FC Dallas returns home after a disappointing road trip and three straight losses. Portland travel to Frisco after a 2-1 loss to their Cascadia rivals, Vancouver.
If you thought FC Dallas defense has been bad lately, you were right, but Portland has not been much better. The Timbers are one of the weakest defenses in the league alongside the Hoops. Both teams desperately need to shore up their back four as each have given up 18 goals on the season so far. Expect an open game as both teams try to exploit defensive inadequacies.
Portland is missing starting goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey and defender Alvas Powell for this game Portland has lined up in the 4-3-3 recently.
GK: Jack Gleeson; LB: Chris Klute; CB: Liam Ridgewell, Nat Borchers; RB: Zarek Valentin; CDM: Diego Chara; CM: Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri; RW: Lucas Melano; LW: Darren Mattocks; FW: Fanendo Adi.
Maxi Urruti vs. Liam Ridgewell. Urruti was the key to FC Dallas triumph over the Timbers in April. He notched two assists, just from pressuring Jack Jewsbury. Urruti will be forced to take on tougher opposition at center back this time around in Ridgewell, who was absent in the previous meeting of these teams. Will Liam Ridgewell sure up the defense and stop Urruti? Or will Urruti get the best of his former teammate like he did with Jewsbury a month ago?
Keys to Three Points
The Midfield. The last three outings for FC Dallas have been disappointing defeats to say the least and a lot of that has been bad play in the midfield. Carlos Gruezo, Victor Ulloa, and Kellyn Acosta, it doesn’t matter much in recent weeks as they have all been bad lately.
Portland has a quality midfield with Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, and Diego Chara. Dallas will have to sort out the midfield this week if it has any chance of success.
Contain the Wings. Portland have two big threats out wide with Lucas Melano and Darren Mattocks. Dallas has been bad at defending wingers lately and this will be key to the match. Maynor Figueroa and Ryan Hollingshead will need to hold the wingers and limit their opportunities to cross the ball to Adi. Defending better on the wings, will go a long way in slowing down the goals conceded by the Hoops.
Patience. FC Dallas has not scored in three games and this is obviously on their minds. Against Toronto, players elected to shoot when they had much better options. Dallas needs to find a goal patiently. Break Portland open and score, don’t try to force it from 25 yards out (looking at you Gruezo). Ultimately, Dallas will need to settle down and play the game, rather than desperately scrambling for a goal.
Dallas finally gets things back together at home, but it is not convincing.
My Prediction: FC Dallas 2-1.