Timbers MatchDay: at Dallas
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Portland at FC Dallas
Kickoff: 6 p.m. Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium, Frisco, Texas.
TV: KPTV 12 (cable Channel 12/712).
Radio: 750 AM (940 AM Spanish broadcast).
Where they stand: Portland (5-10-4, 19 points) and FC Dallas (4-10-7, 19 points) share the bottom spot in the Western Conference.
Last meeting: On March 17, Portland and FC Dallas played to a 1-1 draw in Texas.
Series history: In three matches, each team has one win. Dallas won 4-0 at home last season.
Storyline: Two teams tied at the bottom of the Western Conference will try to put some life into their seasons. Portland is still shooting for that first road victory in 2012. Dallas is trying to recover from going three months between wins until a recent victory over Colorado — and from an emotion-filled loss at San Jose that included missing a penalty kick for the tie in the closing seconds. Both teams have a quick turnaround from a Wednesday loss.
Frustration for Brek Shea: A season ago, Brek Shea’s star was on the rise. Shea was selected as the U.S. Soccer Young Player of 2011. So far, 2012 has been a different story. Shea was part of the USA under-23 team that failed to qualify for the Olympics. For FC Dallas, Shea has just three goals this season. On Wednesday at San Jose, he was replaced in the second half and had words on the bench with coach Schellas Hyndman. Hindman gave Shea a day off on Friday but said Shea will be available for today’s game.
Lineup options: Gavin Wilkinson has started with four defenders, two defensive midfielders, three attacking midfielders and Kris Boyd at striker in his first two games as interim head coach. But the lineup at Dallas, for what figures to be a hot night, might be dictated more by which players have the freshest legs. Along those lines, perhaps Franck Songo’o is ready for more minutes as an attacking midfielder. Maybe David Horst returns as one of the central defender slots.
The heat is on: Not to harp on it, but the Timbers haven’t scored a goal on the road in 607 minutes. And they haven’t generated many chances over those 10 hours of soccer. As Kris Boyd has said, the monkey on the Timbers’ backs keeps getting heavier.
Leaders: Goals — Kris Boyd (7) leads Portland; Injured forward Blas Perez (5) leads FC Dallas. Assists — Eric Alexander (4) leads Portland; Perez (3) leads FC Dallas.
Injury/suspension impact: Timbers D Eric Brunner continues to be sidelined by a concussion. MF/D Rodney Wallace is also listed as out. No other Timbers regular is on the injury list. Dallas’ long list of injuries includes top scorer Blas Perez and defender George John.
Question of the day: Will the Timbers play with a nothing-to-lose spirit? Given the challenge of the heat at Frisco, Texas, they are more likely to conserve energy early and hope to steal a win than they are to come out guns blazing.
Follow Paul Danzer all Timbers season on Twitter at www.twitter.com/col_timbers