Timbers at FC Dallas
Kickoff: 6 p.m. Saturday at Frisco, Texas.
TV / radio: ROOT Sports / AM 750.
Timbers notes: Portland (9 wins, 7 losses, 5 ties, 32 points) entered the weekend in sixth place in the Western Conference, but only three points behind league-leading FC Dallas. Depending upon results elsewhere, a win at Dallas put the Timbers among teams atop MLS the standings. The big question entering this match is if the newest Timber — Argentine forward Lucas Melano — will make his MLS debut. Late in the week the Timbers were hopeful they would receive the speedsters transfer paperwork, which is needed before he can play in a game. One player the Timbers won’t have is team captain Will Johnson, who was shown a red card after the final whistle of last Saturday’s draw with Vancouver for verbally abusing the referee. It is likely Jack Jewsbury will line up alongside Diego Chara in defensive midfield — assuming Chara is healthy to play after suffering a series of hard fouls to his legs late in the match against Vancouver. … The Timbers beats Dallas 3-1 in Portland on April 4, and posted a 2-0 win at FC Dallas in their final game last season. … Both Portland and Dallas are 9-0-2 this season when scoring the first goal. The official Timbers viewing party is at the Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St. in Portland.
FC Dallas notes: Dallas (10-5-5, 35 points) has won four in a row to surge to the top of the Western Conference. Dallas will be without forward Blas Perez (Panama) and midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) who remain occupied by the Gold Cup. Perez has five goals and one assist in 14 games this season. But Dallas will have Colombian Fabian Castillo (8 goals, 6 assists), who has either a goal or an assist in the last five Dallas games. Timbers coach Caleb Porter named Castillo when describing the impact he hopes that new Timber Lucas Melano can have. … Dallas also might debut a new Argentine today, having this week signed 23-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Cirigliano. … No word on whether Dallas coach Oscar Pareja, who waved a tissue at Porter after the Timbers win in April, will bring a box of tissues to this one.