Timbers still ailing ahead of weekend trip to FC Dallas

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers hit the road on Thursday for this weekend's match at FC Dallas (Saturday, 8:30 pm ET; MLS Live), and once again they’re unlikely to have the services of midfielder Franck Songo’o.

The recently signed Cameroon international returned to the team earlier this week after dealing with visa issues in Spain, but he’s yet to train. Songo’o (above) has been nursing a knee injury he suffered in a scrimmage on Feb. 23, meaning Kalif Alhassan, Eric Alexander and Darlington Nagbe will likely continue to be the choices on the flanks.

On the backline, Steve Purdy has also watched from the bench this week. He’s recovering from a knock to the face that required eight stitches in El Salvador’s international friendly loss to Estonia earlier this month.

“I’m hoping they might be somewhat available for something this weekend, but we’ll wait and see,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said. “You don’t see them on the training field, and I don’t like guys not practicing and turning up for games. I don’t think it’s a good habit to have.”

In a bit of good news, the Timbers will have Colombian defender Hanyer Mosquera available selection. Mosquera missed Monday’s First Kick match against Philadelphia when his International Transfer Certificate was delayed, but was ruled eligible this week. He trained with the team on Thursday before departing for Dallas.

Of course, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll make his debut. Rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste started alongside Eric Brunner at center back on Monday against the Union, and Spencer was happy with the defensive performance in the Timbers’ 3-1 victory.

Counting seven preseason matches, Portland have yet to allow more than one goal in a game and have given up a total of just four goals in that stretch.

“Our record of giving up goals in the preseason has been pretty good,” he said. “Even in the tournament we had here we were strong and capable of handling what was thrown at us.”

Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at dcitel@hotmail.com