the end of the premier league season is not an event i anticipate with much happiness. unfortunately, it has arrived. the only comfort i take is that we here in portland have the timbers to occupy our obsessions for the next few months. this little fact would certainly assuage my new-found grief had there been any news of note about the timbers.
the absence of news is quite obviously due to the ten-day lay-off before the dynamo match. that answer does little to improve my current mood, but tuesday is near and with it comes relief. with the second game after the opening of the new bbva stadium looming, the dynamo are positioned similarly to the timbers. of course, the dynamo have been on the longest road-trip in recent history, rivaling maybe jack kerouac or the gonzo reporter when he visited bat country in their efforts to remain healthy and viable. during that long, strange trip, the dynamo have accrued an 3-2-3 record.
on that trip, the dynamo played 2 sides in common--the crew and chivas. interestingly, the dynamo were able to do something the timbers were not--they put two goals past columbus, but in the end the crew put two past them. in the other game in common with the timbers, the dynamo required an extra-time to goal to eek out a 1 nil win during their season opener. fortunately for the dynamo, they were able to do something the timbers were not--beat chivas. granted, the timbers took the lead early with a goal by kris boyd, but, as has been the story with the timbers this season, their defense was at fault for two second-half goals. those goals were easily preventable had lovel palmer not decided to make ex-arsenal ryan smith look amazing. this was some truly sloppy play and a gmae that left a sour taste in the mouth of many supporters.
so what does that inform us about tuesday night? frankly, not much can be placed on opening games. if so, the timbers would be battling it out with the likes of the san jose and real salt lake for supremacy of the west. as we remember, the timbers looked ready to take on the world with their season, home-opener win against the union. since then we have been let down with consistent defensive mistakes and a run in with the sahara desert of goal droughts. look at their position and the type of play we have seen through the other eight games and tell me that you expected them to be where they are based solely on that beautiful night against philly.
similarly, the opening road-win against chivas cannot inform us of what to expect from the dynamo on tuesday. granted, their path to a similar record was built by that extended road trip. but the dynamo did survive without the assistance of home support every other match. their home opener on saturday saw them beat a united side that beat them 3-2 earlier in the season. the big factors in the match were the veteran brad davis and the elder canadian, andrew hainault, who, coincidently, scored the dynamo's late winner against chivas. the main concern for the timbers will rest in preventing them and the dynamo's main target man, will bruin, from having sniffs at goal anywhere near the 18-yard box.
the dynamo will want to preserve a feeling of home field advantage, though i must say that the second game ever played in the bbva would not suggest a home field advantage. all the same, they will look to shut down a timbers offense that has done more for opposing defenses with their absent goalscoring than several months of rigorous training with rope tied between players ever did for the arsenal under george graham. the only glimmer of hope the timbers may find with the dynamo is that their defense is as poor as the timbers. the dynamo also lack consistent possession and when they do retain the ball, their offense is, well, not dynamic--surrendering more goals than they have scored. these facts would find me lounging in a hammock and sipping arnold palmers if only the timbers were actually good on the road and had a defense that could shutdown any team once they obtained the lead. but as we all know, the timbers are their worst enemy.
given the trend of new-stadium openings portending success for the home side and defeat for the visiting team, i cannot see the timbers walking out of houston with a win. that does not mean i think they will lose, i simply do not think they will win. houston has been tried and hardened by seven-straight road games and the timbers have not scored since playing in la. it has been said that goals come in streaks, and if ever there was time for the timbers to run rampant i could think of far few better than on the road against the dynamo. but i am a realist...
with that, have a great day.
magadh will have more on the pre-match tomorrow.