The Portland Timbers are back home and set to face off against the top side in the Western Conference, FC Dallas, as they look to secure a playoff berth of their own.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Minnesota United last weekend, the Timbers need to pile up the points at home if they want to stave off the likes of the Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake, and even the LA Galaxy as they compete for a home play-in game. Let too many more points slip away and the Timbers could find themselves on the road for the first round of the playoffs or — if everything goes very wrong — watching from home.
The small amount of rest that the Timbers got Diegos Chara and Valeri during the Timbers three matches last week will hopefully be some help against a resilient Dallas side, but the loss of Sebastian Blanco to yellow card accumulation for this match does hurt. The Timbers have leaned on Blanco to create alongside Valeri in their often undermanned attacking group. Blanco’s seven goals and nine assists compare favorably to Valeri’s ten goals — four of which came from the penalty spot — and ten assists, and all that production will be missed.
Equally important to this match will be how the Timbers react to FC Dallas’s love of the counter. The Timbers have been abused by teams that are comfortable sitting back and welcoming them forward several times this year and Dallas is perhaps the best in the league at doing just that. Steve Clark and the defenders in front of him will need to be wary of the long balls into space that Dallas feast on and that have proven to be a real weakness of the Timbers this year.
Storylines: “So basically, FC Dallas has their ticket into the playoffs, though they haven’t been able to clinch the West just yet — there are only two points separating them and Sporting KC. While the Timbers worry about making the playoffs (they still have a pretty good chance), FC Dallas basically knows they’re headed to the postseason; it just depends on where they will be seeded going into the postseason.”
And stop by the Rose City Forecast to make your predictions about today’s match.
Watch it on: FOX 12 Plus (KPDX)
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR.
When: Saturday, September 29th at 7:30 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 13-9-8, 5th place in the Western Conference, lost 3-2 at Minnesota United
FC Dallas: 15-6-8, 1st place in the Western Conference, won 2-1 at Vancouver Whitecaps