Fresh off of their first win since May 14, a 3-0 drubbing of the Colorado Rapids, the Portland Timbers (4-7-6) welcome the Houston Dynamo (6-3-7) to town for a midweek game at Providence Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PST.
A Look at the Opposition:
Sam described the result against Colorado in the best way possible in his article yesterday: A much-needed win. But as is the case for the remainder of what is a condensed second-half of the season, the Timbers have to move on from their result, and do so quickly, as they host the 8th-in-Western Conference Houston Dynamo on just three full days of rest.
In the reverse fixture earlier this season, the Timbers went down to Houston and earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw against the 10-man Dynamo. It was a game which should only be looked at as a good result if you know anything about the Timbers playing in Texas, much less doing so in April. Since then, Houston has lost six out of nine games, and currently sit just two-points ahead of the Timbers in the West, albeit with a game in hand.
The two clear danger-men for the Dynamo are Sebastián Ferreira and Darwin Quintero, who have each tallied 6 goals this season to go along with a combined 4 assists. Luckily for the Timbers, Houston’s newly-acquired Mexico international and designated-player Héctor Herrera is not yet with the team, having left Atlético Madrid earlier this summer. Former Timbers Army-favorite Steve Clark will also make his first appearance back in Portland since his departure in the offseason, but it appears no love has been lost between him and current shot-stopper Aljaž Ivačič:
Aljaz Ivacic and Steve Clark seemingly have a little rivalry. After Dynamo-Timbers in April, Ivacic said they didn’t talk pre or postgame..— Bill (@PTFCball) June 28, 2022
“We did not talk because he refused to handshake before the game.” #RCTID #HoldItDown https://t.co/yptfrcYfRY pic.twitter.com/DwdeHS3MGu
Timbers’ Team News:
The Timbers will be without Cristhian Paredes for the match against Houston after the midfielder sustained a hamstring injury in the Colorado win, however according to Giovanni Savarese, the injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as it first appeared and Paredes could play a part against Nashville SC this weekend. This likely means Eryk Williamson will get the nod as Diego Chará’s midfield partner after absolutely running the game in the second half vs the Rapids.
And on short rest, the Savarese also expects Felipe Mora to play his largest role of the season thus far:
After not appearing last match, Felipe Mora will start on the bench tomorrow and be ready for about 20 minutes of game time, according to Gio. #RCTID— Sam Svilar (@sammich923) June 28, 2022
Larrys Mabiala will also be available for selection again after serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation in the previous match.
The Timbers face a tricky opponent in the Houston Dynamo, but Portland are more than capable of getting a result. Simply put, Portland has played really well since the international break, taking four points from a possible six against two in-conference opponents higher in the standings than them.
To be frank, the Timbers have to continue that vein of form if they have any chance at sneaking into the playoffs after their slow start, and I expect them to do so against the Dynamo. Houston’s only win in their last three games was against a terrible Chicago Fire side, and I just think that the Timbers at home, with a (mostly) healthy roster and on better form, take care of business.
I’m predicting a 3-1 win before the team leaves for two tough road matches against Nashville and the Sounders.