Two MLS Western Conference powerhouses will be in action on Saturday as FC Dallas take on Portland Timbers.
FC Dallas have got off to an underwhelming start to the new season and are winless in their first two fixtures of the new campaign. After playing out a goalless draw against Colorado Rapids in their season opener, Dallas fell to a 3-1 defeat against San Jose Earthquakes.
FC Dallas finished sixth in the Western Conference standings last season while Portland Timbers finished third. Portland Timbers also won the MLS is Back tournament last year and are in the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
They produced an impressive performance in a 1-1 draw in the opening leg of the quarter-final tie against Club America, with Felipe Mora converting from the spot in the seventh minute of stoppage time to put the Timbers right back in the tie.
The Timbers lost their season opener against Vancouver Whitecaps but bounced back strongly against the formidable Houston Dynamos, winning the game 2-1 thanks to goals from Dairon Asprilla and Cristhian Paredes.
Portland Timbers had to dig deep to hold out against Club America in midweek and as such, fatigue could come into play as they travel to take on a well-rested Dallas side.
Portland Timbers' head coach Giovanni Savarese has his work cut out for him as he tries to keep his players in shape as they navigate a congested fixture list. The Timbers will feel like they have a point to prove here after finishing at 8th in the post-season last time out.
FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers Head-to-Head
FC Dallas and Portland Timbers have been pretty well-matched in their head-to-head battles till date. The teams have locked horns 27 times. Portland Timbers have the slightest advantage, winning 10 of those games while FC Dallas have won nine.
Eight matches have ended as draws. The last time the two sides met was in the MLS Playoffs and FC Dallas ran out winners via a penalty shootout after the game ended 1-1.
FC Dallas form guide: W-W-W-D-L
Portland Timbers form guide: D-W-L-W-D
FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers Team News
Jesus Ferreira has been ruled out for three to five weeks with a shoulder injury. Jimmy Maurer sprained his shoulder in the game against San Jose Earthquakes and is sidelined as well, though he is expected to return to training shortly.
Injuries: Jesus Ferreira, Jimmy Maurer
The visitors continue to be without some of their key players. Steve Clark, Jeremy Ebobisse, Aljaz Ivacic, Sebastian Blanco, Ismaila Jome and Jaroslaw Niezgoda. Sebastian Blanco and Niezgoda are still recovering from the ACL injuries they suffered in 2020. The former is reportedly closing in on a return.
Ismaila Jome suffered a season-ending injury to his Achilles tendon in training on Monday after the loss to Vancouver Whitecaps in the Timbers' season opener.
Injuries: Steve Clark, Jeremy Ebobisse, Aljaz Ivacic, Sebastian Blanco, Ismaila Jome, Jaroslaw Niezgoda
FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers Predicted Lineups
Portland Timbers Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Jeff Attinella; Claudio Bravo, Dario Zuparic, Larrys Mabiala, Jose Van Rankin; Eryk Williamson, Diego Chara; Diego Valeri, Dairon Asprilla, Yimmi Chara; Felipe Mora
FC Dallas Predicted XI (3-4-3): Phelipe Megiolaro; Jose Martinez, Bressan, Matt Hedges; Bryan Acosta, Ryan Hollingshead, Andres Ricuarte, Tanner Tessman; Jader Obrian, Freddy Vargas, Franco Jara
FC Dallas vs Portland Timbers Prediction
Portland Timbers must be exhausted after their game against Club America and as such, it is a great opportunity for FC Dallas to get back to winning ways.
Prediction: FC Dallas 1-0 Portland Timbers