PORTLAND TIMBERS vs. CD DRAGÓN
PROVIDENCE PARK, Portland, Ore.
August 3, 2016 (CONCACAF Champions League)
10 pm ET (Facebook.com | Galavision - tape delay)
The Portland Timbers will need to rebound from a rough, injury-plagued run of form -- with an important Western Conference rematch this weekend -- against Salvadoran side CD Dragón in the CONCACAF Champions League opener for both teams. The defending MLS Cup champions have won just once in their last six MLS outings, and are below the red line going into Sunday's home match against Sporting Kansas City. The club announced the signing of Premier League veteran Steven Taylor on Monday, but he might not be available in time to help out the injury-riddled back line.
A winning record, but ...
This is Portland's second go-round in CCL play. The first came in 2014-15, after Portland finished first in the Western Conference in 2013 -- and in that tournament, Portland had the unfortunate distinction of going 3-1 in the group stage but still not making the knockout round. They demolished Guyana's Alpha United by a 10-1 aggregate over two legs, and split their matches against Honduran power CD Olimpia with a 5-5 aggregate -- only to fall 2-1 on the away goals tiebreaker.
Back on top again (finally)
Dragón have been around since 1939, but they're newcomers to the CONCACAF Champions League. The club was a power midway through the 20th century, winning titles in El Salvador's top flight in 1951 and 1953 -- but didn't celebrate another championship in the premier division until they won the 2016 Clausura.
Hey, remember him?
It would be hard to forget Raúl Díaz Arce, one of MLS's founding players. Díaz Arce, whose professional career began with Dragón in 1988, joined the league with D.C. United in 1996. He scored 23 goals in that inaugural season -- and by the time he left D.C., he had helped United win two MLS Cups, one Supporters' Shield and one U.S. Open Cup. He also played for San Jose, New England, the now-defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny and the Colorado Rapids during his time in MLS.