KeyBank Scouting Report Matchday Preview: FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers | Mar. 29, 2014

Timbers battle FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Sat. at 5:30 p.m. PT; Watch on ROOT Sports

Matchday Preview, Timbers @ FCD, 3.29.14

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. FC DALLAS
TOYOTA STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
March 29, 2014 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #30)
5:30 p.m. PT (ROOT SPORTS)

Western Conference leaders FC Dallas put their undefeated mark on the line when they entertain the Portland Timbers in a key divisional matchup on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas returned home last weekend and won for the second time in three starts, a 3-1 defeat of Chivas USA. The Timbers are still looking for their first win of 2014, falling for the first time last weekend in a 2-0 defeat at the Colorado Rapids.

PORTLAND TIMBERS

The Portland Timbers suffered their first loss of the2014 season, conceding two late penalty kicks on their way to a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Timbers are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 2 points from 3 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids took the lead midway through the second half. A ball played over the top ball from Dillon Powers drew Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts off his line, and after he caught Deshorn Brown with his tackle in the area, he was shown a red card. Vicente Sanchez coolly converted for his second penalty-kick goal in the 73rd minute.
     
  • Barely a minute later, substitute goalkeeper Andrew Weber clipped Sanchez in the area as he raced onto another Powers feed, and referee Mark Geiger again pointed to the spot. Deshorn Brown took the resulting penalty kick and saw it saved by Weber, but Brown was able to bang in the rebound.
     
  • Rapids midfielder Jose Mari saw a second yellow in the 90th minute, evening the sides at 10 men apiece, but Portland was unable to work its way back into the match.
     
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made two changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at Providence Park. Pa Modou Kah came back into the side for Norberto Paparatto, and Steve Zakuani started in place of Maximiliano Urruti.
     
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts (ejected 71) - Jack Jewsbury (Alvas Powell 79), Pa Modou Kah, Futty Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara - Will Johnson, Diego Valeri - Darlington Nagbe, Gaston Fernandez, Steve Zakuani (Maximiliano Urruti 65). 

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers lost for the first time this season after back-to-back draws to open the campaign. A year ago, they recorded three draws and a loss in their first four games – then won twice in a row and did not lose again until after the start of June.
     
  • “It comes down to points and winning and we didn’t. We’re not making excuses. This locker room, myself, we don’t makes excuses. There were some things certainly that were against us today and it was tough, there were a few things that we question, but in the end we’re not going to make excuses,” said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. “We’re going to get back to work, we’re not going to dwell too long, and will move on quickly. This is one where you want to have a pretty short-term memory.”
     
  • After Donovan Ricketts was sent off, the first two shots Andrew Weber faced after coming on as a substitute goalkeeper were both penalty kicks. He saved the second – they were the first two spot kicks he’d faced in his MLS career – but Colorado’s Deshorn Brown scored on the rebound.
     
  • Of the Timbers four goals allowed this season, three have come after penalty kicks.
     
  • "It’s a tight game, it’s an even game, we’re not giving up very many chances, we look like we’re going to get a goal somewhere at some point. Next thing you know it’s a PK and we’re down a goal and down a man,” said Porter. “It makes it very difficult in that situation. That was certainly the play and moment and call that changed the game. I thought our guys deserved better, and it’s unfortunate.”
     
  • The Timbers were also shut out at the attacking end for the first time this season, now with two goals from their three games on the year. 
  • “You can see in the performance it’s there,” Porter said. “We’re not certainly where we need to be, nor is any team at this point. It’s not where you start but where you end, how you finish. ... It’s not like we’re in games wondering how we’re going to win,” he said. “We’re at the end of the games wondering how we lost.”
     
  • Steve Zakuani made his first start for the Timbers since coming to the club from Seattle Sounders FC in the offseason.
     
  • On Wednesday, Ricketts had a second game added to his suspension in a ruling by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. 

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas continued their undefeated start to the campaign, getting three late goals on their way to a 3-1 win against Chivas USA on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas sit atop the Western Conference with 7 points from 3 games.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 71st minute. From a free kick, Mauro Diaz sent in a looping ball that found defensive midfielder Hendry Thomas in the box. He nodded the ball down for an onrushing Fabian Castillo, who put the ball first-time into the back of the net.
     
  • The lead was 2-0 in the 79th minute. From just inside the halfway line, Diaz and found Je-Vaughn Watson on the far side. The perfectly weighted ball skipped off a defender and allowed Watson to dribble around an exposed Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy before slotting home from a harsh angle.
     
  • Two minutes later, Chivas USA pulled a goal back when substitute Kris Tyrpak took a pass from Adolfo Bautista on the left side of the box and sent in a low cross for Erick Torres to turn home from close range.
     
  • But just five minutes later, FCD restored their margin when substitute Michel drove a free kick through the wall from outside the area on the right, the ball taking a deflection on its way past an outstretched Kennedy.
     
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Chris Seitz - Kellyn Acosta, Matt Hedges, Stephen Keel, Jair Benitez - Hendry Thomas (ejected 94+), Adam Moffat (Andrew Jacobson 11 / David Texeira 66) - Je-Vaughn Watson, Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo - Blas Perez (Michel 76).
     
  • FCD head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that got a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Hendry Thomas came back into the team for Andrew Jacobson. 

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas lead the league with seven goals scored through the opening three weeks of the season.
     
  • “I liked our game. I have to say that I’m very proud of this team – the way they executed the plan,” FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said. “It was very good, especially in the first half when I saw the first team creating many options; being in front of the goal four times is not easy in the game. ... They have been training a lot on finishing." 
  • Fabian Castillo scored his second goal of the season, opening the scoring in the win vs. Chivas USA. “Castillo is a player who needs to practice that, and he knows,” Pareja said. “It's time for him to show that he can create options and that he can also finish. Having Fabián in the mode of contributing to the team is crucial for us.”
     
  • Said Castillo: ‘I feel better, but it's more a matter of gaining confidence. The coaching staff is comfortable letting me attack. They work with me a lot in training and the coaches give me the confidence to be creative. It is very helpful to be able to play with confidence.”
     
  • Mauro Diaz was credited with his first assist of the season on the Castillo goal, and just missed on a second when a Chivas fullback was not able to completely knock away the pass to Je-Vaughn Watson which was finished for the second FCD goal.
     
  • “Mauro is the first one that I look at and he knows that and he’s carrying the pressure very well," Pareja said. "Fantastic ball to Watson and a couple more to Castillo. The penetration that Mauro is giving us is outstanding. Mauro is carrying the team now ... he’s doing very well.”
     
  • Michel scored directly from a free kick for a second consecutive season, capping the win vs. Chivas USA. Of FCD’s seven goals this season, five have come on deadball situations, four from free kicks.
     
  • “We will be pleased to score from set pieces in tight games when it seemed like you cannot seem to bring the ball back to the net,” said Pareja. “In the first half, especially, when we created five chances but couldn’t score, we kept depending on set pieces. I thought we all saw a team that deserved to win and that’s the bottom line.” 

REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): George Gansner; 4th: Ismail Elfath MLS Career: 18 games; FC/gm: 27.7; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 5; pens: 9

SUSPENDED: DAL: Hendry Thomas (through March 30) ... POR: Donovan Ricketts (through April 6) DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (8 meetings): FC Dallas 2 wins, 15 goals ... Timbers 3 wins, 9 goals ... Ties 3
AT DALLAS (4 meetings): FC Dallas 2 wins, 11 goals ... Timbers 0 wins, 2 goals ... Ties 2
RETURN MATCHES: 6/11: Portland Timbers vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. PT; 10/25: FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/8: DAL 1, POR 1 (Cooper 77 – Nagbe 70)
6/15: POR 1, DAL 0 (Nagbe 52)
8/17: POR 2, DAL 1 (R. Johnson 26; Nagbe 33 – Diaz 28)

  • The Timbers won the final two meetings between the teams a season ago, both in Portland, after the teams played to a 1-1 draw in the only encounter in Frisco.
     
  • The road team has never won in the series, in eight meetings all-time. The Timbers have come away with points on two of four trips to FC Dallas.
     
  • Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. POR: P6 W2 L3 T1 ... Caleb Porter vs. DAL: P3 W2 L0 T1