The Story So Far...
The Timbers made their trip to the great white north with barely a squad, and came out with a win. Honestly I didn’t have a lot of hope going into this match, being so shorthanded. But they proved me wrong and took all three points on the road.
Shout out to Jeremy Ebobisse netting his first MLS Goal.
Now the boys in green and gold head to the heat of Houston Texas to take on the Dynamo. Wilmer Cabrera and his squad have turned BBVA Compass Stadium into a fortress, more on that later. The Timbers have a leg up with the 4-2 win in the reverse fixture back in March.
Can the Timbers pull of another victory on the road in a hostile environment?
The Warrior's Return
The Timbers should have five players available on Saturday night that they didn’t have in Vancouver. Darlington Nagbe, Darren Mattocks, Alvas Powell and David Guzman. They’re all returning from Gold Cup duty and depending on evaluation they could see minutes on Sunday. Fanendo Adi will also be available as he’s finished his stupid red card suspension and no doubt starts.
Nagbe played 89 minutes, Mattocks played 89 and Powell the full 90 in the final on Wednesday. So we’re looking at not a lot of rest.
Wilmer Cabrera and company love the friendly confines of BBVA Compass Stadium. They have yet to lose at home with a record of 8-0-2. The only team that has a better record at home than Houston is the Chicago Fire.
They’re scary good on home soil.
One of the main players in their attack is Erick “Cubo” Torres. He has 12 goals on the season, 9 of those at home. Second to him is Alberth Elis who has 5 goals in the comfort of BBVA Compass Stadium. They are currently third in the West on PPG, with a healthy 1.47.
Built For Speed
The Dynamo are built to score, not collect clean sheets.
Houston is currently averaging almost 2 goals a game (1.7). After re-watching some of the match from March and a few others, Houston loves to sit back on the counter and then hit you where it hurts. They are willing to give up a bit of possession to let this happen (47% pos for the season).
It’s the one of the main things that the Timbers need to be worried about - and keeping an eye on Cubo Torres at all times.
They have scored 37 total goals (tied with the Timbers) on the season, 27 of those coming at home. Leaving the last 10 on the road, where up until last week they had yet to win a match (1-7-3). They got that monkey off their back by beating hapless DC United. When it comes to the Timbers 37 goals, only 14 of them have come on the road.
It’s all about the home cooking.
It’s going to be a tough task of getting a positive result in Texas, I know I said that about the Vancouver match and hey I’d like to be wrong again. Currently the Dynamo sit above us in the standings by two points. A win means we leapfrog Houston we’re tied with SKC (depending on how they do this weekend). With the returning bevy of players our chances just went up.
As I mentioned above Houston are built to attack, not defend. They’ll give up goals, the Timbers are just going to have to press them into the stands. They can do it, and after you get that first one it’ll relieve some pressure.
You can’t nap on this Houston club especially at home.
The other telling story will be how many of our Gold Cup returnees will end up in the starting XI. I’ll assume that Nagbe and Guzman will be in the starting XI. Which is not optimal for Nagbe, but Porter will be Porter.