The Portland Timbers are on a five hame unbeaten streak following last week's 2-2 road draw against Real Salt Lake, but today the Timbers will put their run on the line as they return home to face the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo may be basement dwellers in the West, but with the team's recent shake up following the departure of Owen Coyle, Houston are also undefeated in their last three matches.
With the rest of the week's matches wrapped up, a win today would guarantee that the Timbers move up above the red line for the first time since early in the season, moving the team all the way up to 5th place in the West -- although the Timbers would still be in 7th place in points per game.
Houston Preview Interview: "Things have not radically shifted, but we have seen some change under Interim Head Coach Wade Barrett. He moved away from Owen Coyle's preferred 4-2-3-1 in favor of a 4-1-4-1 and has emphasized a tough mentality that he exuded himself as a player. It's this, "make it difficult for teams to beat us" frame of mind that has helped the team be unbeaten under his control. Of course, the team is also winless so there's certainly room to grow, specifically on offense. The team has the talent to turn it around, and likely has the direction to so now. Is it too late? Possibly, but right now the team has to take it one game at a time."
Timbers Preview Interview: For the most part, folks agree that the Timbers are a talented and deep team, particularly in the attack. However, the Timbers have not had much luck on the defensive end, a facet of the club that most assumed would be a strength coming into this season. That, combined with some agitating for a transfer from star striker Fanendo Adi, has people doing some significant worrying right now.
Still, the Timbers are on an upward trajectory, having just managed to grab their first shutout of the season and riding a five game unbeaten streak against MLS competition. If the Timbers can continue picking up points at their current pace, the season could turn around quickly."
And don't forget to stop by Lost Fervor's prediction thread.
Watch it on: ESPN2
Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland, OR
Portland Timbers: 5-6-5, 8th place in the Western Conference
Houston Dynamo: 3-7-5, 10th place in the Western Conference