FRISCO, TX - JULY 21: (L-R) Diego Chara #21 of the Portland Timbers controls the ball against Carlos Rodriguez #22 of the FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium on July 21, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
FC Dallas(22 points 5-11-7) take on Portland (19 points, 5-12-4) this afternoon in a national TV game on NBC Sports Network at 6PM central from Jeld-Wen Field in the Rose City. FC Dallas comes into this game needing to likely win 8 of their last 11 to have a shot at the playoffs while Portland is hoping to pull into a tie with FCD at the bottom of the Western Conference with a win, though they are 0-5 in their last 5 games and lost to FCD by 5 goals a couple weeks ago.
Long Time No See FC Dallas has played just one game in Portland in franchise history, a 3-2 loss way back last April. That game was amazingly played before David Ferreira sustained his injury, so El Torito has not missed a game in Portland yet.
Brek Returns Brek Shea traveled to Portland and looks all systems go for Sunday afternoon. I absolutely loved the answers he gave to Todd Date in a Q&A on Thursday and I really wouldn't be surprised if he comes out flying and proves a point to everyone about the player he can be.
No Jackson Another indicator pointing to a possible start for Brek is the absence of Jackson as he was listed on the Friday MLS Injury Update as out for this weekend with concussion symptoms. You wonder what the deal is with concussions and this team in 2012. Ricardo Villar is also out, though Matt Hedges is listed as probable.
Keys to the Game
Take it to them Portland is a fragile team on the brink of collapse and you wonder how much longer it will be before the fans turn on them as well. With the "heat" of about 91 expected at game-time, an early goal could do a ton in silencing the Portland crowd and seeing somewhat of a repeat of two weeks ago.
Get Ferreira Involved David Ferreira absolutely torched Portland in their last game, creating three goals in 50 minutes on the pitch. He was never able to get going against Los Angeles and getting him involved will make this game much, much easier for FCD.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 155 games; FC/gm: 27.1; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 44; pens: 57
It's another tough one to call as you always think Portland is going to come out and try to prove the 5-0 is a fluke, but the fact remains that Portland is just an awful team right now that can't score goals. If Dallas can remain defensively organized, I think there's a good chance for a shutout win. However, I think Portland usually plays decent in front of a national TV audience and they get the result in this one as Dallas has won just one of ten road games this year.