|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Dallas, Portland set for crucial West clash
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers are neck-and-neck in the Western Conference, which makes their meeting at Providence Park on Wednesday all the more important.
Dallas started the season very strong but has faded of late, winning just one league match since April 19.
The lone win came at the weekend as the club managed to edge Colorado in a 3-2 victory on home soil, a result that gives head coach Oscar Pareja a bit of hope ahead of the World Cup break.
"It was a really long stretch and the struggle, the adversity, the red cards; all those things have been frustrating," Pareja said. "Since they have not stopped working, the game rewarded them with three points before the break and gives us the momentum to go to Portland and fight.
"We're trying to get people healthy to try to fight the second half of the season with a complete roster. That would be great."
Fabian Castillo continued to contribute at the weekend, scoring his fourth goal of the season to give him two goals and an assist over his last five games.
"Fabian creates a lot of options," Pareja said. "We have to be patient with a player that is young, but has a lot of potential. There was an improvement in his finishing; he created the play, he took the people on and the finishing was fantastic."
Portland will be tasked with containing Castillo, which could prove to be difficult given that the club has conceded 25 goals on the season, the second- highest total in the Western Conference.
But the Timbers are coming off of an impressive 3-1 victory at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, their third win of their last four outings.
It was Portland's third consecutive road win, but now Caleb Porter's men must turn their attention toward improving upon their 1-1-6 record on home soil this term.
"I'm just happy that we got three points," Porter said after the defeat of RSL. "We haven't gotten results at home like we needed to, but we've now gotten three victories in a row on the road and that says a lot about this group. And it shows that even though we're dropping a few points at home that we can make up for it. We have a lot of games left, home and away, and we need to do better at home starting with Dallas on Wednesday."
Portland and Dallas have met once already this season with Pareja's men collecting a 2-1 victory over the Timbers at Toyota Stadium on March 29. Following Wednesday's affair, they will meet once more this season, squaring off at Dallas on Oct. 25.
06/10 15:33:09 ET
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