Portland Preseason Tournament Preview: FC Dallas
Back from a preseason stint in Tucson, Ariz., the Portland Timbers now gear up for their second annual preseason tournament at JELD-WEN Field with the San Jose Earthqukes, FC Dallas, and Sweden's AIK all in attendance. Taking place on Feb. 17, 20 and 23, each day includes a double-header of matches with all teams playing each other once in a round-robin format. Tickets start at $10.00.
This week in the lead up to the matches, PortlandTimbers.com will take a look at each of the Timbers' upcoming opponents, see what changes have been made since last season, and what to keep an eye on when they come to Portland. Second in the series is FC Dallas.
Last season was a tumultuous one in Frisco as FC Dallas missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2009 and the club battled with injury problems to many key starters. Marquee players Brek Shea, David Ferreira, Ugo Ihemelu, Blas Pérez and George John all missed at least 10 matches with various ailments during the year, but there were some bright spots like the emergence of rookie defender Matt Hedges in the back line and Ferreira’s return to the field in the second half of the season after more than 15 months out following a major ankle injury.
In the wake of a disappointing 2012 season, the club has undergone a considerable overhaul of the roster as Shea was sold to Stoke City in England at the January transfer deadline. Former FC Dallas star forward Kenny Cooper (who was part of Portland’s inaugural season in 2011, leading the club in goals that year) returned to Texas from the New York Red Bulls and French forward Eric Hassli was acquired in a trade with Toronto FC. The team also signed 33-year-old French midfielder Peter Luccin with the hope of filling a holding role in the center of the park. Luccin has experience in France’s Ligue 1 and Spain’s La Liga. Starting goalkeeper and longtime MLS veteran Kevin Hartman didn’t see his contract renewed as FC Dallas went out and signed Peruvian National Team keeper Raúl Fernández and added defender London Woodberry and forward Bradlee Baladez as Homegrown Players.
Record: 9-13-12, 39pts (Sixth in Western Conference)
Record vs. Portland in 2012: 0-1-2
2012 Playoffs: Did not qualify
Leading goal scorer: Blas Pérez (9)
Leading assists: David Ferreira (9)
Head coach: Schellas Hyndman
2013 Preseason Results
Feb. 2 – 2-1 W vs. Univ. of Memphis (at adidas Field at FC Dallas Stadium)
Feb. 6 – 3-0 W vs. Mérida CF (at Cancún, Mexico)
Feb. 7 – 3-2 W vs. Atlante CF (at Cancún, Mexico)
Feb. 11 – 3-0 W vs. Atlante U-20 (at Cancún, Mexico)
Prior to arriving in Portland, FC Dallas spent two weeks training in Cancún, Mexico, taking in the warm weather and matching up against Mexican sides Mérida CF (second division), Atlante (Liga MX) and Atlante’s U-20 squad. Cooper, who played the 2011 season in Portland, bagged two goals and an assist for FC Dallas in a 3-0 win against Mérida and added another goal against Atlante’s U-20s, while Baladez notched his second and third goals of the preseason with a brace against Atlante. Brazilian trialist defender Michel, who last played for Aris in Greece, has impressed during the preseason.
2013 Timbers Preseason Tournament Schedule for FC Dallas
Feb. 17 vs. AIK (2:30pm PT)
Feb. 20 vs. Portland Timbers (7:30pm PT, streamed at www.portlandtimbers.com)
Feb. 23 vs. San Jose (2:30pm PT)