Fight fire with fire: Houston Dynamo will look to match Portland Timbers' game plan Saturday
HOUSTON – There will not be much bunkering from the Houston Dynamo when they travel to JELD-WEN Field to face the Portland Timbers on Saturday night (10:30 pm ET, watch FREE on MLS Stream of the Week).
Through the first month of the season, the Dynamo have shown a willingness to take the game to their opponent, both home and away, and intend to do the same when it comes to their match against the Timbers.
Considering Portland rookie head coach Caleb Porter’s possession-based attack, it could make for a wild night in the Pacific Northwest.
“There’s no reason for us to go there and sit back,” star midfielder Brad Davis said after Thursday’s training session. “With the way things are going right now we’re moving the ball well, playing well and we’re coming off two good victories. We want to go there and get after them and pressure them and let them know from the first whistle that we’re there to play and get a result and hopefully we come away with it.
“It could be a very exciting game.”
Houston’s only previous trip to Portland was a crucial 2-0 win in 2011 that played a big role in their qualification for the MLS playoffs. This time around the Dynamo will be facing a very different Timbers squad that under Porter is transitioning to an attack that can be dangerous on the counter or in possession, with the likes of Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe leading the charge.
“They’ve got a little bit of everything,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I think they have some skill and technical guile. They’ve shown different looks. You just have to deal with what you see the first couple of minutes during the game.”
If Porter’s squad is looking to push the issue they will find a willing partner in a Dynamo squad that will look to push back on the road. Houston showed that mentality off against FC Dallas in their first MLS road game of the season. Houston played the West leaders even that day in an entertaining 3-2 loss that had goals and drama.
“We scored some away goals, which is good because it means we’re firing away. We’ve got to continue to do that and then lock in defensively,” Kofi Sarkodie said of the Dallas performance. “[Portland’s] going to try and play it out of the back and in the midfield and there’ll be a lot of combination play up top. It’s one of those games where you have to stay sharp for 90 minutes.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.