Tough test awaits Timbers

FC Dallas, heat offer Texas-sized challengein U.S. Open Cup

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Published:

 

The hottest team in Major League Soccer is about to feel some real heat.

As in 100-degree Texas summer heat the Portland Timbers will encounter today when they take on FC Dallas in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Then there is the FC Dallas attack, which has scored 18 goals in 10 home matches. Dallas was without all three of its top scorers when it lost 1-0 in Portland eight days ago — a result that let Portland climb above Dallas in the MLS standings.

This time, Dallas should have forwards Kenny Cooper and Blas Perez available.

U.S. Open Cup matches create lineup dilemmas for MLS coaches. In this case, Dallas has an MLS game at Philadelphia on Saturday, so might coach Schellas Hyndman rest some of his regulars for that match? On the flip side, Portland doesn’t play another counting match until July 7. But this is Portland’s sixth match over 18 days, so does Timbers coach Caleb Porter turn to some rested reserves for this match?

“There are going to be some things that we’ve got to manage, obviously with the heat,” Porter said. “But tactically we’re ready. Our possession game will help us, hopefully. We got to be smart with how we defend, with where we draw our (defensive) lines. We’ve got to stay compact.”

By compact, the coach means Portland cannot leave too much space between its forwards and midfielders or midfielders and defenders, space that playmaking midfielders David Ferreira and Michel thrive upon.

From the day he first spoke to the Portland media, Porter said his job is to help the Portland Timbers win trophies — which the franchise has never done dating to the original NASL Timbers.

“We’re going to go all-in” on Wednesday, Porter said after Sunday’s 3-0 win over Colorado moved Portland to the top of the MLS standings. “It’s not going to be easy … but if we play like we did (on Sunday) I like our chances.”

Notes

• Camas High graduate Nick Palodichuk is returning to Duke University for summer school and to train with teammates. He played seven matches this season with the Timbers under-23 team in the Premier Development League, but will not be with the team on Friday when it plays at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas.

• Peter Prescott of Vancouver and Anthony Macchione of Camas scored goals on Monday to help the Timbers U-18 Academy team open play in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase with a 3-2 win over Revolution Empire. The showcase continues this week on fields surrounding FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The Timbers U-18 Academy plays next on Wednesday.

• Timbers midfielder Will Johnson was one of 22 players named Tuesday to Canada’s roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Canada begins training for the tournament, which runs July 7-28, this week in California.

• Tickets remain for the July 9 Gold Cup games at Jeld-Wen Field. Costa Rica faces Cuba at 5:30 p.m. and the United States takes on Belize at 8 p.m. in group stage matches.

• The Timbers announced that Christian Miles will be the club’s play-by-play voice on TV for the remainder of this season. Miles, a Portland native with experience calling games in top European leagues, replaces John Strong. Strong was hired by NBC Sports to be its lead play-by-play announcer for MLS games.

• Wednesday’s match at Dallas will be shown live at these Portland-area restaurants and pubs: Kells, McGillacuddy’s, Prost!, Bazi Bierbrasserie, On Deck, Mad Greek Deli, Ringlers or The BeerMongers. There also will be a live webstream of the game at FCDallas.com.