Dallas travels to Portland in rematch of Western Conference Final

Before the season started, this looked liked a compelling game. After week one, it looked like a really good game. However after a mysterious injury and a reckless tackle, it has lost some luster. Portland will be without Darlington Nagbe and FC Dallas will be without Mauro Diaz. Even before the game on Saturday with San Jose, it was safe to say Diaz was not going to play because Portland plays on turf . The Nagbe situation is unfortunate, and you hate to see it happen no matter who it is.

The Nagbe situation really opens a window for Dallas though. Portland will not be as explosive and it gives them a chance to walk out of Portland with a draw. Yes, a draw for three straight is not ideal, but before the season everybody would take a draw at Portland. We have been big for a year now that the team needs to average a point on the road in order to have a great season especially if you get draws against teams on the road like Portland, Kansas City, and Los Angeles.

Projected lineup

GK: Jesse Gonzalez

Would I be surprised if I was wrong? Not at all, but I would like to see Jesse in this game. He has experience in Portland and this might be a good game to ease him back into the lineup with.

Left back: Maynor Figueroa

Figueroa brings veteran leadership to the back line and he also can be dangerous from long distance.

Center Back: Walker Zimmerman 

I would not be shocked if there was a change in the middle tonight. I could see Zach Loyd coming in tonight for Walker. The central back position has struggled the last few games. Maybe it is time for a change tonight.

Center Back: Matt Hedges

No shock here. Hedges will wear the armband once again for Dallas.

Right Back: Ryan Hollingshead

I thought having Zach Loyd in this position starting each game would be huge for this team. I thought wrong as Ryan Hollingshead seems to get better each game for the team. He was able to draw a penalty last week and might be one of the best in the league right now at this position. Before you go out and proclaim Hollingshead a hero yet. Moises Hernandez did the exact same last year, and then he fell into bad form, a form he still has not recovered from.

Left Midfielder: Fabian Castillo

Let it be known he misses Mauro Diaz. Really, really, really bad.

Central Midfielder: Carlos Gruezo

He seems to be due a yellow card each game, but he has shown to be a force when at the central defensive midfield position. At the central midfield position, he has been OK.

Central Midfielder: Kellyn Acosta

Same can be said for Acosta that can be said for Carlos. Acosta a much better fit for the central defensive midfielder position. His game is evolving though and he is getting better with each game.

Right Midfielder: Michael Barrios

Same as Fabian, he really misses Mauro.

Left Striker: Tesho Akindele 

Tesho has goals in two straight. I don’t care if one was a penalty and the other was just right place at right time, they still count and build confidence.

Right Striker: Maximillano Urruti 

Dallas has an attacker who is used to turf. Maybe Max is able to make his former team pay tonight.

Prediction:

Like I said above, a draw on the road is fine, a win is great and would be the biggest three points of the season by a mile (don’t care what form Portland is in, it is still tough to win in Portland). However, I just don’t see a Dallas offense that has a trouble creating offense without Diaz. Luckily for Dallas, I don’t think Seattle will create a lot of offense tonight either.

FC Dallas and Seattle tie 0-0

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