Updated: May 1
Image: FC Dallas
(This update includes notes on the previous meeting between Dallas and Portland and some rain delay memories)
Tomorrow FC Dallas will face playoff rival, the Portland Timbers. Last time they met was in the first round of the 2020 Playoffs. For the last few years, Dallas has always been knocked out of the playoffs by either Portland or Seattle. Fans were disappointed to see Portland named as their first opponent, everyone assumed that Portland would advance and they almost did. An 82nd goal by Villafana looked to seal their win, until homegrown kid managed to pull one back for Dallas in extra time. Thanks to Pepi's late goal, Dallas was able to continue the game for an additional 30 mins, holding Portland off until the game finally went to penalties. Full recap can be found here: (https://www.fcdallas.com/post/2020/11/23/fc-dallas-pulls-upset-win-over-portland-timbers-providence-park)
In their third game of the season, Dallas are still searching for that first win, unfortunately, it appears that they'll have to do it without starters Matt Hedges and Jimmy Maurer. Hedges reportedly suffered an ankle sprain in the home opener against Colorado Rapids and has had limited mobility since then. Jimmy Maurer left their game against the San Jose Earthquakes early after substaining a shoulder injury.
The injury to Maurer will give young Brazilian goalkeeper Phelipe a chance at his first start of the season. He finished the game against the Earthquakes, where he performed very well. In 29 minutes, he recorded one save and did not allow San Jose to add a 4th goal to their tally. (https://www.fcdallas.com/players/phelipe-megiolaro)
FC Dallas has officially announced the injury list. Maurer is out, along with Ferreira who won't be available for a few more weeks, Hedges is listed as questionable. (https://www.fcdallas.com/post/2021/04/30/injury-report-pres-texas-health-sports-medicine-fc-dallas-vs-portland-timbers-5121) It's still unlikely to see Hedges in the starting eleven but he could end up on the bench.
Thanks to independent soccer journalist Buzz Carrick covering FC Dallas practice, it's easier to predict the Dallas lineup. Going off the information in the latest episode of 3rd Degree the Podcast, the lineup will most likely look like this:
Image: Melanie Isbell via Lineup 11
After failing to get a win in the first two games and the injury to Hedges, Dallas should look to return to their more natural 4-3-3. It's a toss up on who will play as the 6, Tessman or Acosta, but the extra midfielder in the lineup should solve the disconnect the Dallas attack has faced. In addition to a formation change and the inclusion of three midfielders, another big change in the lineup is the first start of Eddie Munjoma.
Hollingshead, Twumasi, and Munjoma are the current right-backs on the roster. Johnny Nelson, however, is more defensive minded which, why not bad, isn't the type of fullback that Dallas typically uses. Hollingshead is also a natural left-back, with Dallas not having a win yet, switching Hollingshead back to the left could aid Freddy Vargas in creating chances.
As Munjoma played a few minutes in the last match, he is more likely to start over Twumasi, who has yet to make his appearance this season.
More notes on FC Dallas' practice can found in 3rd Degree the Podcast episode 108. (https://3rddegree.net/3rd-degree-the-podcast-108-now-available)
Image: Melanie Isbell
Unfortunately for those attending the game, it is forecasted to rain. For the last few years, Dallas has had at least one home game that ends up delayed due to lightning. Despite the shorten schedule in 2020, Dallas still managed to get one rain delayed rain, their second match against Nashville.
One of the most memorable games in stormy weather was played 10 years ago, 10 years to this day exact. Dallas faced an LA Galaxy side that featured Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and Omar Gonzalez. The game was level and entering the final minutes. A lightning delay forced both teams into the locker room for over an hour. Few fans stayed to watch the consculsion, believing that the game would get outright canceled or would end at 1-1, with only a few minutes remaining, a comeback seemed unlikely.
In an last minute effort, Brek Shea sprinted towards Donovan Rickets and played the ball over. No one expected it to hit the right upper corner, but it did. Only two minutes remained and Brek Shea had scored the game winner for Dallas. It's unknown if he meant to score or was trying to cross it, but it still counted all the same.
A full recap of FCD vs LAG 2011, including lineups, can be found here: (https://www.fcdallas.com/post/2011/05/02/match-recap-fc-dallas-2-la-galaxy-1)
Video: Major League Soccer via YouTube
2-1, FC Dallas. Much like that game 10 years ago, Dallas will score first, a goal from Freddy Vargas who, with Ryan Hollingshead's help, is finally able to get his first goal for the club. Portland will score in the run of play. A lightning delay and downpour forces both teams to the locker room. Before returning to the pitch, Luchi subs out Jara for Pepi. Pepi scores his second of the year, via poacher's goal.
By Melanie G. Isbell