As the clock ticks down to seeing FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers take the pitch at Toyota Stadium in leg two of the Western Conference Finals, there are a lot of different thoughts flying around. Here are three of them.
- This is going to be wet and wild.
While 3-1 looks daunting on paper, in all reality it is not far-fetched at all to expect Dallas to win the series. A 2-0 win does the trick, something Dallas has done plenty of times this season. The first 20 minutes of this match seem like they are going to be absolute chaos, as Dallas will look to strike early using their overlap play. Dallas looked most dangerous in leg one using their overlap play, and that is eventually what led to their only goal. With a rain soaked pitch that sat under the crying skies of Texas for three days, but honestly does not look all that bad, this could especially get wild.
- The first goal in the match wins the series.
It seems as if everyone is a firm believer in this notion, especially in the case of the Timbers. Should Portland score first, it almost definitely spells doom for FC Dallas. That would then force Dallas to score three goals while not allowing another PTFC goal. Should Dallas go on and score the first goal that will put the Timbers on the back-foot, forcing them to play keep away. Keep away eventually leads to a turnover, and Dallas is the most dangerous on the counter-attack. Dallas must make the most of those keep away turnovers.
- Get Daiz the ball, then play the overlap.
FC Dallas must use the overlap effectively should they want to put the ball in the back of the Timbers’ net. While Dallas is outstanding at home, posting a MLS best 13-2-2 record at home, Portland has got the job done on the road as of late, winning five of their last six away from Providence Park. Je-Vaughn Watson and Ryan Hollingshead will be huge on the outside to free up Michael Barrios and Fabian Castillo. It would be nice to see a repeat of FC Dallas’ away goal which was a delicious initial ball from Mauro Diaz to Watson then to David Teixiera who finished perfectly. Get Diaz the ball, and let him spread it wide, that is how Dallas will create gaps in the Portland defense. Should Portland not get on the scoresheet first, Dallas are very likely to be headed to their first MLS Cup since 2010.