MatchDay: Timbers at FC Dallas

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

Published:

 

TIMBERS at FC DALLAS

When/where: 5:30 p.m. today at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

TV: Live on KPTV 12 (HD 712); Estrella TV Spanish broadcast (Comcast cable Channel 307).

Radio: AM 750 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).

Records: Dallas is 8-4-4, tied for second in the Western Conference. Portland is 5-6-3, seventh among nine teams in the West.

Why to watch: To see if the Timbers can get the franchise’s first road win, and its first season sweep of an MLS opponent. Also, to appreciate our cool climate. The forecast is for a humid 93-degrees at kickoff.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Portland Timbers

Forwards: Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza.

Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe.

Defenders: Rodney Wallace, David Horst, Eric Brunner, Jeremy Hall.

Goalkeeper: Troy Perkins.

Key alternatives: MF Sal Zizzo, F Eddie Johnson, MF Adam Moffat, MF Ryan Pore, D Mamadou “Futty” Danso, D Kevin Goldthwate, D Steve Purdy, GK Adin Brown.

FC Dallas

Forwards: Fabian Castillo, Marvin Chavez.

Midfielders: Brek Shea, Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson, Eric Alexander.

Defenders: Jair Benitez, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Zach Loyd.

Goalkeeper: Kevin Hartman.

THE MATCHUP

Watch for: Possession. In the expected heat, neither team will want to expend energy chasing the ball. Look for the Timbers to play at a more controlled tempo in the heat, picking their spots to apply pressure.

The first goal — always important in MLS — is more significant given the heat and the potential for the team that trails wearing down as it chases the game.

“If you find yourself a goal down, or turning the ball over, you’re going to find it very, very difficult 90 minutes,” Timbers coach John Spencer said. “It’s important that we possess the ball, and press them in the right area of the field.”

THE FIRST TIME

On April 17 in Portland, the Timbers took a 3-0 lead with goals from Jack Jewsbury, Kenny Cooper and Rodney Wallace, then held on for a 3-2 win.

NOTABLE

• Who will play alongside Eric Brunner at center back for the Timbers? Mamadou “Futty” Danso and David Horst are officially listed as out, but coach John Spencer indicated on Thursday that either could be a game-time choice for the lineup.

• Cooper’s homecoming: Timbers forward Kenny Cooper returns to his hometown. He scored 40 goals in 90 matches with FC Dallas between 2006 and 2009.

• Opinions on the Dallas climate: “I remember playing Houston during the day in Dallas when it was really hot. And I remember someone making a comment about it in the tunnel leading out to play the game,” Cooper said. “But it is what it is, and you’ve just got to accept it. I grew up playing in Dallas, so I guess I am used to it.”

Said Timbers coach John Spencer, “I think it’s a test of conditioning, and a little bit of test of mental character as well. When you start to feel tired to you look to the bench and look for an out, or are you ready to dig deeper.”

• Cooper appreciates Portland weather: “After living in Dallas and playing in that heat, you definitely appreciate this great weather we have here. This is perfect soccer weather. Definitely no complaints.”

• Jewsbury on Timbers slow starts on the road: “That’s one of my jobs, helping the guys get up,” the captain said. “I wouldn’t say it’s nerves. Guys probably have more nerves playing (at home) than on the road. It’s just a mentality of from minute one you’ve got to be locked in and smart about the way you approach (the game).”

• Dallas has played some of its best soccer since midfielder David Ferreira, one of the top players in MLS, was lost to an ankle injury on April 23. Its record is 6-1-3 in 10 matches since.

• Injury report: Timbers — Out: DF Mamadou Danso (shoulder); FW Bright Dike (Achilles rupture); DF David Horst (hip flexor); FW Spencer Thompson (knee); Doubtful: MF James Marcelin (knee MCL sprain); Probable: MF Peter Lowry (quadriceps strain). FC Dallas — Out: DF Edson Edward (knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (ankle).

Suspended — None. Suspended next yellow card — Jeremy Hall and Rodney Wallace (Portland).

CONFLICTED?

The timing of today’s match is troublesome for soccer fans. At 6 p.m., the United States plays Mexico in the Gold Cup final (TV on Fox Soccer Channel). Also, the Timbers under-23 team plays a match at 7:30 p.m. today in Sherwood, Ore.