Things have gone well so far this season for FC Dallas and now that the international break is over, the club should have a fairly good lineup selection going into the fifth week of the season against the Portland Timbers.
Portland is 0-1-3 on the season, as they are coming off their first loss of the year last week to rivals Vancouver. The Timbers have two draws at home so far this season against Western Conference foes as they look to remain unbeaten in all-time meetings at home against FC Dallas.
FC Dallas notes:
Out: Dan Kennedy (back spasms)
Doubtful: Stephen Keel (foot), Coy Craft (shoulder), Mauro Diaz (knee, hamstring)
Best defensive start in a decade. According to the club's game notes, FC Dallas is off to its best start defensively in 11 years with shutouts against San Jose, Philadelphia and Seattle. The last time FC Dallas allowed only one goal in its first four matches was back in 2004. The Dallas Burn also allowed only one goal in its first four matches of the 1999 season as well. The 1999 squad finished the season with 35 goals against, second only to the 2010 team (28GA) that went to MLS Cup. Current FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja played for both the 1999 and 2004 teams.
Halftime adjustments. FC Dallas has scored three of its six goals in the 15 minutes following halftime (between the 46th and 60th minutes).
Key player for FCD: Fabian Castillo. While a lot will be said about how the Portland defense can be stingy at home, they currently are banged up in the back and do not possess the speed on the outside that FCD does. FCD will want to involve Castillo as much as they can in this one as he continues to look like one of the most dangerous players in MLS.
Biggest question: How will the club do without Mauro Diaz?
Diaz has not trained at all this week with the club, likely meaning that he will not play on Saturday. Pareja will likely shift back to a 4-4-2 to control the width of the field in this one. That should play well into the game that FCD likes to play anyways. Not to mention the fact that Portland will be missing guys like Diego Valeri, Will Johnson, and Jack Jewsbury in this one.
My gut tells me this one is another draw. Portland is already being dubbed the 2015 king of the draws after earning three of them in March. Their injury situation gives me reason to think that FCD can earn their first win in Portland though. But for now I am being cautiously optimistic with a draw.
FCD 1, Portland 1
How to watch
Match date/time: Saturday, 4/4, 9:30PM
Venue: Providence Park, Portland, OR
Online: MLS Live
Look out for our game thread, which will go up an hour before today's game kicks off.