Last Place Timbers Host League Leading FC Dallas

Last place isn’t where the Portland Timbers want to or should be at. Especially after playing three of four matches at home. The Timbers need all three points tonight, but it isn’t going to be easy facing FC Dallas, even if Portland has historically found success against them. Dallas is fantastic at set pieces, something that continues to take points away from Caleb Porter each and every year. Help us Darlington. With five goals scored against Dallas since 2011, you’re our only hope.

Darlington Nagbe is the man to watch tonight. Adi might have three goals so far this year, but Nagbe can and is known to shred Dallas’ defense. I wouldn’t ever bet against him at least being active and performing at his best against the club. Plus, he’s been playing flat out aggressively this year and it’s working. While only to the tune of a single assist so far, you can only expect more when Nagbe is willing to take shots with his left foot.

The question mark for this match is Portland’s starting lineup. Adi and Maxi didn’t do so hot while playing up top together last week, but at the same time Asprilla hasn’t been the starting force that Caleb Porter needs. Asprilla is my favorite kind of  injection around the 65th minute, bringing speed and creativity to the pitch, but that doesn’t mean I want him there for 65-90 minutes. Much as I think Fernandez works in the middle to start better than he does as a substitute, that doesn’t seem likely given the four XIs we’ve seen to date. Also up in the air is whether or not Jack Jewsbury will be back in action after sustaining a concussion. He was reported to be practicing in full yesterday, so my money is on him making it. Even if he can’t go, George Fochive has been solid in first two MLS starts. George isn’t ideal, but I much prefer him to the though of someone like Danny O’Rourke like last season.

News on Dallas’ XI is that Mauro Diaz might not make it. This would be great to hear confirmed for Timbers supporters. Diaz hasn’t scored or earned an assist yet in 2015, but when healthy he’s a major threat to do either. Portland’s chances are far higher with him out.

Projected Lineups:

Portland Timbers: Kwarasey; Villafana, Ridgewell, Borchers, Powell; Wallace, Jewsbury Chara, Wallace, Nagbe; Adi, Urruti

FC Dallas: Seitz; Hernandez, Hedges, Loyd, Harris; Ulloa, Michel; Castillo,  Hollingshead, Akindele; Perez