Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo 04-07-2013 - Preview

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Portland Timbers
2 - 0
Final
Houston Dynamo
MLS Regular Season
April 6, 2013
10:30pm EDT
JELD-WEN Field
MLS LIVE

MLS Match Preview: Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo

PORTLAND TIMBERS vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
JELD-WEN FIELD, Portland, Ore.
April 6, 2013 (WEEK 6, MLS Game #49)
7:30 p.m. PT (ROOT-NW; CSN-Hou2)
MLS Stream of the Week on MLSsoccer.com

The Portland Timbers will be looking to make Caleb Porter a winner for the first time in Major League Soccer as head coach when they entertain the MLS Cup finalist Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers came roaring back for their third draw in four starts last weekend, snatching a 2-2 draw at Colorado. The Dynamo made it three wins from four starts and extended their home undefeated streak last weekend with a 2-0 victory against San Jose.

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REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 162 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 47; pens: 58

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Dynamo 2 wins, 4 goals … Ties 1
AT PORTLAND (1 meeting): Timbers 0 wins, 0 goals … Dynamo 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/15: HOU 0, POR 0

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Timbers have yet to defeat the Dynamo since coming into MLS. A year ago, the teams played to a scoreless draw at BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston won both meeting in Portland’s inaugural MLS season of 2011.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. POR: P3 W2 L0 D1… Caleb Porter vs. HOU: first game

PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Portland Timbers made a roaring comeback but still saw their season-opening winless streak extended to four games, playing to a 2-2 result with the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. The Timbers are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 3 points from 4 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The hosts broke through after a quarter-hour in stunning fashion. Cutting inside after a pass from defender Chris Klute, Dillon Powers unleashed a rocket of a shot from 20 yards out and found the far side of the goal past a helpless Donovan Ricketts.
  • The Rapids then doubled their lead three minutes after the second-half restart. Striker Tony Cascio drew a penalty as he faked a shot and drew a trip from Diego Chará, and Hendry Thomas finished cleanly from the spot.
  • But the Timbers pulled a goal back in the 55th minute. After a corner kick was cleared, Ryan Johnson’s cross back into the box found an unmarked Will Johnson, and the Timbers captain easily headed home from short distance.
  • Portland completed the comeback in the 71st minute through an unlikely source. Colorado's Atiba Harris tried to clear a ball out of his own penalty area, but he clipped Portland’s David Horst in the chest in the process, and referee Drew Fischer pointed to the spot. Will Johnson finished from the mark, the Timbers' first penalty kick in more than a year, to leave the teams tied.
  • Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders. David Horst came into the back four in place of Mikael Silvestre.
  • PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-2-3): Donovan Ricketts - Ben Zemanski, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, David Horst, Michael Harrington - Jack Jewsbury (Rodney Wallace 64) – Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Diego Valeri, Ryan Johnson (Kalif Alhassan 88), Darlington Nagbe (Frederic Piquionne 46).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Timbers saw their winless run extended to four matches to open the season, head coach Caleb Porter still looking for a first MLS victory. Since the start of last August, the Timbers have won just once in their last 12 MLS matches.
  • “I think we need a breakthrough, in all honesty. I’m new, these guys are new and we’re all competitors and we all want to win and we haven’t won and so it creates a bit of frustration,” said Porter. “... I think it’s just getting that first goal, which we haven’t gotten, and getting that first win and I think this whole thing will start to snowball. These guys know we're on the cusp of a breakthrough. They’re not happy, but they a very upbeat and encouraged. It will come.”
  • For the fourth time in as many matches this season, the Timbers conceded the opening goal. “We’ve kind of been the comeback kids. We don’t want to be coming back as much as we have been,” said Porter. “People will focus on the negatives, and obviously there are some negatives: we haven’t won a game in four and we’ve given up the first goal in four games. I’m focused on the positives. We’ve only lost one game.”
  • Will Johnson scored two goals in a game for the first time in his MLS career, in 124 career league appearances.
  • “You just have to focus one goal at a time. 2-0 is I think the most dangerous lead in soccer because as soon as you get one, you’re flying, and you’re coming right down their throat, and the other team usually can’t handle it,” said Johnson. “We knew if we were able to get the first one, that that was the hardest one, and that we’d be able to get a second.”
  • Will Johnson’s second goal came from the penalty spot, Portland’s first penalty kick since Oct. 22, 2011 – a span of 37 league matches. The streak between penalty attempts is the fifth-longest in MLS history. The last penalty converted by the Timbers was in a 2-2 home draw against Toronto FC on July 30, 2011.
  • Center back David Horst made his first appearance of the season after missing the first three matches of the season due to an injury sustained early in preseason. Horst started in place of Mikael Silvestre, who did not dress due to a strained adductor.
  • “I’ve pretty much been away for two months, not playing at all. I’ve only been back playing 8-10 days or so,” said Horst. “To get thrown back in like that, I was a little nervous at first, but the back four got me settled down, and I got into a little groove again.”
  • Now unbeaten in their last three road matches, dating back to a 1-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Oct. 21, 2012, the Timbers are one road result away from matching their MLS club mark for longest road unbeaten streak – four games from Oct. 2, 2011, to March 17, 2012.

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo tied the MLS record for the longest home undefeated streak, getting two first-half goals for a 2-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 9 points from 4 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo controlled the match from the outset and took the lead in the 21st minute. Boniek García nutmegged a defender on the right and sent in a low pass, where Will Bruin took no time in slotting home a professional finish.
  • The home side doubled the lead just before the first half ended. Freed on the left flank, Brad Davis lifted a teasing cross that drew San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch off his line, only to be beaten by a streaking Giles Barnes, who thumped home a header from the heart of the area.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that recorded a 2-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Jermaine Taylor, Boniek Garcia and Brad Davis all returned from international duty, in place of Eric Brunner, Warren Creavalle and Andrew Driver.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Adam Moffat - Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 77) - Giles Barnes (Brian Ching 70), Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 83).

TEAM NEWS

  • With the victory, the Dynamo extended their home undefeated streak to 34 games over all competitions, matching the MLS record set by Real Salt Lake.
  • “You don’t get anything for it,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “You don’t get a T-shirt or a hat or a ring for it. You get a lot of points and get asked a lot of questions and a lot of satisfaction on a week-to-week basis, but in the end it goes down in a statistical record book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful accomplishment and I’m glad I’m part of the group that’s done it, but there is still a lot of stuff to be thought about as well.”
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in North American professional sports, the 1995-96 NBA Chicago Bulls hold the record with 44 undefeated games at home between March 30, 1995 and April 4, 1996.
  • The Dynamo also have the third-longest unbeaten run in league games to open a new facility at 20 games, behind the NBA’s Washington Capitols (27, at Uline Arena) and the WNBA’s LA Sparks (22, Staples Center).
  • Said goalkeeper Tally Hall: “We’re obviously aware of it, but the streak is not something we’re trying to add to. It’s always, ‘Let’s just get to No. 1.’ It’s always about the game we’re playing that day. When we started the streak we took the same attitude that day that we did today when we came in.”
  • For the first time this season, the Dynamo scored a goal in the first half – both vs. San Jose coming in the opening 45 minutes. Each of the Dynamo’s seven goals in their first five games in all competitions came after the interval, with five coming in the 79th minute or later.
  • “I think it puts [the opponents] under pressure and it rewards the guys for their hard work,” Kinnear said. “I think every game we step on the field, home or away, I’d like to see the guys impose their will on the other team. It gives you confidence, a boost of energy, when you get the first goal. Then the second goal right before half time was a really good one for us.”
  • Brad Davis, who was tied for fifth in assists in MLS in 2012 with 12, recorded his first league assist of the new season, setting up the Dynamo’s second goal.
  • “Everyone knows what an ability Brad has in his left foot,” Barnes said. “We just locked eyes and looked at each other. He knew where I wanted it and I just tried to get on the end of it.
  • Giles Barnes took over the club’s goals lead with his second of the season and his second in as many matches, while strike partner Will Bruin netted his first goal of the season to send the Dynamo on their way in the first half.
  • “I think it looks pretty good,” Kinnear said of the pairing. “I think there were a couple times in the [San Jose] game where they seemed to be looking for each other, and that comes from playing together more than just throwing them out there for just a game or two.”