FC Dallas-Timbers Preview


FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers each view MLS and U.S. Open Cup contests as equally important, which is a good thing considering the clubs are scheduled to meet in each competition within the next two weeks.

League-best Dallas looks to extend its MLS unbeaten streak against Portland to six while ending the Timbers' 12-game league run without a loss Saturday in the Pacific Northwest.

Dallas (8-2-4) has won only twice over its last six MLS games, though it leads the league with 28 points after a 2-all draw with Colorado on June 1 as Blas Perez scored both goals.

Despite the short turnaround before Saturday's match, coach Schellas Hyndman pushed his squad in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup contest with Houston, getting two goals from Kenny Cooper in a 3-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals.

"We went into this competition wanting to win. I'm asking a lot from the guys," Hyndman said. "It will affect our next performance, but at the same time this is a very important championship trophy for us."

Cooper, who suffered a concussion May 25 in a win over San Jose and sat out Dallas' match with Colorado, believes the team will be ready Saturday.

"It's great to get a win. It's great to advance. Hopefully we can continue in this form as we head to Portland," Cooper said.

Dallas hasn't lost to Portland since a 3-2 road defeat in the first-ever meeting April 17, 2011, going 2-0-3 since while outscoring the Timbers 12-3. Darlington Nagbe scored in the 70th minute for Portland and Cooper tied it on a penalty kick in the 77th minute in a 1-all draw May 8.

That matchup was part of an extended unbeaten streak for the Timbers (5-1-8), who are 5-0-7 - including 3-0-1 at home - since falling 2-1 to Montreal on March 9.

Diego Valeri scored his second goal in three league games, and Ben Zemanski netted the other in Portland's 2-all draw with Chicago last Saturday. Frederic Piquionne assisted on both goals in just his third start of the season.

"In 14 games, there's only been one team that's beaten us," coach Caleb Porter said. "So I think it's a great thing. We are still getting points."

Portland is coming off a 2-0 win over Tampa Bay in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday to earn a match with Dallas in the quarterfinals June 26, though Porter used the match to give non-regulars some extra playing time.

"We wanted to manage this game and the Saturday game in a way where we'd get the result today, but also where we'd have a fresh group for Saturday," Porter said. "We accomplished exactly what we wanted to."

Portland has scored nine times over its last four MLS games and is tied with Real Salt Lake for the most goals in the league with 24. Its five wins, though, are the fewest of any club in the top five in either conference.