Frisco, TX – FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers will meet at FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday with both clubs looking to make it six points from two Major League Soccer matches.
Both sides earned home victories to start their respective 2012 seasons as FC Dallas avenged its 2011 postseason exit by defeating Red Bull New York, while Portland came from behind to cruise past the Philadelphia Union at Jeld-Wen Field.
Schellas Hyndman's team is set to look a bit different in week two though, as his squad will need to be reshuffled a bit to accommodate some key absences.
FC Dallas talisman Brek Shea will miss Saturday's clash after being called into the United States U-23 national team for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, and Fabian Castillo is questionable after sustaining a knee injury during the club's win over New York.
"[Castillo] got a pretty good hit on the inside of his knee," Hyndman said. "My first thoughts are a knee contusion or maybe a strained ligament."
With Shea and Castillo out, Dallas will rely on Panamanian international Blas Perez up front. He marked his MLS debut with assists on both Dallas goals against the Red Bulls, and Hyndman will be looking for more of the same throughout the year.
"I thought he did a very good job holding the ball under pressure," Hyndman said. "He might be that striker that we were looking for since we lost Jeff Cunningham [in 2010]. I think he's going to score a lot of goals for us this year."
Portland has a similar player in its ranks who also made an impact in his MLS debut.
The arrival of Kris Boyd was highly anticipated by the Timbers Army, and the Scottish striker did not disappoint as he nodded home the go-ahead goal for Portland in the second half against Philadelphia.
"I'm hoping that he can go on, stay healthy, go on to score a lot of goals and become a legend here," Timbers coach John Spencer said. "He definitely has the goal-scoring ability to do that, that's why he's here."
Saturday's clash could prove to be an important first step for the Timbers. The club did not fare well on the road in 2011, posting a 2-9-6 record away from Jeld-Wen Field. But Spencer recognizes that if his team is to contend for a playoff spot, they will need to take more points from their travels.
"We've got to play well on the road," Spencer said. "I think we're a little bit more mature this year, hopefully, and I'd like to see us go down to Dallas and put on a similar type of performance."