The Portland Timbers will look to hoist themselves off the foot of the table when they host Houston Dynamo at Providence Park on Saturday.
Portland are last in the Western Conference of the MLS tournament. That being said, there is still a ray of hope for them. They have played just 13 games, which is considerably less than all the other sides of the conference. All teams have played at least 15 games in the Western Conference. If they manage to win those games in hand, Portland can expect to be in the playoff race when the season nears its end.
Their last game was a US Open Cup clash against the Seattle Sounders. Portland won 2-1 to progress to the next round. Brian Fernandez netted a brace for the Timbers against Seattle. Fernandez has scored four league goals this season, which makes him the joint top scorer for Portland. Jeremy Ebobisse is the other player who has scored four times for Portland. They need to improve their defense, as they have conceded twice a game on average.
Portland’s last league game was a 3-2 loss against LAFC. They have won three out of the previous six games, so their form is not terrible. In the first seven games of the season, they won just once. Portland are improving, and they will focus on winning those games in hand. Colorado are just a point above them in the table, but they have played three more games than Portland, which is encouraging.
Houston will be their opponents at Providence Park on Saturday. The Dynamos are fourth in the Western Conference. They have played 13 games as well, which makes that all the more impressive. Only leaders LAFC have lost more games than Houston. If they win all their games in hand, they have a legitimate chance of finishing second in the west.
Houston faced Austin Bold in the fourth round of the US Open Cup in their last game. They raced into a 3-0 lead before the interval as Tomas Martinez, Ronaldo Pena, and Matias Vera got the goals. Austin scored twice in the second half to make it nervy, but Houston held on for the win and progressed to the round of 16.
In the league, Houston have won just one of their last four encounters. That win came against D. C. United a month ago. Since then, they have lost against Minnesota and drawn with Kansas City. Houston should be confident of securing a playoff spot, provided they make the most of those games in hand. As it stands, they are five points clear of the qualification line.
Portland Timbers vs Houston Dynamo Prediction
Houston will go into the game as favorites against Portland. Their defense is one of the best in the league, and they should be confident of keeping a clean sheet as well. The game should have less than 2.5 goals in total. Portland will make it tough, but Houston will get the win on Saturday.