MatchDay: Houston at Timbers

By Paul Danzer, Columbian 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.