MatchDay: Houston at Timbers

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

Published:

 

Houston at Timbers

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jeld-Wen Field.

TV: Live on ROOT Sports (Comcast cable channel 34).

Radio: AM 750 (AM 940 Spanish broadcast).

Records: Houston is 10-9-13 for 43 points and currently holds the last wildcard playoff spot. Portland is 11-13-7, currently 11th overall three points behind Houston.

Why to watch: This is essentially a playoff match. A win boosts that team’s hopes of advancing to the postseason. A draw or a loss significantly damages the playoff hopes for the Timbers.

THE MATCHUP

The last time: The Dynamo won 2-1 at Houston on Aug. 14, with former Timber Adam Moffat scoring the first goal.

Any rust? Portland hasn’t played since beating Vancouver 1-0 on Oct. 2 — an important win that looks more impressive after the Whitecaps followed with wins over Real Salt Lake and D.C. United. Several Timbers played for their national teams during the 12-day break.

John Spencer on the impact of the layoff: “Sometimes it can work in your favor, sometimes it doesn’t. … We’ll know after seven or eight minutes how we start. If we’re sluggish I’ll be able to tell.”

Fast start needed: “We’re going to have to start well,” Spencer said. “We’re going to have to pass the ball, move it. I believe that the group feel very confident in themselves right now.”

NOTABLE

Scoring leaders: Houston — Geoff Cameron, Brian Ching and Will Bruin 5 goals apiece; Brian Davis 14 assists. Portland — Kenny Cooper 7 goals; Jack Jewsbury 7 goals and 8 assists.

Injury report: Timbers — GK Adin Brown (concussion); DF Kevin Goldthwaite (knee ACL rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (concussion); FW Spencer Thompson (knee); Probable: D David Horst (groin strain); GK Troy Perkins (hip soreness); Jorge Perlaza (lower back soreness). Dynamo — Out: F Cam Weaver (hip).

Suspended next yellow card — Timbers: Mike Chabala, Diego Chara, James Marcelin, Rodney Wallace. Dynamo: Brad Davis, Adam Moffat.

FAN GUIDE

Tickets: Sold out. Capacity is expanded to 20,323 for this game, the second of two test games to see how the stadium handles bigger crowds.

Gates open: 90 minutes before kickoff.

Getting there: Parking is extremely limited near the stadium. MAX light rail runs extra trains on match days.

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