Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo Preview Interview

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Last season's first win came against Houston. Dynamo Theory helps us figure out if this same will be true this year.

The Houston Dynamo won its first two games by a combined score of 5-0. Since then they've been outscored 12-2 and have lost four of five. They'll host the Portland Timbers, who remain winless on the season and scored half of its eight goals in a single game. Something has to give, right? For more on this once-a-year game, we turned to SB Nation's Houston blog, Dynamo Theory. Alicia Tolar was kind enough to put the bottle down after Wednesday's game in New Jersey to answer a few questions about how the Dynamo's season has gone and how it leads up to Sunday afternoon's affair at BBVA Compass Stadium:

1. After a big start to the season, scoring has dried up in Houston, especially in the past three games. What's happened?

I think that is really the best way to sum it up. Nothing has happened. No production from our forwards, no production from our midfield and no production from our defense. Our forwards aren't getting the ball from the midfield. They need the ball to be able to get shots off and the precious few times they do get the ball they sky it. Will Bruin is still Will Bruin. Giles Barnes is better in the midfield than he is up top. The midfield has suffered during this road trip with Brad Davis staying home to nurse his ankle sprain. And our defense? Ugh, to say we need to pull Jermaine Taylor out of the starting line-up is an understatement. Communication in the back is sorely lacking and has been costly.

2. In New Jersey the Dynamo defenders were carved up by the movement of Bradley Wright-Phillips and the passing of Thierry Henry. Harbinger for similar struggles this weekend, or one-off?

I would like to think that it was a one-off but if you look at the season as a whole fans may be in for a long season. Our defense is a mess. David Horst has been a god send, thanks for him by the way. With Brunner out injured we have mostly been stuck with Jermaine Taylor as his partner in the middle but rookie AJ Cochran is who should be in the middle with him. I think if Dom finally makes the switch then things will improve but if we are stuck with Taylor for the season we may be looking at a 2010-like year.

3. If Ricardo Clark is missing, how will that affect Houston's set-up against Portland?

There are two big things that factor into that. If Clark is gone and if Davis is unable to go a full 90 then we are in big trouble. Davis is our number one leader on the field and when he is gone Clark usually steps into the roll. To be missing both would be a huge loss for the Dynamo. Playing at BBVA helps gain a little but not enough. This team needs some shake-ups in the starting XI but I don't think Dom will be willing to make them unless he has his leaders healthy. If he is willing to make changes at all.

Bonus:

Expected XI:

Tally Hall, Corey Ashe, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, Kofi Sarkodie; Brad Davis, Warren Creavalle, Boniek Garcia, Tony Cascio; Giles Barnes, Will Bruin

Known Injuries/Absences:

Eric Brunner - out ankle

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