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Know Your Enemy: 7/25 Portland Timbers

FC Dallas will look to extend their four-game winning streak on Saturday as the Portland Timbers visit Frisco. The Timbers took the initial meeting this season in Portland, 3-1. FCD sits in first place in the Supporters’ Shield standings heading into the weekend with a record of 10-5-5, good for 35 points. In a tight Western Conference race, Portland is just three points back of Dallas with 32, but is currently in sixth place with a record of 9-7-5.

Home-Field Advantage

The Timbers will try to earn just their second regular season win all-time at Toyota Stadium on Saturday as they visit a streaking FC Dallas. In six previous meetings in Frisco, Dallas has a 3-1-2 record against the Timbers. This season, FCD has lost just once at home with a record of 7-1-2, including three straight wins in Frisco over the last four weeks. Portland has lost four of their last five road games in 2015 dating back to mid-May.

Key Player for Portland

Fanendo Adi – The 6-foot, 4-inch forward has eight goals in 2015, accounting for one-third of Portland’s offense this season. And when the Adi is feeling it, he’s hard to stop – scoring two goals in a game on three different occasions this season and four times in 2014.

Key Matchups

Mauro Diaz vs. Jack Jewsbury– With Will Johnson out after receiving a red card at the end of Portland’s game in Vancouver last week, Jack Jewsbury figures to re-insert back into the lineup deep in the midfield alongside Diego Chara. As we know, The Magician has wreaked havoc on opposing teams of late, and the last game that Johnson missed happened to be against another strong Western Conference opponent, LA, on the road – a game the Timbers lost 5-0.

Oscar Pareja vs. Caleb Porter – Head coaches are usually not included in the tale of the tape, but in this case it is necessary. Tissue Gate was all the talk after the first meeting between the two sides in Portland in April when Pareja kindly offered Porter a tissue after what he felt was excessive petitioning to the officials by the Portland head coach. There is undoubtedly an added emphasis on this matchup from both sides on Saturday.

Projected Lineup

Goalkeeper: Adam Larsen Kwarasey; Defenders: Jorge Vilafana, Liam Ridgewell, Nat Borchers, Alvas Powell; Midfielders: Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Dairon Asprilla, Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe; Forward: Fanendo Adi

Keys to Three Points

Everything has been clicking for FC Dallas over the last four weeks, and that will have to continue this weekend. Key players have been absent from opposing lineups in three straight games, but Dallas has not lost focus. If FCD can continue both trends, Portland won’t be able to reverse their trend in Frisco.