After leaving many regulars behind for Wednesday’s loss on the East Coast, Portland Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese will hope they can return to lead a rebound Sunday night against a visiting FC Dallas side that also suffered midweek disappointment.
Only three starters from last week’s 4-0 home win against the Houston Dynamo also started in a 2-1 loss at the Montreal Impact four days later, and of those left out, only Jeremy Ebobisse and Jorge Villafana even traveled.
Savarese opted to leave the majority of his starters in Portland when the club traveled to Montreal to ensure they were rested in the midst of a packed schedule. The Timbers took 16 players to Montreal.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Savarese was content with how Portland (5-8-2, 17 points) lost, falling because of a pair of goals from Montreal’s Orji Okwonkwo. But with Sunday marking a fourth game in 13 days for the Timbers — beginning with a U.S. Open Cup fifth-round victory over the LA Galaxy on June 18 — Savarese had no choice but to manage minutes.
“We had to do this rotation, it was very important,” Savarese said. “We still believe we could’ve gotten a little bit more from this game, and now we have the guys ready to battle this weekend. It was important. We couldn’t play four matches in two weeks, especially traveling to Montreal.”
Meanwhile, Dallas (7-6-5, 26 points) played most of its regulars while letting a two-goal lead slip away in a 2-2 draw at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Jesus Ferreira and Ryan Hollingshead found the net four minutes apart for Dallas, which will be trying to finish June unbeaten in MLS play after going winless in May.
Dallas scored two goals in each of its previous four games this month (two wins, two draws), but was forced to settle for a point Wednesday when Vancouver’s Lucas Venuto struck from distance in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time.
That wasn’t the latest goal it has conceded this season though. Atlanta’s Josef Martinez converted a penalty seven minutes into injury time of Dallas’ 2-1 road win in April.
Midfielder Paxton Pomykal takes some confidence from Dallas’ previous 2-1 win over Portland at home.
“We lost two points at home (Wednesday) and that hurt because we felt like we deserved more,” he said. “But there’s three points for taking on the road. So we’re going to try and implement some of the stuff we did against them last time.”
—Field Level Media