After a bracing pair of wins in the U.S. Open Cup during Major League Soccer’s international break, the Portland Timbers are set to return to league play tonight when they host the Houston Dynamo at Providence Park. The match will be the Timbers’ first in MLS since dropping a close 3-2 result to Los Angeles FC during the reopening of Providence Park three weeks ago.
With the Gold Cup and Copa America ongoing — and Sebastian Blanco serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation — both sides will be missing players for today’s match. A quick examination of how that will affect both sides reveals that the missing players seem to even out with key Dynamo players Alberth Elis and Maynor Figueroa, and regular substitutes Romell Quioto and Darwin Ceren away with their respective national teams, while the Timbers are missing Blanco and Bill Tuiloma from their preferred starting XI, and regular contributors Andy Polo and Andres Flores from the bench.
Absences aside, the Timbers come into this match in rampant form despite having lost their last league match. Since the arrival of Brian Fernandez, the Timbers have been scoring goals at an alarming rate with the new designated player the main culprit. Since arriving in Portland, Fernandez has scored seven goal in five games across all competitions, including the game tying goal in his first MLS appearance which just so happened to be against Houston.
Assuming Fernandez can keep up with the expectations that he has set for himself, the rest of the Timbers’ attack should benefit. Jeremy Ebobisse, Diego Valeri, and maybe even Tomas Conechny are all set to make use of the attention being paid to Fernandez.
Storylines: “Keep in mind the last time these two teams met it ended in a 1-1 draw and we saw the debut of Brian Fernandez who bagged his first MLS goal. Can the Timbers use home cooking to get past the Houston Dynamo and start their climb up the table or will Houston play spoiler and take all three points?”
And stop by the Rose City Forecast to register your predictions for today’s match.
Watch it on: ROOT Sports
Where: Providence Park in Portland, OR
When: Saturday, June 22nd at 8:00 p.m. PT
Portland Timbers: 4-7-2, 12th place in the Western Conference, lost 2-3 vs. Los Angeles FC
Houston Dynamo: 7-3-3, 4th place in the Western Conference, drew 1-1 vs. Sporting Kansas City