The first round of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs is here and FC Dallas will hit the road to take on Portland Timbers at the Providence Park on Sunday. Portland Timbers have the home advantage after clinching the third spot on the MLS Western Conference table.
FC Dallas finished at sixth on the Western Conference table despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Minnesota United in the final game of the MLS regular season.
Though both are MLS Western Conference sides, owing to the more localized scheduling of the league because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this will be the first time that these two sides square off against each other this season.
Portland Timbers were primed to finish on top of the MLS Western Conference standings going into the final week of the regular season. However, a 0-1 loss to Colorado Rapids and a 1-1 draw against LAFC in the final match saw them drop two places to finish at third.
The Timbers are looking for their second title of the season after having won the MLS is Back tournament in convincing fashion. While Portland Timbers have the second highest goal tally in the regular season after LAFC, they also have the worst home defensive record among teams hosting the first round of the playoffs, conceding 18 goals at Providence Park this season.
Meanwhile, FC Dallas' defense has been their strength and they have the best defensive record away from home among the teams that are traveling for the first round of the MLS playoffs this season.
Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas Head-to-Head
Portland Timbers and FC Dallas have clashed a total of 26 times till date. Portland Timbers have the upperhand, winning 10 of those games. FC Dallas are not far behind with eight wins. Eight matches have ended in draws.
The last time these two sides met was in July last year and Portland Timbers registered a 1-0 win over FC Dallas.
Portland Timbers form guide: D-W-W-L-D
FC Dallas form guide: D-W-W-W-L
Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas Team News
For Portland Timbers, Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda are both out for the season after tearing their right and left ACLs respectively. Julio Cascante will also miss out by virtue of an ankle injury.
Injuries: Julio Cascante, Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda
Paxton Pomykal is the only absentee for FC Dallas as he continues to be sidelined due to a hip issue.
Injuries: Paxton Pomykal
Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas Predicted Lineups
Portland Timbers (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark; Jorge Vilafana, Larris Mabiala, Dario Zuparic, Chris Duvall; Eryk Williamson, Diego Chara; Yimmy Chara, Diego Valeri, Marvin Loria; Felipe Mora
FC Dallas Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): J. Maurer, Hollingshead, Hedges, Bressan, Bryan Reynolds; Ricaurte, Thiago Dos Santos; Ricardo Pepi, Ferreira, Barrios; Franco Jara
Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas Prediction
Though there are enough reasons for FC Dallas to feel optimistic about this one, Portland Timbers have been the better team over the course of the season and they definitely look like they can make the home advantage count.
Prediction: Portland Timbers 2-0 FC Dallas