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Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas | MLS Match Preview

June 11, 2014 (WEEK 15, MLS Game #137)
10 pm ET / 7 pm PT (ESPN2/Deportes)

A crucial match in the Western Conference rounds out the MLS schedule before the World Cup break as the Portland Timbers return home to take on FC Dallas on Wednesday evening before an ESPN2 audience. The Timbers come back to the Rose City after extending their club record road winning streak to three games in a 3-1 triumph at Real Salt Lake last weekend. FC Dallas put an end to an eight-game winless run at home with a 3-2 victory against Colorado. The teams are separated by just two points in the division standings.

REFEREE: Alan Kelly. AR1 (bench): Fabio Tovar; AR2 (opposite): Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 29.8; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 2

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Pa Modou Kah, Diego Chara … DAL: Fabian Castillo
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Norbetto Paparetto … DAL: Matt Hedges, Michel, Je-Vaughn Watson, Victor Ulloa

ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Timbers 3 wins, 10 goals … FC Dallas 3 wins, 17 goals … Ties 3
AT PORTLAND (4 meetings): Timbers 3 wins, 7 goals … FC Dallas 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 10/25: FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. CT
• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A late Blas Perez goal gave FC Dallas a 2-1 victory, March 29 at Toyota Stadium.
• The road team has never won in the series, in nine meetings all-time. The Timbers have won three of the four meetings all-time in Portland.
• Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. POR: P7 W3 L3 T1 … Caleb Porter vs. DAL: P4 W2 L1 T1

3/29: DAL 1, POR 1 (Perez 47+; Díaz 84 – own goal 66)
• Before halftime, both teams were a man down as Portland’s Michael Harrington and FCD's Je-Vaughn Watson were both sent off by referee Sorin Stoica in the 39th minute for an off-the-ball incident.
• FC Dallas took the lead in first-half stoppage time. Jair Benitez played in a far-post cross which was headed into the ground by Kellyn Acosta, and then headed past Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber by an unmarked Blas Perez.
• But the visitors drew level on an odd play in the 66th minute. Portland forward Maximiliano Urruti’s pass for substitute Kalif Alhassan deflected off the foot of Dallas captain Matt Hedges, wrongfooting goalkeeper Chris Seitz as it caromed into the net.
• Yet FC Dallas had one final answer. After the ball was sent back into the danger zone following an FCD free kick, Mauro Díaz shifted to his right in the heart of the area and fired a low shot past Weber for the 84th-minute match-winner.
• FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Chris Seitz - Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges, Stephen Keel, Jair Benitez - Michel, Victor Ulloa (Zach Loyd 87) - Je-Vaughn Watson (ejected 40), Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo (Moises Hernandez 90) - Blas Perez (David Texeira 66).
• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-1-3): Andrew Weber - Jack Jewsbury (Frederic Piquionne 87), Pa Modou Kah, Norberto Paparatto, Michael Harrington (ejected 39) - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Diego Valeri - Darlington Nagbe (Alvas Powell 46), Maximiliano Urruti, Gaston Fernandez (Kalif Alhassan 62).

The Portland Timbers won their third game out of the last four, going to Real Salt Lake and coming away with a 3-1 victory, Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Timbers are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 19 points from 15 games.


• RSL took the lead in the 23rd minute. Defender Chris Schuler's header off a corner kick was deflected and the ball fell right to the feet of midfielder Luke Mulholland, who struck it hard inside the left post past Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
• But the Timbers equalized on a corner kick of their own in the 36th minute. Midfielder Diego Valeri put in a perfect service to the heart of the area where Fanendo Adi headed home inside the right-hand post of RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
• The visitors took the lead in the 45th minute. Racing away downfield on a counterattack following a cleared Real corner, the Timbers broke on a four-on-two break. Attinella made a spectacular save on Darlington Nagbe, but Adi was there to slam home the rebound.
• Real Salt Lake went a man down less than 10 minutes into the second half when referee Ismail Elfath pulled two yellow cards out of his pocket in the space of less than two minutes. RSL defender Beltran was first cautioned for grabbing Nagbe's jersey, and sent off after taking Nagbe down with a poorly timed tackle.
• The Timbers iced the game in the 73rd minute when Schuler's arm blocked a flicked cross from Nagbe as he slid in the box, and Elfath whistled for a penalty for Portland. Will Johnson stepped up and calmly put the resulting spot kick into the net.
• Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made three changes to the team that fell 4-3 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Providence Park. Norberto Paparatto came into central defense in place of Pa Modou Kah, Gaston Fernandez started in the midfield for Steve Zakuani, and Maximiliano Urruti came in up top for Fanendo Adi.
• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Norberto Paparatto (Danny O'Rourke 60), Rauwshan McKenzie, Jorge Villafana - Will Johnson, Diego Chara - Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe (Kalif Alhassan 88), Gaston Fernandez (Steve Zakuani 68) - Fanendo Adi.


• The Timbers extended their MLS club record winless streak on the road to three matches, and are now unbeaten in their last four away from Providence Park.
• “I’m just happy that we got three points,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “We haven’t gotten results at home like we needed to, but we’ve now gotten three victories in a row on the road and that says a lot about this group. And it shows that even though we’re dropping a few points at home that we can make up for it. We have a lot of games left, home and away, and we need to do better at home starting with Dallas on Wednesday.”
• The Timbers also won for the third time in the last four matches and have lost just once in their last eight games, dating back to April 27.
• Returning to the starting lineup for the second time in three games, Fanendo Adi hit for his second two-goal game in that span, coming in each start. Adi has four goals and an assist in his last three games.
• “It’s not just me scoring the goals, but it’s the whole team. Without the guys playing fantastic, I wouldn’t be able to get a goal as a striker, so it’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team. We played a nice game,” Adi said.
• Diego Valeri recorded his league-leading eighth assist of the season, his fifth assist over the last three games. All eight of Valeri’s assists have come in the last seven games, since the May 3 win vs. D.C. United.
• “[Adi] is on fire. The goal that he scores, and Diego [Valeri] as well. Those two guys are really producing,” said Will Johnson. “The goal where Adi just muscles a guy – you can’t teach that, it’s just instinctive. A big physical guy and the way that he scored that first goal, it just kind of opened them up a little bit, and really it was tough for them to bounce back from that. Those two guys are playing great and I think that everyone else is pitching in too.”
• The Timbers also scored three goals in a game for the third time in the last five matches, and have scored multiple goals in five consecutive games. They are averaging 1.73 goals per game, the third-highest average in MLS.
• “We’ve been handicapped a few times early in the year especially with some injuries. I think that line of three, having that fluid line, playing with more inverted wingers underneath, a true target-type nine really seemed to work ... I think basically our group of five guys with the two holding mids, [Diego] Chara and [Will] Johnson, and obviously [Darlington] Nagbe, Gaston [Fernandez], and [Diego] Valeri, those five guys really did a nice job on both sides of the ball with controlling the midfield,” Porter said.

FC Dallas put an end to their winless run after eight games, coming back for a 3-2 win against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas sit in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 21 points from 16 games.


• The Rapids opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Drew Moor nodded a cross back across the face of goal and Deshorn Brown reacted quickest to it, chipping FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez from inside the six-yard box.
• The home side were level just eight minutes later. Jair Benitez hammered a free kick straight out from goal, just beyond the restraining arc. The ball took a deflection off FCD striker Andres Escobar and wrong-footed Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin on its way to goal.
• FCD took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Fabian Castillo saw his dribbling run halted just before reaching the Colorado penalty area, but Moor drove the loose ball goalward, again leaving Irwin little chance as it deflected slightly off a defender before reaching the back of the net.
• The Rapids again leveled terms in the 52nd minute when a corner kick by Dillon Powers was powerfully headed on goal by Jose Mari. Benitez nearly nodded the ball off the line, but the ball still crashed into the top of the goal.
• That set the stage for a brilliant match-winner. Castillo won the ball near the center circle, beat three Rapids defenders directly off the dribble and then took a quick shot from the left side of the penalty area for the 62nd-minute winner.
• FCD head coach Oscar Pareja made four changes to the team that dropped a 2-1 result to the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Stadium. Raul Fernandez came in between the posts in place of Chris Seitz, Jair Benitez came back in at left back for Moises Hernandez, and Peter Luccin and Andres Escobar entered the side in place of Je-Vaughn Watson and the suspended Adam Moffat.
• FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, Walker Zimmerman (Stephen Keel 44), Matt Hedges (Je-Vaughn Watson 46), Jair Benitez - Fabian Castillo, Peter Luccin (Andrew Jacobson 57), Victor Ulloa, Tesho Akindele - Blas Perez, Andres Escobar.


• FC Dallas won for the first time since the April 19 victory vs. Toronto FC, going 0-6-2 over their eight-game winless skein, tied for the fourth-longest winless run in the club’s 19-year history. The club record is 13 games, set during the 2012 season.
• “It was a really long stretch and the struggle, the adversity, the red cards; all those things have been frustrating.  Since they have not stopped working, the game rewarded them with three points before the break and gives us the momentum to go to Portland and fight,” said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. “We’re trying to get people healthy to try to fight the second half of the season with a complete roster. That would be great.”
• Fabian Castillo scored his fourth goal of the season, and has two goals and an assist over his last five games.
• “Fabian creates a lot of options. We have to be patient with a player that is young, but has a lot of potential. There was an improvement in his finishing; he created the play, he took the people on and the finishing was fantastic,” said Pareja.
• Making his first start for the club (after five appearances off the substitutes’ bench), Andres Escobar was credited with his first MLS goal, after the Jair Benitez free kick deflected off him into the net.
• “I’m very happy for Andres. He’s been working hard to come back from being injured. He worked very hard in the game. I’m not only happy for him because of the goal but he worked very hard throughout the game to get the win,” said Castillo.
• Jair Benitez was credited with his third assist in the last five matches, returning to the starting lineup after coming off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last two games.
• Raúl Fernández was credited with his first victory between the posts this season, in his sixth start. FCD was 0-4-1 in his first five starts, his last the 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy on May 21.
• The FCD back four underwent a makeover on either side of halftime. Walker Zimmerman came off just before halftime and Matt Hedges came off during the break. Zach Loyd shifted inside to play in central defense while Je-Vaughn Watson came on for Hedges.
• “[Matt Hedges] was tired – his hamstring was bothering him very early in the game. We’ve been playing six games with 10 players, which, though we sometimes don’t think about that part, will create a lot of extra miles for a player. There has to be consistency in the lineup and under those circumstances I just wanted to put someone in that was 100 percent,” said Pareja.
• Said Loyd: “[Stephen] Keel and I sat here at halftime and talked about what we wanted to do. I got to talk to Oscar [Pareja] a little bit about what he wanted out of me. So to have that good 10-15 minutes to discuss what we wanted to do going forward definitely helped, instead of having to make that change on the fly.”

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Season Stats

Portland TimbersFC Dallas
15Games Played16
25Goals Conceded26
73Shots on Target66
206Fouls committed223
224Fouls suffered218

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