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Jun 24, 2021 at 1.30am UK
HoustonHouston Dynamo
2-2
PortlandPortland Timbers
Picault (15'), Pasher (33')
Picault (59')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Asprilla (50'), Ebobisse (90+1')
Bonilla (38'), Mabiala (72'), Blanco (73')

Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Major League Soccer clash between Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Houston Dynamo take on Portland Timbers in the Western Conference in the MLS on Wednesday.

The two sides head into the meeting level on points inside the playoff positions, with Portland two places ahead of their forthcoming opponents courtesy of boasting a superior goal difference.


Match preview

Having failed to qualify for the playoffs in six of the previous seven seasons, Houston are desperately hoping for a better campaign under Tab Ramos.

Dynamo have stuck by the 54-year-old, who made 81 appearances for the United States national team despite being born in Montevideo, Uruguay, after a difficult debut season in the dugout last year.

Indeed, Houston finished 12th in the Western Conference with only 21 points from 23 games, with their hopes of adding a third MLS Cup to the two they won back-to-back in 2006 and 2007 looking a long way off at present.

In former Wigan Athletic and Hull City defender Maynor Figueroa, who has made 168 caps and counting for Honduras, they possess an experienced defender to help them at the back.

Despite only being founded in 2009, Portland have certainly enjoyed greater success than Houston in recent years, winning the MLS Cup for the first time in 2015 before losing in the final to Atlanta United three years later.

Giovanni Savarese was in charge of that final having taken over as manager in December 2017, but has failed to guide the Timbers past the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

However, the fact that Portland have reached the playoffs in five of the past six campaigns shows signs of a very healthy club indeed, with Savarese hoping to win the MLS Cup for the first time this season.

Three wins from their last four matches suggests that they may not be too far away; a win in Houston on Wednesday would go a long way towards cementing their position in the playoff positions.

Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Portland Timbers Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Portland Timbers form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

It remains to be seen whether Ethan Bartlow will be involved for Houston on Wednesday, with the defender yet to feature for the club this season having sustained concussion in April.

Fafa Picault and Matias Vera will need to be careful as one more yellow card would see them incur a suspension, having already received four bookings this season.

Portland, meanwhile, look set to travel without long-term absentees Ismaila Jome, Jeff Attinella, Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Cristhian Paredes.

The quartet have not featured for some time due to Achilles tendon injuries, though, while Andy Polo also tore a muscle last month.

Defender Dario Zuparic is on four cautions for the season and, like Picault and Vera, would miss the next match should he receive another.

Houston Dynamo possible starting lineup:
Maric; Valentin, Parker, Figueroa, Junqua; Vera, Jones, Rodriguez; Picault, Urruti, Pasher

Portland Timbers possible starting lineup:
Clark; Van Rankin, Tuiloma, Zuparic, Bravo; Loria, Williamson, Chara, Asprilla; Ebobisse, Valeri


We say: Houston Dynamo 1-2 Portland Timbers

Portland have a game in hand on Houston, and we expect them to open up a three-point gap over them on top of that after looking improved of late.

With both sides scoring and conceding more than a goal per game on average so far this season, it should be an entertaining affair regardless of the result.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



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Major League Soccer Table

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England17113333211236
2Orlando City168442621528
3Nashville SCNashville1669125151027
4New York City FCNY City1582530161426
5Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia176742117425
6Columbus Crew166641716124
7CF MontrealMontreal166462120122
8DC United166372118321
9New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls155372020018
10Atlanta UnitedAtlanta162861621-514
11Toronto163582133-1214
12FC CincinnatiCincinnati153571729-1214
13Chicago Fire163491828-1013
14Inter MiamiInter Miami143381224-1212

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England17113333211236
2Orlando City168442621528
3Nashville SCNashville1669125151027
4New York City FCNY City1582530161426
5Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia176742117425
6Columbus Crew166641716124
7CF MontrealMontreal166462120122
8DC United166372118321
9New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls155372020018
10Atlanta UnitedAtlanta162861621-514
11Toronto163582133-1214
12FC CincinnatiCincinnati153571729-1214
13Chicago Fire163491828-1013
14Inter MiamiInter Miami143381224-1212
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