Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

In the midst of an international break, and on the back of their first win in over a month, Portland Timbers are set to square up FC Dallas in a marquee Saturday night showdown at Providence Park (7:30 pm, TV on KPDX).

Dallas has always been an excellent litmus test for the Timbers. Last season, three separate reverses against Oscar Pareja's team kept the Timbers from the playoffs. But two years ago, it was Dallas who the Timbers beat to reach MLS Cup.

The History

This is the second meeting of the year between the Timbers and FC Dallas, with the teams having played to an entertaining 2-2 draw in Frisco at the end of April.

It was a good result for Portland by any measure, but it was an especially good result as compared to what transpired last season β€” when Dallas beat the Timbers three times by a combined score of 8-3 and beat them at Providence Park 3-1 in a game in which they were 3-0 up inside a half hour.

Both the Timbers and Dallas β€” after that game in Frisco β€” endured torrid Mays. Portland didn't win a single game in the month, while Dallas, after beating Real Salt Lake to open the month, then went on a four-game winless streak.

That was the longest barren run in Oscar Pareja's three years in charge of the Texas club. It ended last week, just a day after the Timbers' own winless run ended.

The Tactics

With this game coming in the thick of the June international break, both teams will be significantly shorthanded β€” taking some of the shine off of what would otherwise be a highly anticipated, headline game.

The Timbers will again be without Darlington Nagbe, who is in Mexico City preparing for the U.S.' World Cup qualifier on Sunday night at the Estadio Azteca. David Guzman is away with Costa Rica, while Alvas Powell β€” recently unseated at right back β€” is in Jamaica camp.

Dairon Asprilla is in line for another start on the right wing, where he played his best game of the season last Friday night against San Jose, while Guzman will likely be replaced by Lawrence Olum. That should be Caleb Porter's only change.

Dallas, on the other hand, has been significantly weakened by call-ups and a big injury. Both of their sterling starting center backs, Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman, will both be unavailable; along with standout central midfielder Kellyn Acosta. Tesho Akindele and Maynor Figueroa are out as well.

The good news for Dallas is that their playmaker Mauro Diaz, who tore his ACL last October, has made two consecutive substitute appearances and could return to the starting lineup on Saturday night.

Diaz's full return should give his team a similar kind of boost to what the Timbers got when Diego Valeri returned from his ACL tear β€” suffered in Frisco β€” in the late spring of 2015. Maxi Urruti is set to start for the visitors as well.

The Lineup

90 - Gleeson
5 - Vytas
24 - Ridgewell (C)
7 - Miller
16 - Valentin
13 - Olum
21 - Chara
10 - Blanco
8 - Valeri
27 - Asprilla
9 - Adi

The Pick

MLS is only playing three games this weekend, and it's unfortunate that this β€” an excellent matchup β€” was scheduled as one of them. That said, we still should get a highly entertaining game. It will finish, again, 2-2.