The Timbers travel to Frisco this weekend to face Dallas in a battle at the top of the Western Conference. Will Dallas unbeaten streak maintain against another fierce opponent?
Best Offense vs. Big D
Portland currently have the most rambunctious offense in the league, scoring 18 goals in their eight games played this year. Fanendo Adi, and Diego Valeri are playing well, and Darlington Nagbe has been on fire at points this season. Combine them with Darren Mattocks, Dairon Asprilla, and Sebastian Blanco and you get one exciting offense.
They will have to maintain that attack against the best defense in the league, while on the road in one of the toughest stadiums in the league. Dallas are stout this season and they are always even better in Fortress Frisco.
Potential Portland Lineup
Fortunately for Dallas, Portland are missing two big players this weekend. Valeri and Jake Gleeson will both be injured for this match.
GK: Jeff Attinella; RB: Alvas Powell; CB: Lawrence Olum, Liam Ridgewell; LB: Vytautas Andriuskevicius; CDM: Diego Chara, David Guzman; CAM: Darlington Nagbe; RW: Sebastian Blanco; LW: Darren Mattocks; ST: Fanendo Adi.
Maxi Urruti vs. David Guzman
Urruti tore Portland apart twice last year and it wasn’t through goals, but working hard and pressuring the defensive midfielders to win the ball. His work paid off and Dallas swept Portland in their two meetings. This time David Guzman is tasked with shielding a back four that is certainly beatable. He will need to be very aware of Urruti’s pressure and able to get rid of the ball intelligently to prevent Dallas from winning a ton of turnovers.
Keys to the Match
Getting the Offense clicking
Dallas will find it difficult to shut out one of the best offenses in the league, so it is crucial that Dallas is able to find a few goals in this game. We have seen some improvement in last weeks performances, but it will need to start clicking for guys like Cristian Colman and Roland Lamah if Dallas are going to really put this game to bed.
Limiting the X- Factors
For Dallas this means keeping Nagbe quiet. He scored a screamer last week and has been having a good season. Dallas will have to slow him down to prevent him from showing his quality in Frisco.
For Portland this means finding some way of stopping Kellyn Acosta, who is having his best ever season and is popping up all over the field for Dallas. Defense, Offense, Passes, Goals, Assists, Acosta has rocked in all of these categories this season and is a real force to contend with for Portland. Any minute he could totally change the game, but the same is true of Nagbe as well.