Date: Saturday, April 4, 2015
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Providence Park (Portland, Ore.) Forecast: Partly Cloudy, 58 degrees
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Marco Arruda Fourth Official: Tyler Ploeger
Local TV: ROOT SPORTS
Talent: Keith Bleyer (play-by-play), Ross Smith (analyst), Samantha Yarock (reporter)
English Radio: 750 The Game (KXTG 750AM, 102.9FM) Talent: Jake Zivin (play-by-play), Adin Brown (analyst)
Spanish Radio: La GranD (KGGD 93.5FM, 1150 AM)
Talent: Josue del Castillo (play-by-play), Ozkar Ramos (analyst)
Portland enters Saturday’s match unbeaten in its last six matches at Providence Park (3-0-3), dating back to the final four home contests of the 2014 regular season. During that stretch, the Timbers have outscored their opponents 11-5, posting four shutouts, while having surrendered just two goals in their last five home matches. Kicking off the 2015 season presented by Simple, Portland kept two dangerous strikers in Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio and LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane off the score sheet in consecutive draws (March 7-15) in the Rose City. FC Dallas enters Saturday’s match following a scoreless draw with Seattle Sounders FC on March 28 at Toyota Stadium, snapping the team’s three-game winning streak to start the season.
LAST MATCH RECAP
The Timbers dominated possession, logged an MLS season-high in passing accuracy and battled back from a halftime deficit with a goal in the 82nd minute to level the match, but a game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time lifted Vancouver Whitecaps FC to a 2-1 victory in front of 22,500 fans at BC Place on March 28. Portland maintained 66 percent of possession throughout the match and finished with an MLS season-best 88-percent passing accuracy – completing 448 of 510 total passes – but Cascadia-rival Vancouver took a first-half lead in the 15th minute. Forward Fanendo Adi leveled the score with a goal in the 82nd minute, but Whitecaps FC tallied the winning goal in stoppage time.
LAST TIME VS. FC DALLAS
The Timbers tallied their third consecutive clean sheet, receiving goals from midfielder Darlington Nagbe and forward Maximiliano Urruti in a 2-0 win against FC Dallas before 17,231 fans at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Oct. 25, 2014, to conclude the team’s 2014 MLS campaign. Nagbe netted a goal just before halftime and Urruti tallied a goal late in the second half to help Portland register its third straight clean sheet in regular-season play. The Timbers compiled a 304-minute shutout streak since an Oct. 4 win over San Jose and registered eight consecutive unbeaten games against Western Conference opponents (5-0-3) – earning a plus-12 goal differential during the stretch to end the season.
ALL-TIME SERIES NOTES
Saturday’s match against FC Dallas marks the 12th regular-season meeting all-time between the two clubs since 2011. It is the sixth regular-season match at Providence Park since the first-ever match between Portland and FC Dallas in 2011. The Timbers are unbeaten in five straight homes games (3-0-2) against FC Dallas, dating back to Portland’s second-ever home MLS match on April 17, 2011. Portland has scored multiple goals in each of its last two regular-season matches against FC Dallas, including a 2-0 win in the most recent meeting in Frisco, Texas, on Oct. 25, 2014. The Timbers have lost just one match in their last seven regular-season meetings with FC Dallas (3-1-3). Overall, the Timbers have compiled a 3-4-3 record against FC Dallas since 2011. Portland is 4-4-3 overall against FC Dallas in all competitions, including a 3-2 win on the road in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Toyota Stadium.
SCOUTING FC DALLAS
FC Dallas enters Saturday’s match with the best record in the Western Conference (3-0-1, 10pts) through the first four matches of the 2015 MLS season. Panamanian forward Blas Pérez has tallied three goals in four games this season, leading FC Dallas. Ryan Hollingshead, Fabian Castillo and Tesho Akindele have each scored one goal apiece as FC Dallas has tallied six goals to lead MLS. Castillo and midfielder/defender Michel have each registered two assists. Goalkeeper Chris Seitz has stopped 10 shots, compiling a 0.25 goals-against average, while helping head coach Oscar Pareja’s side win its first three matches of the season before a scoreless draw against Seattle Sounders FC on March 28. Last season, FC Dallas started the campaign with a 5-1-1 (16pts) record through the first seven games, before an eight-game winless streak from April 26-May 31. FC Dallas reached the MLS Cup Playoffs with the No. 4-seed in the Western Conference, falling to Seattle Sounders FC on away goals (1-1 on aggregate) in the Western Conference semifinals.
AFTER A LOSS
Since the 2013 season, Portland has averaged 2.14 goals per game in matches immediately following a loss with a record of 7-2-5. Since 2013, Portland has lost back-to-back matches during regular-season play just twice (Aug. 25-30, 2013; March 22-29, 2014). Also, in league play since 2013, the club has never lost a home game that immediately followed a loss with the record of 4-0-2 in those matches.
YARTEY ACQUIRED ON LOAN
On March 26, the Timbers acquired Ghanaian winger Ishmael Yartey on loan with a transfer option from Swiss Super League club FC Sion. Yartey, 25, has made 27 league appearances while on loan with Swiss Super League side FC Sion since the 2013-14 season. Prior to joining FC Sion on loan, Yartey made 15 appearances for French Ligue 1 side FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, with whom he signed for in 2012.
NAGBE AGAINST FC DALLAS
No Timbers player has had more success against FC Dallas than Darlington Nagbe. The dynamic midfielder/forward has scored five MLS goals against the Texas club, by far the most against any opponent in Nagbe’s five seasons with the Timbers. Nagbe’s success against FC Dallas extends beyond league play as he has also tallied a goal in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals against FC Dallas.
FIRST FOUR GAMES
Portland record of 0-1-3 (3pts) through the season’s first four games is identical to its 2013 record through the first four games, when the Timbers finished with the best record in the Western Conference and reached the Western Conference Finals against Real Salt Lake. In 2014, Portland started 0-2-2 (2pts) through its first four matches.
Nagbe will make his 132nd career MLS appearance for the Timbers should he see action on Saturday. The Timbers MLS career-leader in games played, Nagbe will tie USL Timbers midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (2002-06) for fifth place on the team’s all-time list across all eras.
With a shot on goal Saturday, Nagbe will reclaim the Timbers MLS career lead in shots on goal. He is currently tied with midfielder Diego Valeri, each with 68 career shots on goal for the Timbers in the MLS era.
Midfielder/forward Rodney Wallace is moving closer to the 10,000 minutes played milestone for his MLS career. The 26-year-old enters Saturday’s match with 9,767 minutes played, including 6,578 of those minutes with the Timbers since 2011. Wallace needs just 233 more minutes - or about two-and-a-half more games - to reach the milestone.
Defender Alvas Powell’s next appearance will mark the 25th of his Timbers MLS career. Should he earn a start on Saturday, it will be the 20-year-old’s 20th career start for the Timbers.
With a start on Saturday, defender Liam Ridgewell also will notch his 20th career MLS start for the Timbers, and his 20th consecutive start for the Timbers since joining the club on June 25, 2014.
Defender Jorge Villafaña will notch his 110th career MLS start on Saturday, should he be in the starting XI. Entering Saturday’s match, Villafaña has logged 109 regular-season MLS appearances since 2007, including 23 with Portland.
Following a season-high 531 pass attempts on March 28 against Vancouver, the Timbers rank among MLS league leaders in several passing categories including total successful passes (1,269) and passing accuracy (78 percent). Orlando City SC leads MLS with 1,573 successful passes and an accuracy mark of 83 percent.
PUSHING THROUGH THE FOULS
Portland ranks second overall in the league in dribbles completed (44), according to Opta. The stat tracks moments when an individual player successfully dribbles around an opponent while retaining possession. Defender Alvas Powell (13) and midfielder Darlington Nagbe (12) rank second and third, respectively, in the league behind FC Dallas’ Fabian Castillo (18). Highlighting the stat is the fact the the Timbers are the second-most fouled team in MLS (65). Only Orlando City has suffered more fouls more than the Timbers this season. Nagbe has been fouled 12 times (third-most in MLS), while forward Fanendo Adi ranks fourth in the league, suffering 11 fouls.
Showcasing the team’s ability to get forward during games, the Timbers rank first in MLS with 26 corner kicks, while also placing second among all teams with 18 shots on goal. Portland also ranks among league leaders in total shots (48), just six shots shy of the league lead.
FULL MOON MAGIC
Extending back to the Timbers second-division era, Portland is unbeaten in nine straight home games played in conjunction with a full moon (6-0-3). In those matches, the Timbers have outscored opponents by a 16-to-6 margin. The streak began on June 30, 2007, when defender Lawrence Olum scored the stoppage-time winner in a 1-0 victory over Miami FC of the USL.