A pair of teams headed in opposite directions in the MLS Western Conference will clash Saturday when the Portland Timbers travel to meet the Houston Dynamo
The Timbers (12-7-8, 44 points) have two victories and a draw in their last three matches, earning key late-season points. They sit in fifth place in the conference just ahead of the final playoff spot with seven matches remaining.
The Dynamo (7-13-7, 28 points) is currently in the midst of a freefall that appears to have eliminated a realistic chance at the playoffs for the defending conference champs. They are in 10th place in the conference after a 10-match winless streak, including losses in seven of their last eight matches.
The Timbers’ Sebastian Blanco was named the most recent MLS player of the week for his two-assist effort in Portland’s 2-0 victory over Colorado during one of three MLS matches during the international break. The Argentina national has six goals and eight assists this season.
Portland’s visit to Houston starts a stretch of three matches in a span of eight days for the Timbers, with two of those on the road (they also visit Minnesota on Sept. 22).
“We will see if what we are putting together now is what we will go forward with,” Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese said at his weekly press conference. “But we feel pretty comfortable in the decisions we are making because the guys look fresh, in good form and we have almost everybody available.”
Houston has conceded 16 goals during its 10-match winless streak, scoring just seven times. The international break seemed to arrive at the right time, following a 4-2 defeat at FC Dallas.
“We’re going to continue to work and fight,” Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera said, according to mlssoccer.com. “We can’t be forgetting how to defend and how to work together. We need to come back and give us the option to show ourselves. Now it’s about pride and to prove ourselves that we can come back, and we can avoid making defensive mistakes.”
Portland has never won at Houston in six previous matches, but there have been three ties, including the last meeting which ended in a 2-2 draw in July of last season.
—Field Level Media