Matchday 2: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers

FRISCO, TX - JUNE 25: Zach Loyd #19 of the FC Dallas celebrates with teammate Andrew Jacobson #4 after scoring a goal during the first half of a soccer game against the Portland Timbers at Pizza Hut Park on June 25, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

FC Dallas takes on their first Western Conference foe of the year as Portland Timbers come to Frisco in a clash of two teams who both won on the first matchday. The weather is looking absolutely perfect, if not a little muggy, and this is your last Saturday night home game for a month so fire up the grill and get to the stadium early for some tailgating. You know the drill, team news, keys to the game, links, referee, prediction. Matchday 2, here we go, kickoff is at 7:30 and the game is broadcast on FSSW+

Team News

Injury troubles No Shea, no Ferreira, no Castillo...that is the reality of the situation for tonight's lineup. For FC Dallas, look for a first ever start for Andrew Wiedeman on the right while Carlos Rodriguez starts on the left. Ricardo Villar is a gametime decision and while I expect him to start, don't be shocked if he doesn't go 90. Options in his place would be Bruno Guarda or going to a 4-4-2. Also, look out for the secret weapon AKA Bryan Leyva

Misery loves company Portland is no stranger to the injury bug with Futty Danso, Frank Songo'o, Sal Zizzo and David Horst all listed as out due to injuries.

Wear Red FCD is asking that every who goes to the stadium wear red rather than green today on St. Patrick's Day as the Portland Timbers primary color is, of course, green.

Lots more after the jump

Keys to the game

Mighty Mouse has to be extra mighty While Dallas is missing three of their big 4, the big man at the top of the formation will be available and will be counted on big time. This midfield is not going to be able to create that many chances so it's essential that Blas finishes one or two of the few that he will get. I'm confident in the Dallas defense being able to shut down the Portland attack, but if you don't score a goal you can't win the game.

Defense on the wings With Jewsbury and Chara in the middle not terribly offensively inclined players(except for running on the end of poorly cleared crosses), there's not a whole lot of punch in the midfield and Portland will be looking to attack down the wings with a combination of Kalif Alhassan, Eric Alexander, and Darlington Nagbe. For Dallas, it's essential that Carlos Rodriguez and Jair Benitez are at the top of their game while the back four clears the crosses efficiently rather than messing around them which will get you killed, as we saw last week vs New York.

Who steps up? Someone is getting their chance today, perhaps multiple players. Andrew Wiedeman has earned this start with a stellar pre-season while Bryan Leyva's wonderful display on Tuesday could earn him his first spot on the bench for many months. Who steps up today and shows Schellas Hyndman that he deserves a regular place in the squad?

Links

Give a listen to Soccer Made in PDX as I went on yesterday to preview the game. My segment starts right off the bat so turn that one on for a few minutes before leaving today (Soccer Made in PDX)

In hindsight, FC Dallas regrets trading Eric Alexander (Dallas News)

Brek Shea Blog (Goal.com)

Official match preview (MLSSoccer.com)

Hyndman: No Chance We're Taking Timbers Lightly (MLSSoccer.com)

Timbers Out to Silence Doubters In First Road Match (MLSSoccer.com)

Timbers Still Ailing Ahead of Trip to Dallas (MLSSoccer.com)

Referee

Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic MLS Career: 73 games; FC/gm: 24.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 23; pens: 21

Prediction

This is a really tough one to call as there's so many question marks in the Dallas lineup. I like the chances of Blas Perez to score as I feel that MLS defenses are still surprised by him as a new forward in the league. The big question is, how does the Dallas defense deal with Kris Boyd and can Portland bring their success on the road this year which they couldn't do last year. In the end, I think Dallas gives up a lead in the second half and draws.

FC Dallas 1 Portland Timbers 1

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