Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo | 2017 Conference Semifinal Preview

Match Image: Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo - November 5, 2017

Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo
Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs 
– Western Conference Semifinals
Providence Park – Portland, Ore. 
7:30 pm ET – Nov. 5, 2017
WATCH: FS1, FOX Deportes (USA) | TSN, TVAS (CAN)

It may be a matter of the team doing the most with the least in the decisive second leg of the Western Conference Semifinal series between the Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo on Sunday. The teams, knotted at 0-0 in the series after the first leg in Houston, now head to Portland with a spot in the Western Conference Championship on the line.

For the Timbers, the draw in Houston wasn't a terrible result but they'll need to avoid a loss or score draw at home or else the Dynamo will advance. The problem for Portland, however, is the mounting list of injuries on Caleb Porter's squad.

In addition to the confirmed loss of influential midfielder Diego Chara to a broken foot and the ongoing questions surrounding first-choice striker Fanendo Adi's health, a raft of new injuries beset the Timbers. Sebastian Blanco and David Guzman were scratches in Leg 1 due to injuries and along with the injury substitutions used on Darlington Nagbe and Larrys Mabiala during the game, all four starters are being evaluated and may have to miss the must-win match. Saturday brought more bad news, as defender Roy Miller ruptured his Achilles in PTFC training and faces a long stretch on the sidelines.

The Dynamo were without starting defenders AJ DeLaGarza and Leonardo in the home match due to injuries, and while Leonardo's status moving forward is uncertain, Adolfo Machado and Philippe Senderos teamed up well in the center of defense in Leg 1. Veteran left back DaMarcus Beasley suffered a quad strain on Saturday and is out for the Portland match.

Houston will have to switch goalkeepers, however, as Tyler Dericis suspended due to an off-field matter, meaning Joe Willis is in line to make his first MLS Cup Playoffs appearance since 2012. While Deric had taken over the starter mantle over the course of the season, Willis has made regular appearances for the Dynamo, including eight starts in MLS regular season play this season.

Portland Timbers

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next yellow card: D Alvas Powell, D Larrys Mabiala
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Gbenga Arokoyo (Achilles), D Chance Myers (ankle), M Diego Chara (foot), D Roy Miller (ruptured Achilles); QUESTIONABLE: D Larrys Mabiala (hip), F Fanendo Adi (hamstring), M Darlington Nagbe (calf), M David Guzman (knee), M Sebastian Blanco (burns), M Ben Zemanski (knee)

Projected Starting Lineup
(4-2-3-1 left to right)
GK: Jeff Attinella – Vytas Andriuskevicius, Liam Ridgewell, Roy Miller, Alvas Powell – Amobi Okugo, Lawrence Olum – Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, Dairon Asprilla – Darren Mattocks

Houston Dynamo

  • Suspended: GK Tyler Deric (Off-field conduct)
  • Suspended after next yellow card: D Phillippe Senderos, M Ricardo Clark, D Adolfo Machado, F Romell Quioto, F Alberth Elis
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D George Malki (torn ACL), D AJ DeLaGarza (torn ACL); D Leonardo, D DaMarcus Beasley (quadricep); DOUBTFUL: M Memo Rodriguez (knee)

Projected Starting Lineup
(4-2-3-1, left to right)
GK: Joe Willis – DaMarcus Beasley, Adolfo Machado, Phillippe Senderos, Jalil Anibaba – Juan David Cabezas, Ricardo Clark – Eric Alexander, Tomas Martinez, Alberth Elis – Mauro Manotas

All-Time Series

Given that the Leg 1 scoreless draw was the first-ever meeting in the MLS Cup Playoffs between the teams, they now each have a 0-0-1 record against each other in the postseason.

  • Overall (regular season): Portland 4 wins (19 goals) … Houston 4 wins (19 goals) … Ties 4
  • At POR (regular season): Portland 3 wins (9 goals) … Houston 1 win (6 goals) … Ties 1


Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Kathryn Nesbitt, Apolinar Mariscal
4th Official: Jose Carlos Rivero
Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Edvin Jurisevic