MLS Preview: Dallas look to chop Timbers down
Western Conference leaders Dallas face a tough trip to the Portland Timbers in this week's eye-catching MLS clash on Saturday.
The contest at JELD-WEN Field in Oregon will pit first versus third in the conference, with hosts Portland able to close the gap on their opponents to two points with a victory.
Dallas will have a tough time of penetrating the Timbers' defence, as they have not conceded at home in four league matches - taking 10 of 12 points in the process.
Schellas Hyndman's men have been in scoring form on the road of late, but their past four trips have failed to produce a victory, despite hitting the net twice in each contest.
Three 2-2 draws plus a 4-2 loss to the Seattle Sounders is proof of Dallas' willingness to attack, however, they also get exposed at the back - with eight of their 10 goals conceded in that run coming after the half-time interval.
That puts the task up to the conference leaders to hold on for longer than the first 45 minutes on Saturday, as they look to stave off one of their title challengers.
On Sunday, Eastern Conference pacesetters, Montreal Impact, are on the road at seventh-placed Columbus Crew.
Impact have won three in succession - outscoring their opponents 10-6 in doing so - meaning the Crew will have to take any chances that come their way to score to score in Ohio.
Columbus have not tasted success in three league outings, most recently falling to a catastrophic 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union in which they conceded all three goals in six first-half minutes.
At the bottom of the Eastern Conference, DC United will host the team directly above them, Toronto, with the chance to climb off the foot of the table.
Both sides have just one win to their name this season, with DC only managing a dismal six goals in 14 matches.
The Colorado Rapids can continue their six-match unbeaten streak when they take on an out-of-form San Jose Earthquakes.
The Earthquakes have lost three of their past four - with their only goal in that run coming in a 1-1 draw with the Rapids.
Elsewhere, the Vancouver Whitecaps will welcome the New England Revolution to Canada, as they hope to better their standing of seventh in the Western Conference.