FRISCO, Texas -- Portland Timbers manager Caleb Porter says that central defender Norberto Paparatto will "most likely" replace Liam Ridgewell in the starting lineup when the team faces FC Dallas in the second leg of the Western Conference finals on Sunday.
Ridgewell has struggled periodically with right calf problems ever since breaking his leg in 2009 while with English side Birmingham City, and the injury resurfaced 60 minutes into the first leg, forcing him to come off a minute later.
After the match, which Portland won 3-1, Ridgewell said that he had "just tweaked my calf a little bit. It's been a bit of an ongoing thing, so it will be fine."
But at Saturday's training session -- only the first 15 minutes of which were open to the media -- Ridgewell was seen warming up apart from his teammates, engaging in a series of stretching and agility exercises with a Portland trainer.
After training, Porter indicated that Ridgewell still hadn't completely healed from last Sunday's match.
"It's a little touch and go, [Ridgewell] is still a little sore," he said. "Most likely it will be Paparatto [starting]."
Paparatto has struggled for the most part since joining Portland before the start of the 2014 season, and the offseason arrival of Nat Borchers meant that Ridgewell and Borchers received the vast majority of the playing time in the center of defense.
Paparatto was victimized on Dallas' goal just moments after coming on in the first leg, as FCD forward David Texeira beat him to a low cross that he chipped over Timbers keeper Adam Kwarasey. But Paparatto redeemed himself in second-half stoppage time when his header from a Timbers corner sparked a melee that led to Borchers stabbing the ball home for Portland's third and final goal of the night.
Porter was, not surprisingly, taking an optimistic approach towards Paparatto's inclusion in the lineup.
"We've played Paparatto seven games this year, all competitions, and we've never lost," he said. "He does well when he has to step in and this will be no different."