Dallas travel to Portland one point from a playoff position.
Portland Timbers host FC Dallas at the Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday, knowing that just two points separate the teams in the battle for playoff positions. FC Dallas currently sit seventh in the Western Conference after they broke their long goalless run with a 3-3 draw against LA Galaxy, cancelling out a Landon Donovan hat-trick with a late goal from Blas Perez.
The Timbers will be looking to halt what has been an alarming slump in form. At the end of June, they were tied atop the Western Conference standings but now find themselves in fourth place, six points behind front-running Real Salt Lake.
However, a weekend off means their players should be well rested, their last game being a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC, and coach Caleb Porter had given his players instructions over their weekend off not to touch a football.
“We were coming off an emotional game against Salt Lake, so it was a perfect time to get a few days away, recharge the batteries and come back today to training and get back after it, get ready for the weekend,” Timbers defender Michael Harrington said on Tuesday.
“There’s 12 games left, and I think psychologically it’s very easy to get wrapped up in, ‘Ah, the playoffs are coming up soon’ and all the pressure of that,” Harrington said. “I think it’s important to go one game at a time, that’s what we did early in the season and that produced good results for us.”
REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Colin Arblaster; 4th: Ricardo Salazar
MLS Career: 27 games; FC/gm: 20.6; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 4; pens: 7
DISABLED LIST: DAL: Peter Luccin; Ugo Ihemelu (season-ending injury)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: POR: Pa Modou Kah, Diego Chara … DAL: Je-Vaughn Watson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: POR: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski … DAL: Blas Perez, George John, David Ferreira
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 7 goals … FC Dallas 2 wins, 14 goals … Ties 3
AT PORTLAND (3 meetings): Timbers 2 wins, 5 goals … FC Dallas 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 1