Timbers Matchday vs. FC Dallas

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

FC Dallas at Timbers

Kickoff: 8 p.m. today at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV/radio: KPDX 49 (Cable Ch. 13/713) / AM 750.

Tickets:www.portlandtimbers.com 503-553-5555. A sellout is anticipated.

Where they stand: Portland (8 wins, 11 ties and 3 losses) is fourth in the West with 35 points. FC Dallas (8-9-6, 33 points) is seventh in the West.

Head to head: This is the last of three MLS matches between the teams in 2013. The teams tied 1-1 on May 8 at Frisco, Texas, and the Timbers won June 15 at home 1-0 in a match that at the time put Portland atop the conference standings. The Timbers also won 3-2 at Dallas in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.

Timbers story: A two-week break from MLS play -- and nine days since the U.S. Open Cup semifinal loss at Real Salt Lake -- gave the Timbers time to recharge before a key eight-day stretch that begins with today's match. The break might not have been long enough for midfielder Will Johnson or forward Frederic Piquoinne to heal completely. Coach Caleb Porter on Friday said only that all of the hobbled Timbers are "day to day." One player who figures to be raring to go is Darlington Nagbe. Nagbe has scored three goals against Dallas this season, including both Timbers tallies against Dallas in league play. Nagbe has six league goals this season. Ryan Johnson has a team-high seven MLS goals, and Diego Valeri has a team-best eight assists.

FC Dallas story: When last it visited Portland, Dallas arrived as the hottest team in MLS. But Dallas has not won an MLS match since late May (six ties, four losses). Dallas went 465 minutes between league goals at one point, but scored three in a draw with the L.A. Galaxy last week. Blas Pérez, who helped Panama to the Gold Cup final, was gone for three of the scoreless Dallas outings. Pérez scored twice against the Galaxy and has a team-high eight goals. David Ferreira leads Dallas with seven assists. There has been speculation that Dallas will switch from the 4-2-3-1 formation it has used to a 4-4-2 with a diamond setup in midfield. If that happens, the center of the field will be more crowded but -- as Portland likes to do -- Dallas will look to use their wide defenders to attack the flanks. If Kenny Cooper plays, this will be the his first counting game in Portland since he was traded from the Timbers after the 2011 season.