The Dynamo have started the season on a roll, after beating the defending champions Seattle Sounders, and the subpar Columbus Crew they will be looking for their first 3-0 start in team history. Three players have really stuck out so far for Houston. Forwards Alberth Elis, Erick “Cubo” Torres, and Romell Quioto have been vital to Dynamo’s success so far this season by scoring all of Houston’s goals so far. Dynamo will be looking to their standout players to lead the goal scoring this week against a tough Portland defense. Luckily Houston has no big injuries of note this week, and on another high note Houston will welcome back another key piece in defender DaMarcus Beasley, who sat out last game against Columbus Crew with an injury. Dynamo will have to weather a powerful attack from Portland and Houston’s defenders will have to play aggressive and make sure forwards from Portland do not penetrate and get behind Dynamo’s defense to get easy goals. Houston will have to capitalize on every scoring chance they get because teams do not get many opportunities against Portland’s tough back line. If Houston is able to pull this game out, it would be a huge confidence boost, and will also prove that they’re a contender and not a pretender.
Coming off an odd game, to say the least, Portland has opened the season 2-0. In last week’s match against the LA Galaxy in LA, midfielder Diego Chara scored the only goal of the game in the 8th minute on a breakaway goal where Chara went from one end of the field to the other in only 17 seconds. LA’s defender Jelle Van Damme was ejected in the 34th minute on calls that seemed to be suspect, to say the least. The Timbers have been led this year by players such as Diego Valeri, midfielder Darlington Nagbe, forward Fanendo Adi, and Diego Chara. Each one of those players is tied for the team lead with 2 goals, but those players also can be considered playmakers for Portland. This will be Portland’s first true test this week, they have gone up against a weak Minnesota team, and also a subpar LA Galaxy team, that only played with 10 players after Van Damme’s ejection last week. Timbers captain defender Liam Ridgewell will miss Saturday’s game against Houston while defensive midfielder David Guzman and left back Vytautas Andriuškevičius (Vytas) remain questionable for the match. Ridgewell is dealing with a foot sprain and is expected to miss at least the next two weeks.
This is hands down the best matchup on paper so far in this young season, and I think that it will live up to its hype. Two high-powered offenses face off against 2 of the best defensive back lines in the MLS. What will give? How will the injury to Timbers captain Liam Ridgewell effect Portland? Will Houston show that they’re early season contenders or pretenders? There are quite a few questions that will hopefully be answered Saturday night. We will see what happens.
Prediction: This game is much tougher to predict than last week since these teams are so evenly matched. The score I predict is a 3-2 win for Houston. I think that Quioto and Torres will step up this week, along with midfielder Ricardo Clark. Dynamo has New York Red Bulls coming to BBVA Compass Stadium next week for a really tough matchup as NY has won 18 in a row heading into their matchup this weekend. I’ll be back Sunday with a post game recap.