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Dynamo defend home field vs. road-tested Timbers


The Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers will try to shake off hard-luck shutout losses last weekend when they meet on Wednesday night in Houston.

The Dynamo (6-2-1, 19 points) are 1-2-0 on the road this season, including a 1-0 loss at the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night in which only one of their 11 shot attempts went on target.

That stat didn’t necessarily reflect the run of play, Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said.

Midway through the first half, Alberth Elis had an open header from an incredibly dangerous position and nodded it downward, only to see it bounce off the artificial surface at CenturyLink Field and over the crossbar. After halftime, Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei reacted superbly to deny Elis after Darwin Ceren played him behind Seattle’s back four.

“It was a good performance by the players,” Cabrera said. “We played well, and I think we have three unbelievable chances. It is sad that we didn’t put at least one away.”

Houston will welcome the Timbers (3-6-1, 10 points) to a venue in which the Dynamo have been nearly perfect, picking up 16 of a possible 18 points during a home-heavy early schedule.

But no MLS side has grown more used to the challenges of the road than Portland, which has played all its matches away from home. The Timbers also play at Philadelphia on May 25 before returning to open a renovated and expanded Providence Park on June 1.

Friday night’s 1-0 loss at the Vancouver Whitecaps snapped a three-match road winning streak, an almost unheard-of run in a league where no team won more than 10 away games last season.

The Timbers conceded a fifth-minute goal. They ramped up the pressure, outshooting the hosts 27-12 overall and 5-3 in terms of efforts on target, but failed to tie the game.

With a day more to recover than his opponents, Portland coach Giovanni Savarese hopes his team is boosted by the nature of the performance.

“We had chances, we attacked, we possessed the ball,” he said.

“I thought that we dominated the match. But credit to them, they defended very well and the goalkeeper made some spectacular saves. And unfortunately, these are the type of games that, if we play the way that we played today, not many times are we going to lose.”

–Field Level Media

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