Sounders Insider

Timbers-Dallas highlights short MLS weekend

LogoMLSThe Sounders are off this weekend, but there are five MLS games scheduled.

The highlight is a big Western Conference match with top-seeded Dallas visiting one-beaten Portland.

Here's a look ahead from the league:

Resurgent FC Dallas and Portland Timbers battle on ESPN Saturday at 2 p.m. PT Who is the most improved team in Major League Soccer in 2013? Two Western Conference clubs with a case meet in this week’s ESPN match -- Portland Timbers FC vs. FC Dallas (Saturday, 2 p.m. PT, ESPN), from always-packed JELD-WEN Field.

Both the Timbers and FC Dallas missed out on the MLS Playoffs in 2012 but now find themselves earning points more often than not. Timbers first-year coach Caleb Porter has orchestrated a 12-game unbeaten streak and FC Dallas’ veteran boss Schellas Hyndman has his club atop the West standings.

The Timbers have lost just once in six games at JELD-WEN this season.

· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A late Kenny Cooper penalty kick for FC Dallas canceled out a Darlington Nagbe goal seven minutes earlier to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw, May 8 in Frisco.· The Timbers have not defeated FC Dallas now in five meetings, since winning the first match ever between the clubs, April 17, 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field.

· The Timbers extended their undefeated streak to 12 games in league play last weekend, despite being pegged back to a 2-2 draw by the Chicago Fire after taking a 2-0 lead.

· Portland’s Fredéric Piquionne recorded assists on both goals in Chicago, giving him three assists in the last two games. The two matches sandwiched his four-goal outing in the Timbers’ third round Open Cup victory against Wilmington.

· FC Dallas striker Blas Pérez scored both goals in the club’s last match, a 2-2 draw at Colorado on June 1, his first in MLS since April 20. He will miss the Portland match while on national team duty – but he was not available either for Panamá for the crunch World Cup qualifier against the USA on Tuesday, suffering from gastroenteritis.

D.C. United vs. Toronto FC, 4 p.m.· D.C. United were shut out for a third consecutive match, the fifth time in seven games and the ninth time this season in a scoreless draw with New England on Saturday, a result that extended their winless streak to a club-record 12 matches.

· United goalkeeper Bill Hamid recorded his first shutout since March 16, making four saves in the result at New England.

· Toronto FC are riding an 11-game winless streak, returning to action for the first time since a 1-1 home draw with Philadelphia Union on June 1. The tie snapped a five-game losing streak for TFC.

· D.C. United have a two-year undefeated streak alive against Toronto FC. United won all three meetings last season, winning twice at BMO Field; TFC’s last win in the all-time series came Oct. 23, 2010 at RFK Stadium.

Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact, 4:30 p.m. (UDN)· The Impact come into the match riding a three-game winning streak, their last match a 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City on June 1.

· In their first match since the season-ending injury to midfielder Eddie Gaven, the Crew were shut out 3-0 at Philadelphia Union last week.

· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Montréal’s Marco Di Vaio and Dominic Oduro of Columbus traded goals four minutes apart midway through the second half as the teams reached a 1-1 draw, April 14 at Stade Saputo in a game delayed a day because of a snowstorm.

· The Crew won both meetings between the teams at Crew Stadium in the Impact’s inaugural season a year ago.

Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 6 p.m.· Atiba Harris scored a pair of goals, his second and third in the last two games, to give Colorado a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas in their last match, June 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The draw extended the Rapids undefeated streak to six games.

· The game will be the first in charge for interim head coach Mark Watson, who took over the reins of the Earthquakes after Frank Yallop and the club parted ways on Friday. The Quakes have won once in their last 11 matches, their last match a 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake on June 1.

· The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Marvín Chavez scored in the 78th minute for San Jose, answering a Rapids goal from Nathan Sturgis in the first half, as the teams played to a 1-1 draw May 18 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

· The Rapids last defeated San Jose in the first meeting in the 2011 season. The Quakes have won three of the five meetings since, with two draws, including all three matches last season.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. New England Revolution, 7 p.m.· The Revolution extended their shutout streak to 395 minutes, the longest in club history, in their scoreless draw with D.C. United last weekend, stretching their undefeated streak to five games.

· Whitecaps FC saw their three-game undefeated streak come to an end last weekend as Seattle Sounders FC claimed a 3-2 win in a thrilling Cascadia Cup encounter at CenturyLink Field.

· Camilo Sanvezzo scored both Vancouver goals in the match in Seattle. He has three goals and an assist in the last three matches; it was his third two-goal in his three MLS seasons.

· The Revolution are undefeated all-time in three meetings with Whitecaps FC. New England has won both games at Gillette Stadium, including a 4-1 triumph in the only meeting last season; the teams played to a draw in the only game in Vancouver, April 6, 2011 at Empire Field.