MatchDay Preview: Dallas welcome Portland in clash of unbeatens
A pair of Western Conference clubs coming off big First Kick victories meet Saturday night at FC Dallas Stadium when FC Dallas plays host to the Portland Timbers. FCD opened their new season with an impressive 2-1 home win against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon, while the Timbers are coming off an equally impressive 3-1 defeat of Philadelphia Union at home to round out the opening week.
The Portland Timbers again made a stunning start, kicking off their second season with a 3-1 win against Philadelphia Union before a national broadcast audience and a rapturous throng filling JELD-WEN Field.
- Union took the lead five minutes into the second half. Gabriel Gomez’s free kick sailed through the Portland back line, ticked off of Andrew Jean-Baptiste and flew past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
- It didn’t take long for Portland to level terms. In the 54th minute, rookie Jean-Baptiste out jumped the Philly defense on a free kick from Jack Jewsbury, and redirected his header on goal, the ball squirting underneath goalkeeper Zac MacMath and into the back of the net.
- Kris Boyd gave the Timbers the lead in the 66th minute when Kalif Alhassan flighted a cross into the center and Boyd flicked inside the far side netting.
- The home side put the game away in the 76th minute. Alhassan received a quick freekick on the right flank, rounded a defender and sent in what appeared to be a cross. Instead, the ball looped over MacMath and settled in the far netting.
- With defender Hanyer Mosquera hung up with visa issues, rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste started in central defense. Designated Player Kris Boyd made his anticipated debut, partnering Jorge Perlaza in attack.
PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-4-2): Troy Perkins - Lovel Palmer, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace - Eric Alexander (Darlington Nagbe 66), Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan - Jorge Perlaza, Kris Boyd (James Marcelin 80).
The Timbers scored three goals in a half for the second time in club history. The crowd of 20,438 was the largest home crowd in the Timbers’ MLS history.
“I think we played a little better in the second half,” head coach John Spencer said. “I thought first half we overplayed at times and never used the energy we had in the stadium to our advantage, like we did in the second half. I asked [the team] in the locker room at halftime if they could go play Timbers football and play with energy and passion. And I think we did that. To go a goal behind, I think was against the run of play a little bit. But tremendous response, tremendous response.”
The debut of Designated Player Kris Boyd was highly anticipated, after becoming the Scottish Premier League’s all-time leading scorer with 164 goals in 296 appearances with Kilmarnock and Ranger. He came through, netting the go-ahead goal on his full debut.
"I'm hoping that he can go on, stay healthy, go on to score a lot of goals and become a legend here," Timbers coach John Spencer said. "He definitely has the goal-scoring ability to do that, that's why he's here." Said midfielder Jack Jewsbury: "He's a guy they're going to have to watch out for whenever he's in the box.”
The Timbers now face a test on the road at FC Dallas, where they lost 4-0 a year ago. Portland 2-9-6 away from Jeld-Wen Field, the 15th-best road record in MLS.
“Weíve got to play well on the road,” Spencer said. “I think we’re a little bit more mature this year, hopefully, and I’d like to see us go down to Dallas and put on a similar type of performance.”
Rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste, selected in the first round of this year’s SuperDraft out of UConn, started in place of newly acquired Colombian Hanyer Mosquera, who was unavailable because of a delay in his international transfer certificate.
“I’ve got no problems with putting him in,” Spencer said. “I think you’ve got to look at it and say you’ve got to worry about the things you can control. And we could control putting him in to start, and he performed. We don’t expect to put him in to play badly. And players don’t try to play badly, and they try to play well every week. And, as I say, I thought he played particularly well.”
- Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson was called up by the New Zealand U-23 national team for the Oceania Football Confederation Olympic qualifying tournament March 16-24, which will be played in New Zealand.
FC Dallas gained a small of revenge to open their 2012 season, knocking off the New York Red Bulls 2-1 at FC Dallas Stadium.
- FC Dallas opened their 2012 account after 11 minutes. Brek Shea whipped in a cross from the left flank that the Red Bulls struggled to clear, and Blas Perez laid off a drop pass to Zach Loyd for a calm left-footed finish inside the back post.
- The home side doubled the lead in the 61st minute after another Red Bulls miscue near midfield. New York defender Roy Miller made an errant pass that Perez picked off and ran with before dropping it off to Ricardo Villar surging in from the right flank, setting up an easy finish.
- The Red Bulls closed the gap 12 minutes from the end. Thierry Henry sailed a perfect through ball over the FCD backline and substitute Kenny Cooper beat onrushing FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to the ball and nodded it home, marking the second goal against the team that gave him his start in 2006.
- Panamanian international Blas Perez started up top at the head of Schellas Hyndman’s formation, while another newcomer in Hernan Pertuz started in central defense.
FC DALLAS (4-1-4-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd, Hernan Pertuz, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez (George John 85) - Daniel Hernandez - Fabian Castillo (Carlos Rodriguez 31), Andrew Jacobson, Ricardo Villar (Bobby Warshaw 74), Brek Shea - Blas Perez.
- With David Ferreira ruled out in the days leading up to the match, Panamanian international Blas Perez was given the start as the lone striker in the FCD scheme and capped his MLS debut with assists on both goals.
- “I thought he did a very good job holding the ball under pressure,” Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. “He might be that striker that we were looking for since we lost Jeff Cunningham [in 2010]. I think he’s going to score a lot of goals for us this year.”
- If there was a down point to the match, it was the loss of Fabian Castillo, who had a bright start in a wide midfield role before being forced off after 32 minutes.
- “He got a pretty good hit on the inside of his knee. My first thoughts are a knee contusion or maybe a strained ligament,” Hyndman said. “He’s a very good young player. As he continues to mature, he’ll make better decisions. They didn’t really have an answer for him.”
- Ricardo Villar nearly was not able to figure in the match, after suffering a concussion on Wednesday and not being cleared to play until Saturday. He then scored his first goal since coming to MLS.
- “I just thought about how this goal for my team not it being my first MLS goal,” Villar said. “This was a tribute to Socrates. He was my idol growing up. He played for Brazil in the World Cup in the '80s. He was the only Brazilian to set an example to never give up. I thank Socrates for that. He passed away last year, and it’s just a little bit of my culture.”
- FC Dallas will now lose Brek Shea for the next match, after he was called into the U.S. U-23 national team for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
- Hernan Pertuz, who joined the team during the offseason from Colombia, was given the start in central defense ahead of incumbent George John, who missed much of the preseason with the team while on loan with English side West Ham United.
- FC Dallas this week announced the signing of Colombian striker Luis Perea. After playing in the youth scheme with Atletico Nacional, in 2010, he appeared in 36 games for Peruís Leun de Hunuco, scoring 22 goals. He then went on loan to Chile’s Everton de Via del Mar, where he scored six goals in 13 games, before returning to Peru to play for Universidad San Martin de Porres until the club folded earlier this month.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic MLS Career: 73 games; FC/gm: 24.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 23; pens: 21
INJURY REPORT: FC DALLAS - OUT: MF David Ferreira (R ankle); FW Scott Sealy (R knee); QUESTIONABLE: MF Fabian Castillo (L knee) PORTLAND TIMBERS -- OUT: DF Futty Danso (L foot fracture); DF David Horst (R hip surgery); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); DF Steve Purdy (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Franck Songo'o (R knee sprain); MF Sal Zizzo (L ACL surgery); PROBABLE: DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste (illness) FW Jorge Perlaza (L Achilles tendinitis)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): FC Dallas 1 win, 6 goals … Timbers 1 win, 3 goals … Ties 0
AT DALLAS (1 meeting): FC Dallas 1 win, 4 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
RETURN MATCHES: 7/21: FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers, 8 p.m. CT; 8/5: Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas, 4 p.m. PT (NBC SN)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/17: POR 3, DAL 2 (Jewsbury 13; Cooper 35; Wallace 55, Ferreira 83; Shea 86)
6/25: DAL 4, POR 0 (Loyd 34, John 39, Shea 58, Jackson 85)
- The teams split their two meetings in Portland’s inaugural season, with nine goals scored in the two games. FC Dallas claimed a 4-0 win in Frisco on June 25.
- Coaches record: Schellas Hyndman vs. POR: P2 W1 L1 D0 … John Spencer vs. DAL: P2 W1 L1 D0