MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, June 15, 2013
(All times Eastern)
FC Dallas (8-2-4) at Portland (5-1-8), 5 p.m.
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - The Portland Timbers will put their impressive
unbeaten run to the test on Saturday when the club welcomes first-place FC
Dallas to Jeld-Wen Field.
Portland is without a loss in its last 12 league matches after playing to a
2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire last weekend, but the result felt a bit more
like a loss given the fact that the Timbers held a two-goal lead and only
managed to come away from Toyota Park with a point.
However, in typical fashion, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter opted to focus on
the positives, which includes Portland's distinction of being the only
remaining club in MLS this season to boast an unbeaten road record (2-0-6).
"It's a bit of a bitter pill but I think we will learn from it, we will be
better from it," said the Timbers boss. "We didn't lose the game. We still got
a point; we're still unbeaten on the road. In 14 games, there's only been one
team that's beaten us. So I think it's a great thing. We are still getting
points but we're a little bit ticked off leaving this game feeling like we
left two points slip away."
Portland has had to deal with multiple absences at key positions in recent
weeks, meaning that Ben Zemanski made his first start for the club since March
30. He bagged Portland's second of the match at Chicago, underlining the
club's impressive depth.
"Whenever you have guys out of the lineup on international duties or injuries
or anything like that you need other guys to step up and help the team
continue to get points and continue this good run of games," Zemanski said.
"I'm looking forward to stepping up for the team and doing my part to help
While the Timbers will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run to 13 games, FC
Dallas will hope to squash that run in a bid to remain atop the overall MLS
Dallas enters the weekend with an MLS-high 28 points, one point better than
Real Salt Lake and five points better than Portland. With RSL enjoying a
weekend off, Saturday's clash at Portland offers FCD a golden opportunity to
gain further separation.
Blas Perez would be the ideal man to help Dallas achieve that feat, but the
Panamanian striker, who netted a brace in the club's 2-2 draw with the
Colorado Rapids last time out, is away on international duty.
His absence places more of a burden on the rest of the team to produce goals.
Perez leads the team with five goals on the season; the rest of the club's
tallies have come from nine different sources.
Jackson and Kenny Cooper are FC Dallas' most prolific scorers after Perez with
three goals apiece, but Cooper could miss the Portland tilt as he recovers
from a concussion sustained against the San Jose Earthquakes on May 25.
"We just wanted to be a little bit safe and didn't take him to Colorado,"
Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said. "We'll get him training and bring him
Saturday's clash at Jeld-Wen also will serve as a prelude to the U.S. Open Cup
quarterfinals on June 26 when the two sides will meet at FC Dallas Stadium.
06/14 13:13:11 ET