Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: Toyota Stadium – Wednesday, May 11 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)
Match Odds: FC Dallas 10/11 – Draw 13/5 – Portland Timbers 3/1
Dallas come into the game in a barren run of form, having lost three matches on the bounce. The loss of their captain Matt Hedges has been highlighted as one of the many issues currently affecting the Texan side but results need to start improving quickly, regardless.
Oscar Pareja’s side will want to avoid dropping any more points as they are still a side capable of winning the Supporters’ Shield. However, they are now three points adrift of Colorado, who have played a game less in the West. Another defeat on Wednesday could see that difference increase and Dallas will be desperate to bounce back in front of their own fans.
Portland Timbers defied all odds to win the MLS Cup last term but their form this season is the polar opposite to their stellar postseason display of 2015.
It is without question that the Western Conference is far more competitive than the East but you would still expect Portland to challenge for a playoff place, despite sitting in ninth as it stands.
To highlight the differing levels of competitiveness, Portland’s 12 points would see them sit in fifth place if they played in the East.
That being said, Portland have had injuries to key players throughout the season so far as Liam Ridgewell and Darlington Nagbe have both spent time on the sidelines. Portland have the tools to go far this season and potentially win MLS Cup again, so long as they can keep their key players consistently on the field.
This will be the second meeting between these two clubs this season. Dallas ran out 3-1 winners in Portland a month ago and are looking for a third-straight regular season win against their Western rivals.
FC Dallas are missing midfielder Alex Zendejas and Matt Hedges through injury. Zach Lloyd and Walker Zimmerman are expected to start in defence. Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez left Saturday’s game in Toronto with an injury after all three subs had been used, with Ryan Hollingshead finishing the match in goal. Chris Seitz will expect to start if Gonzalez remains out. Fabian Castillo will return to the starting lineup after coming off the bench on Saturday.
Portland Timbers are without defenders Andy Thoma and Alvas Powell through injury. Goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey has torn a ligament in a finger so Jake Gleeson will take the gloves once again. Jack McInerney will be competing with Darren Mattocks for a start in attack.
FC Dallas’ last five: W/W/L/L/L
Portland Timbers’ last five: L/W/D/W/L
Key Stat: FC Dallas are undefeated in their last 12 home matches in MLS.
Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The winger has been quiet as of recently and with Dallas looking to end a run of three-straight losses, Castillo will need to be influential from the outset. He has the ability to change a game in a flash and Dallas need him to step up as they look to bounce back.
FC Dallas 1-1 Portland Timbers – FC Dallas are unbeaten at home this season and Portland are inconsistent, so logic would suggest Dallas will win. However, with three losses on the bounce, we expect this to be a tough test for Dallas and the points could well be shared come the end of Wednesday’s contest.