MX23RW : Monday, July 26 01:37:51| >> :600:233147:233147:
Jun 24, 2021 at 1.30am UK at Robertson Stadium
HoustonHouston Dynamo
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

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

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

Houston Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos May 23, 2021© Reuters

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.

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese yells from the sideline on May 16, 2021© Reuters

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

Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese pictured in September 2020© Reuters

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

SM words green background

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 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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Monday's key events

· Jonny Brownlee will look to make the most of his brother Alistair's absence as he goes for gold in the men's triathlon (10.30pm-1am)

· Team GB get their campaign underway with two matches, against Canada and Japan (from 1.30am)

· One of Team GB's biggest gold medal hopes, Adam Peaty, will take part in the 100m breaststroke final. (3.12am)
· Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky go head to head for gold in the women's 400m freestyle final (3.20am)

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