeira right in front of the Portland goal. However, Texeira's close-range header was saved by Kwarasey.
Portland threatened in the 43rd minute as Darlington Nagbe and Dairon Asprilla charged down the left flank on a counterattack. Asprilla played a perfect cross through Dallas' six-yard box, but Adi couldn't catch up to the ball.
Dallas almost scored five minutes into the second half from a set piece, but no FCD players could get on the back end of Diaz's well-played cross.
The Columbus Crew SC lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls, but prevailed 2-1 on aggregate to earn a berth in the MLS Cup finals.
With the score level at 0-0, Anatole Abang scored on a header in injury time to give the Red Bulls hope.
Seconds later a Bradley Wright-Phillips header trickled towards the Crew SC goal, but it hit the post and Kei Kamara cleared it off the line to preserve the aggregate win for Columbus.
The Crew will make its second appearance in Major League Soccer's championship game when they host the Portland Timbers on Dec. 6 (match will be broadcast at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN/WatchESPN).