FC Dallas, Columbus pit hot offenses

Columbus and FC Dallas had little trouble scoring in their most recent league matches. Dallas, however, was far from productive against the Crew in the teams' first 2011 meeting.

Looking to build on their latest offensive efforts, the Crew and Dallas each try for a third consecutive victory when they meet Saturday night in Texas.

Andres Mendoza scored twice in Columbus' 4-1 victory over reigning MLS champion Colorado on Sunday. It was the first time the Crew (6-4-6) scored four goals since a 4-0 win over New England on Sept. 6, 2008.

"We had a good performance, and to be able to score four goals and dominate the game is very encouraging going into July," coach Robert Warzycha told the Crew's official website.

Mendoza has scored six of his team-leading seven goals in the last six matches.

"We've been working really hard," Mendoza said. "It's not just me."

Dallas (9-4-4) got goals from three defenders in a 4-0 win over Portland last Saturday. It was the first time it scored more than three goals since beating Los Angeles 6-3 on Sept. 12, 2009.

Kevin Hartman had two saves for his MLS-leading eighth shutout.

"I think we need those type of performances to continue to get those three points," coach Schellas Hyndman told Dallas' official website.

Hyndman's squad is not playing like the group that lost 2-0 at Columbus on April 1, when Mendoza converted a second-half penalty kick and Eddie Gaven added a goal in extra time for the Crew.

Dallas has gone 9-2-3 since that defeat and won four of five in June. Midfielder Brek Shea, who leads Dallas with seven goals, has scored once in each of the last three games.

FC Dallas faces a Columbus team that has not won at Pizza Hut Park since a 2-1 victory Aug. 30, 2008.

Though the Crew have played well of late in MLS action, they hope a 2-1 loss to the Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer League Pro division in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday won't have any lingering effects this weekend.

Columbus, which started five rookies who have seen little league time, was the only MLS team to lose in the round of 16 of the Open Cup -- a competition open to teams at the pro and amateur level in the United States.

"I'm disappointed," Warzycha said. "This is a group (of players) fighting for one of the starting positions. I'm so disappointed."

The Crew lost to Seattle in the finals of the Open Cup last season.