FC Dallas, Portland enter match following differing results
FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers head into Saturday afternoon's match at Toyota Stadium in the north Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, on the heels of two completely different outcomes, one great and one dismal.
It would be unwise to think that the match will continue the trend that saw FC Dallas roll past a battered and, ultimately, short-handed Seattle team 3-0 on March 17, and the Timbers to play as poorly as they did in a 4-0 loss to New York Red Bulls on March 10.
It's early in the year but Portland knows it would be hard to stomach another lopsided loss. So the Timbers went back to work in the open date last week and adopted a new mentality that they hope will produce immediate dividends.
"There has definitely been a change in the mentality," Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. "Everybody has taken responsibility -- all of us, me first -- for what happened in New York. Collectively, we have understood that, and the guys are working very hard to make sure that we get to the point that we want."
Saturday's match is the third of five straight road contests to open the season for Portland.
"It's been good for us to have this break, this week, to put things in order and to prepare the best possible way against Dallas, which is going to be a tough match," Savarese said. "Another road game, but the guys are prepared to be able to go there and have a good match."
There's been plenty of time for the Timbers to reflect on what's gone wrong early on -- they are 0-2 and have been outscored 6-1 in the two matches -- and to get key players back and healthy.
"We have to forget quickly, because the next game does not reflect last," Timbers' midfielder/defender Lawrence Olum said. "We can't take the final scoreline (against New York) as being what we wanted, but we had some good moments that, if we can focus more on those and work a bit better on the lapses we had in the game, we'll be fine for Dallas."
FC Dallas (1-0-1) showed no mercy in a three-goal beatdown of Seattle in its second of four consecutive games at Toyota Stadium to open the season. FC Dallas came roaring back from a bye week and was the beneficiary Roland Lamah's two goals and an assist on a goal by Max Urruti in the victory.
"I felt good, and I prepared well because I knew I had to play good in this game," Lamah said about his brace in the win versus Seattle. "We started well, we played well against a good team and we got the win. We just want to keep going and we have to be ready because we know Portland is a strong team."
FC Dallas has lost just one of its past 13 home matches in MLS play (six wins and six draws), averaging 2.2 goals per game. It's won six of the 10 matches played against the Timbers in Frisco, with three others, including the most recent such match last April, ending in a draw.
FCD coach Oscar Pareja said he thinks it's too early to judge either his team or Portland from the small set of results so far this season.
"To judge teams so early in the year is a bit unfair," Pareja said. "The first thing we have to do is try to be consistent and build on the performance we had against Seattle. We will do all we can to get the three points against Portland."
Updated March 22, 2018