The second leg of Portland’s three game road trip takes them to Houston, Texas. A city that is currently absorbed with the fate of their National Basketball Association team, the Houston Rockets. While the Dynamo might not be a true rival, the two cities aren’t exactly on friendly terms after the Portland Trailblazers stunned the Rockets in last year’s NBA playoffs. I’m hoping for a similarly stunning win tonight for the PTFC.
Houston is just behind Portland in the Western Conference standings, tied with 13 points. One key stat for Timbers fans is the Dynamo’s goals allowed which stands at 14, highest in the conference. Houston is also fairly high in goals scored with 13, led by Giles Barnes with 5.
Barnes might lead the team in goals, but Will Bruin scares me as a Timbers fan. He’s big and can get on the end of crosses. Behind the pair of forwards are Brad Davis and Ricardo Clark pulling the strings. Davis needs to be taken out of the game, otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the stat sheet with an assist. Clark is whole different beast in the midfield with some real pace to his game. He’s going to be a tough matchup in the middle-left of Portland’s defense. Wallace will likely be needed to track back a bit more to cover for Clark’s speed.
The only thing on my mind regarding Portland is how long Caleb Porter leaves Diego Valeri on the field. Portland is infinitely better with him out there. I want to see the maestro on the stat sheet again, but with at least one assist this week. Valeri is just what’s needed to get Adi, Wallace, Nagbe, and Asprilla into the attack. Anything that can get Adi and Nagbe out of their scoring slumps would be much appreciated.
Timber to Watch: Alvas Powell. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alvas get a goal or assist today with so much attention being paid to Nagbe and Valeri. I and the club are sure going to miss the kid when national duty finally arrives this Summer.
Portland Timbers: Kwarasey; Villafana, Ridgewell, Borchers, Powell; Jewsbury, Chara; Wallace, Valeri, Nagbe; Adi
Houston Dynamo: Deric; Beasley, Taylor, Horst, Rodriguez; Lopez, Garrido, Clark, Garcia; Barnes, Bruin