Timbers Match Day: vs. DC United

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

DC United at Portland

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV: Root Sports (cable Ch. 34/734).

Radio: 101.1 FM (940 AM Spanish broadcast).

Where they stand: Portland (7-15-8, 29 points) is eighth in the Western Conference; DC United (15-10-5, 50 points) is tied with New York for third place in the Eastern Conference.

All-time series: DC United leads 1-0-1 (DC United 4 goals, Portland 1 goals). Last season, DC United won 3-2 at Portland in May of 2011 and the teams played to a 1-1 draw in October 2011.

Storyline: There are significant playoff stakes in this one ... just not for the Timbers. DC United is closing in on its first playoff berth in five seasons and can solidify its position with a win in Portland. The Timbers? This is probably the least interesting of Portland's four remaining matches, but not for Timbers players who believe they are on an extended tryout for Caleb Porter, who will take over as the Timbers head coach following the season.

"When you're playing for the playoffs, you're playing for an organization, you're playing for a city," Timbers defender David Horst said. "It's completely different. Right now, we've got to worry about our spots for next year."

Knowing that, Horst said the Timbers have stuck together and played better soccer late in the season.

Nagbe featured on NBC Sports Network: Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe is featured in the "MLS 36" episode that airs at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. "MLS 36" is a documentary-style show that follows MLS stars for 36 hours leading up to a match. MLS 36 followed Nagbe leading up to Portland's Aug. 25 match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Leaders: Goals — Kris Boyd (7) leads Portland; Chris Pontius (11) leads DC United. Assists — Eric Alexander (6) leads Portland; Dwayne De Rosario (12) leads DC United.

Injury/suspension impact: Kris Boyd (adductor strain) is done for the season. Lovel Palmer (knee) is out. Gavin Wilkinson said on Friday that both midfielder Diego Chara (adductor strain) and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts (shoulder) are available for selection for Saturday's lineup. But he said the coaching staff will weigh the value of resting each for one more game before making a lineup decision. Dwayne De Rosario, last season's MLS MVP, is out for the season with a knee injury. DC United has won three consecutive matches since Rosario was injured playing for Canada in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.

Question of the day: Will Portland match the urgency of a DC United team with more to play for?