Timbers-FC Dallas Preview
FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers have been two of MLS' top teams through the season's first two months, and they both bring seven-game unbeaten streaks into Wednesday night's matchup at FC Dallas Stadium.
Dallas (6-1-2) leads MLS with 20 points, its 15 goals are second-most and it is the only club that has not been shut out. Portland (3-1-5) has 14 points and is in a three-way tie for second place behind Dallas in the Western Conference.
Dallas has won all five of its home matches, outscoring opponents 9-2 while recording four shutouts. However, the club is coming off a disappointing result, a 2-all draw at Vancouver on April 27.
Coach Schellas Hyndman's squad held a 2-0 advantage until surrendering a goal in the 72nd minute and another three minutes later. Dallas had given up two goals over its previous five games.
Off to the best start in franchise history, Dallas had plenty of things to clean up in practice after blowing an opportunity to pick up two more points.
"We're really focusing on some of the things that we have to do a better job on," Hyndman told the team's official website. "We've been giving the ball away a little too easily. We're not so concerned that we have to have the ball 60 or 65 percent of the game, we're more concerned that when we go up on an opponent, we seem to play a little bit erratic and give balls away a little bit too much."
Portland hasn't lost since March 9, a day prior to Dallas' last defeat. The seven-game unbeaten run is the Timbers' longest since joining MLS in 2011.
A season-high 22 shots - including nine on goal - couldn't keep them from being shut out for the first time in 2013 as they played to a scoreless draw at home against New England on Thursday.
"It's hard to say we got shut out," midfielder Will Johnson said. "We shut ourselves out. We had our chances, they were there."
Portland's defense took a hit as Mikael Silvestre will mis six to nine months with a torn ACL suffered against the Revolution. To help in his absence, the Timbers signed former Premier League veteran Pa-Modou Kah on Friday. The 32-year-old Kah spent the past two seasons playing in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and will join the club once he obtains his visa.
"Kah is a top-level player and will bring a wealth of experience as a professional, playing in some of the top leagues around the world," first-year coach Caleb Porter said. "This signing couldn't come at a better time with the recent injury of Mikael Silvestre. We expect Kah to step into the back line and make an immediate impact in our club."
Dallas owns a 2-1-2 advantage in the all-time series, outscoring the Timbers 13-5. Portland's only win came in the first meeting April 17, 2011, at home.