By Jeremy Villanueva
It’s not a rivalry like the Texas Derby, but when it comes to FC Dallas and Portland, there’s definitely still some Taylor Swift “Bad Blood” between the two clubs.
For the most part, the series that began in 2011 has been pretty even with the Timbers leading the all-time series at 5-3-4. Portland took the first meeting between the two teams this season in 3-1 fashion at Providence Park on April 4; a match notably remembered for the infamous “TissueGate.” The win was Portland’s first of the season, and FCD’s first loss.
The two clubs went 1-1-1 in last year’s three meetings. FC Dallas took the first match 2-1 on March 29, 2014 with a last-minute goal from Mauro Diaz before drawing 2-2 on June 11 in a match that saw controversial red cards and a hotly-debated last-second equalizer from the Timbers. They ended that season in a 2-0 loss at home; the only win Portland has in Frisco (minus a 3-2 victory in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open quarterfinal dual on June 26, 2013) and a win that created some nervy moments for FC Dallas who was forced to host a play-in playoff game after losing that match.
The teams combined for 13 yellow and two red cards last year in their meetings and Saturday's showdown with huge Western Conference playoff implications should bring yet another firey affair at Toyota Stadium. Get your tickets now!
As FC Dallas looks to continue their dominance at home on Saturday vs. Portland, here are some numbers to keep in mind:
4 - FC Dallas won its fourth consecutive game -- matching the club’s longest winning streak since a club‐record six‐game winning run in 1999 -- and will look to win its fifth this weekend.
15 - Both teams combined for 15 cards (13 yellows and two reds) in last year's three meetings.
1 - The Timbers have only won once in six trips to Frisco.
0 - Saturday’s match features two of the top teams in MLS when scoring first. Both FC Dallas and Portland are 9‐0‐2 when finding the back of the net first for a combined 18‐0‐4 record.
8 - Portland forward Fanendo Adi leads the Timbers in scoring with eight goals on the season. No other player on the team has more than three.
.55 - Since selecting Atiba Harris in the MLS Re‐Entry Draft and converting him to right back, FC Dallas is 8‐1‐2 (18GF, 6GA) when starting the St. Kitts and Nevis native on defense. The team has a goals against average of 0.55 in those matches and Dallas has recorded seven of its eight shutouts with Harris at right back. The only match FC Dallas lost in which Harris started was against Portland on April 4.
349 - Dan Kennedy and the FC Dallas defense own the longest shutout streak in MLS this season with 349 minutes.
12 - Portland's goalkeeper, Adam Kwarasey (#12), and Seattle's Stefan Frei, lead MLS in shutouts with eight on the season.
3,510 - Dallas is leading the charge in MLS again this season with 3,510 minutes (17.7%) played by Homegrown players Victor Ulloa, Moises Hernandez, Kellyn Acosta and Alejandro Zendejas.
FC Dallas’ newest acquisition Ezequiel Cirigliano arrived in Frisco today and FCDallas.com caught up with him briefly, through a translator, for his first interview as a member of FCD.
On joining FC Dallas:
I am very happy to be here. I know that the team is in first place and playing very good soccer right now. I am very excited for the change [to be] here and I’m just excited to get out there and play and prove that I deserve [this] chance with the team.
On re-joining his friend, Mauro Diaz:
We were together for a few years at River Plate. I haven’t been able to see him yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing him and being [on the same team] with him here.
On his skill set and what he can bring to Dallas:
I’m a defensive midfielder. I feel like I’m best at recovering balls and passing them to a guy like Mauro or the forwards to create chances for the team.
Chandler Parsons wasn’t the only Dallas sports figure trying to recruit someone to the metroplex the summer.
FC Dallas has added another key cog to their midfield in Argentine Ezequiel Cirigliano and his countryman, midfield maestro Mauro Diaz, played a big part in selling Cirigliano on what the Frisco club can offer the 23-year-old.
“They asked me to invite him here,” said Diaz through a translator. “I gave a great recommendation as this is a great place to live, a great team with great coaches and I’m very happy he’s coming.”
Diaz said he and Cirigliano have known each other since they were 13 years old and played together through the ranks at Argentine giants River Plate including one year together in the first team. Their career paths have been remarkably similar as well and Diaz thinks the 23-year-old can be another great addition to a team already competing for the top spot in MLS.
“I’m very happy, he’s a player that I’ve known since I was young. He’s a great player and someone who will bring a lot for FC Dallas,” said Diaz. “He’s a player who knows how to play well with the ball, loves to win and is going to bring a lot of quality.”
“Mauro was a big part of recruiting Ezequiel to MLS on the phone talking and texting him and he helped make this happen for the club,” said FC Dallas President Dan Hunt. “Mauro is not the kind of player who would just bring a buddy here, he wants to win and is so competitive. He was really high on the player too and was a huge help in the process so the club is very thankful for that.”
Of course there may have one ulterior motive to the recruiting efforts.
“It adds one more friend to drink mate with,” said Diaz, with a laugh.
Both FC Dallas U-17 and U-18 boys premier teams earned draws in their opening games of the 2015 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday.
97 Boys Premier
A diving header in stoppage time helped the U-18s earn a point vs. Manhattan SC PSG 96 in Group B. After finding themselves down 2-0, the U-18s quickly responded with a Kevin Rodas goal to bring them within one. Matthew Rochowski managed to find the equalizer after putting one past the keeper on a diving header.
Next up for the U-18s is FC Golden State White tomorrow, and LVSA 97 Red on Thursday to round out Group B play. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals.
98 Boys Premier
The U-17s also earned a point today after tying Arlington Impact Red, 1-1. Gerber Chavez scord early for FCD in the 13th minute, but Arlington Impact found the equalizer in the 53rd minute.
FCD will play Sunrise Elite 97/98 tomorrow, and Chicago Magic PSG pre-academy on Thursday to finish group play. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals.
Even after hoisting the U-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship, FC Dallas Academy had more awards to garner.
The Development Academy announced its end-of-year honors, and FCD picked up a handful of individual and team awards.
Winger Devin Vega was named the U-16 Central Conference Player of the Year after finishing the season with a team-leading 21 goals. His teammates Ben Hale (goalkeeper), Reginald Cannon (defender) and Weston McKinnie (forward) were named to the conference’s Starting XI as well.
The U-16s collectively won the best Style of Play for the Central Conference.
As a whole, FC Dallas won the Central Conference's Most Comprehensive Club.
Saturday's heart-stopping win over DC United means FC Dallas is back into a tie for first place at the top of the Major League Soccer standings and it also kept alive a few different streaks going into this Saturday's match vs Portland.
FCD has won four games in a row, which is the longest active streak in MLS and tied with Portland and Vancouver for the longest streak this season. Dallas can take over the longest streak in MLS this season with a win on Saturday. FC Dallas also carries the longest current unbeaten streak at five games in a row.
With his stoppage time goal, Fabian Castillo extended his consecutive games with a goal or assist streak to five in a row which is the longest active streak in MLS and tied for the second-longest this season with CJ Sapong. Only Clint Dempsey has a longer streak with eight.
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was finally beaten on Saturday, but not before setting the longest shutout streak in MLS this season at 349 minutes.
The FC Dallas win was their 10th of the season which is tied for the most in MLS and extended their league-best record when scoring first to an amazing 9-0-2.
Despite the ultra-tight Western Conference standings, FCD has solidified their playoff standing and now sit nine points ahead of Real Salt Lake above the dreaded red line.
FC Dallas is now tied with D.C. United at the top of the MLS Standings and alone in first at the top of the Western Conference standings.
- Saturday's match against Portland becomes all the more crucial for Dallas as it's one of 11 remaining games against Western Conference opponents. FCD could extend the gap over the Timbers to six points with a game in hand if they can beat Caleb Porter's side on Saturday night.
For the fourth straight week an FC Dallas player has been named to the MLS Team of the Week. After a stellar home performance in which FCD snagged its fourth straight win, Mauro Diaz claimed his fifth "Team of the Week" honor. This is also the second time he's been named to the team in the past three weeks.
In addition, MLS All-Star Fabian Castillo earned an honorable mention to the team's bench with his late tally in stoppage time to clutch the three home points.
Fresh off of being named to the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star roster, Fabian Castillo scored a stoppage time winner to lift FC Dallas over D.C. United 2-1 at Toyota Stadium.
Castillo's goal has been nominated for AT&T Goal of the Week so give him your vote!
WATCH: GOTW Week 20
By Jeremy Villanueva
Toyota Stadium will host four Liga MX teams – Puebla FC, Monarcas Morelia, Santos Lagunas and Club America - tonight in the annual Campeon de Campeones. We have you covered on five players to watch out for in the American debut of the ultimate championship matches:
5. Joel Huiqui (Morelia) – For a team who finished last in the 2014 Apertura and the 2015 Clausura, it’s hard to find much stardom. However, central defender Joel Huiqui is still a strong piece for the Monarcas. Infamous for swiping a ball away with his hand inside the box of the 2009 Liguilla semifinal, Huiqui is still a solid centerback who has 14 caps for Mexico’s National Team. He captained Mexico’s 2013 Gold Cup team.
4. Djaniny (Santos) – The 24-year-old Cape Verde forward has been a great addition for Santos Lagunas in his first year with the team. The attacker from Portugal’s Nacional has found his groove in Mexico becoming the second African to win Mexico’s first division title. He propelled Santos into the Clasura semifinals in May after a fine, Keane-like first touch that put him in position to score the victor over the Tigres UANL. He also scored in Sunday’s tune-up against Veracruz.
3. Michael Arroyo (Club America) – An attacking midfielder for Ecuador in its 2014 World Cup run, Arroyo has seen his starts with Los Aguilas. Arroyo has three international goals to his name. For Club America, he most recently had an assist to Quintero and a potential game-tying free kick against LA Galaxy in last Saturday’s friendly.
2. Hercules Gomez (Puebla FC) – The former MLS Cup Champion and U.S. Men’s National Team player will make his way to Toyota Stadium with Puebla FC on loan from Tijuana. Gomez made 24 appearances in the Stars and Stripes, including three games in the 2010 World Cup. He spent six seasons in the MLS from 2002-09.
1. Carlos Darwin Quintero (Club America) – It’ll be a reunion for Carlos Quintero as he faces his old squad, Santos Lagunas, who he made 225 appearances with between 2009-14. The Columbian has scored one goal in 12 appearances for his countryside, scoring a goal in a 2-1 friendly over Mexico in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl. In a tune-up against LA Galaxy in Stephen Gerrad’s debut last Saturday, Quintero put his squad up 1-0 seven minutes into the game.