Timbers-FC Dallas Preview

BY foxsports • July 24, 2015

While FC Dallas has been outstanding defensively during its charge up the standings, the Portland Timbers are having a difficult time scoring on the road.

Portland, though, is one of only two clubs to leave Dallas with a win in the past 13 months.

While Dallas goes after its longest winning streak in 16 years, the Timbers hope new addition Lucas Melano can provide a boost Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.

Dallas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy recorded three straight shutouts before helping the squad extend its winning streak to four in last Saturday's 2-1 home win over D.C. United.

Kellyn Acosta scored his first MLS goal and Fabian Castillo added a late go-ahead tally against the Eastern Conference leaders. Castillo has given Dallas (10-5-5) a lift with four goals and an assist over his last five matches.

Dallas hasn't won five straight league contests since a franchise-best six-game run from Sept. 11-Oct. 16, 1999, when the club was known as the Dallas Burn.

The team seems to be position to finish the weekend atop a West race that has six teams separated by a few points. It's 6-0-1 over its last seven home games across all competitions.

Dallas also has gone 16-2-3 at Toyota Stadium dating to last June, though Portland dealt the club one of those losses with a 2-0 victory last October.

The Timbers, three points behind Dallas, have been outscored 8-0 in their last two road matches and have been shut out three times while dropping four of five away from home. They had a five-game home winning streak snapped in last Saturday's 1-all draw with Vancouver.

Melano is expected to make his first appearance after signing as a designated player last week. The Argentine forward had five goals in 14 games for first-division Club Atletico Lanus.

"He came in almost the most important part of the season, so he knows that this team has confidence in him," midfielder Diego Valeri said. "He has to adapt quickly to the city, the style of play of this country and this team."

Maximiliano Urruti scored in his second straight games against Dallas in a 3-1 home win April 4. Fanendo Adi had an assist, but only two of his team-high eight goals have come on the road.

"The first time we went to Portland it was not a good result," Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said. "This is the time when we need to get those points back. It's a rival that is fighting for a good place in the standings so getting those points would be great."

Pareja's club will be without midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) and forward Blas Perez (Panama) due to Gold Cup duty, while Portland (9-7-5) won't have midfielder Will Johnson after he received a red card against the Whitecaps.

Dallas also made a big move Thursday, signing midfielder Ezequiel Cirigliano on loan from River Plate in his native Argentina. He won't be available until next week.

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