TIMBERS AT HOUSTON
When/where: 6 p.m. Sunday at Robertson Stadium.
TV: Live on Root Sports (Comcast cable channels 34 and 734), Spanish national telecast on Galavision (Comcast channel 619).
Radio: AM 750/FM 101 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).
Records: Houston is 6-7-10, fifth in the East. Portland is 7-10-5, seventh in the West.
Why to watch: It’s a homecoming for Timbers coach John Spencer and a chance for recently traded players to make an impression on old friends.
Forwards: Jorge Perlaza, Kenny Cooper.
Midfielders: Darlington Nagbe, Diego Chara, James Marcelin, Sal Zizzo.
Defenders: Mike Chabala, Eric Brunner, David Horst, Lovel Palmer.
Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins.
Key alternatives: MF Jack Jewsbury, F Brian Umony, F Bright Dike, MF Peter Lowry, D Rodney Wallace, D Mamadou “Futty” Danso, GK Adin Brown.
Forwards: Brian Ching, Cam Weaver.
Midfielders: Brad Davis, Geoff Cameron, Adam Moffat (holding), Colin Clark.
Defenders: Corey Ashe, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Hunter Freeman.
Goalkeeper: Tally Hall.
Midfield matters: Diego Chara will return to Portland the lineup after missing last weekend’s 1-1 draw at San Jose because of yellow card accumulation. The Colombian has looked more comfortable, and in recent matches has impressed with his activity. Less certain is the status of captain Jack Jewsbury, who could sit out a third consecutive match with a sore hamstring.
Ball control: One key to success in the heat is not chasing the opponent around the field. To avoid that, patience with the ball is helpful. That doesn’t mean standing around. In fact, it requires teammates to move into open spaces continually.
Strong in the box: Houston has scored most of its goals from inside the 18-yard box, and — like Portland — is particularly dangerous on restarts. “They have guys that want to attack the ball in both boxes, and we’ve got to be ready to match them,” Spencer said.
More from Spencer: “Coming off the last couple games where we’ve put in some decent performances football-wise, and physically as well, I don’t think we’ve got a lot to worry about if we come out with the same drive and the same mentality.”
• More dynamic Dynamo? Houston has acquired two attacking players it hopes will bust its playoff push. Honduran national team forward Carlo Costly played as a substitute in last week’s draw at Philly, then scored twice against Venezuela in a Wednesday friendly. Brazilian attacking midfielder Luiz Camargo could make his Dynamo debut Sunday.
• Stat leaders: Houston midfielder Brad Davis leads MLS with 10 assists. Cam Weaver and Geoff Cameron each have a team-best four goals for Houston. Jewsburn (6 goals, 6 assists) leads Portland in both categories.
• Injury report: Dynamo — Out: FW Will Bruin (knee surgery); MF Danny Cruz (quad strain); Doubtful: FW Calen Carr (concussion) ... Timbers — Out: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (ACL rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); FW Spencer Thompson (knee); Questionable: MF Jack Jewsbury (hamstring strain); DF Rodney Wallace (hamstring strain); Probable: GK Troy Perkins (hip soreness).
Suspended — Timbers: Jeremy Hall (through Aug. 14). Suspended next yellow card — Dynamo: Brad Davis. Timbers: Lovel Palmer, Rodney Wallace.