Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas
2017 MLS Regular Season
Providence Park – Portland, Oregon
Saturday, June 10 – 10:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
After starting the season looking like two of the strongest teams in the league, the Portland Timbers and FC Dallas hit rough patches over the past month or so, with both carrying lengthy winless streaks into Week 14.
Both of those slides ended in emphatic fashion last weekend, with Portland cruising to a 2-0 win over San Jose last Friday and Dallas getting a first half hat trick from Roland Lamah to smash Real Salt Lake 6-2 last Saturday. Now, with both their arrows again pointing up, they’ll square off in perhaps the most intriguing match of the abbreviated Week 15 slate at Providence Park on Saturday night.
Saturday’s match will be the second meeting between the sides this year. Portland turned in an impressive performance in the first matchup with FCD, holding a late 2-1 lead at Toyota Stadium before Tesho Akindele scored in the 80th minute to give Dallas a 2-2 draw on April 29. This weekend’s contest will look a lot different, however. Both sides are without a number of key contributors due to international duty and injury, and Caleb Porter and Oscar Pareja will both be forced to rely on their depth on Saturday night at Providence Park.
Saturday’s match will kick off a stretch of five matches in two weeks across all competitions for the Timbers. That’s a challenging run under the best conditions, and a real headache for any head coach.
Unfortunately for Porter and the Timbers, these aren’t exactly ideal conditions. Portland are dealing with a pair of huge absences in their midfield, as star attacker Darlington Nagbe and influential holding midfielder David Guzman will both miss Saturday’s match while away on international duty.
They will, however, have Diego Valeri in the fold this weekend. The vibrant Argentine missed the first game against Dallas due to injury, but bagged a brace in the win against San Jose on Friday to give him eight goals and four assists in 12 games this year. He’ll no doubt play a huge role on Saturday night.
“Diego looked sharp again,” Porter said after the win against San Jose. “A couple of games back from injury, I think it took him a little bit just to get into a rhythm. But certainly this game, he was back to doing what he does: scoring goals and creating chances for us.”
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Absences: David Guzman (Costa Rica), Darlington Nagbe (USA)
- Injury Report: OUT: D Gbenga Arokoyo (Achilles), D Chance Myers (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: F Darren Mattocks (adductor), M Jack Barmby (ankle)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Jake Gleeson - Zarek Valentin, Liam Ridgewell, Roy Miller, Vytas - Diego Chara, Amobi Okugo - Dairon Asprilla, Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco - Fanendo Adi
Notes: Portland enter Saturday's match on a five-game winless streak against FC Dallas (0-4-1) ... The Timbers have lost just once in their last 12 regular season home games, posting a 9-1-2 record and outscoring their opponents 26-10 in that span.
Portland will be missing a few key players on Saturday, but Dallas are dealing with an even tougher hand. FCD will be without regulars Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges, Maynor Figueroa and Tesho Akindele due to international duty and will be missing star Walker Zimmerman due to injury.
Of course, those absences – Acosta, Hedges and Zimmerman were all out against Real Salt Lake – didn’t slow them down last weekend. FCD played a match befitting their status as Western Conference leaders in points per game, thrashing RSL 6-2 to snap a four-game winless streak. Lamah was the main man, putting his personal slow start in the rearview with a first half hat trick.
Perhaps even more importantly, Mauro Diaz continued his comeback from the torn Achilles he suffered last October, coming off the bench to make his second appearance in as many weeks. The No. 10 logged a solid 29 minutes, recording an assist on Dallas’ final goal and building his match fitness as he works his way toward his first start of the season – a milestone he might just hit this Saturday in Portland.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Absences: Kellyn Acosta (USA), Tesho Akindele (Canada), Maynor Figueroa (Honduras), Matt Hedges (USA)
- Injury Report: OUT: D Walker Zimmerman (left MCL strain), M Paxton Pomykal (knee surgery)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Jesse Gonzalez - Hernan Grana, Atiba Harris, Walker Hume, Aaron Guillen - Carlos Gruezo, Victor Ulloa - Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz, Roland Lamah - Maxi Urruti
Notes: FC Dallas' loss at Chicago on May 25 snapped an eight-game road unbeaten run for FCD. The 2-1 defeat was only the second time FC Dallas have conceded multiple goals in their last 11 away matches.
Dallas holds a very slight edge on the Timbers in the all-time series between the clubs.
- Overall: Portland 5 wins (23 goals), Dallas 7 wins (34 goals), 5 draws
- At Portland: Portland 4 wins (13 goals), Dallas 1 win (10 goals), 2 draws
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Kevin Klinger, Michael Kampmeinert
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow