PORTLAND, OR - SEPTEMBER 16: Timber Joey, mascot of the Portland Timbers cuts a slab of wood against the New England Revolution on September 16, 2011 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
Around 11:30pm CT on Friday evening, we'll know a great deal more about the Houston Dynamo's playoff chances for the 2011 season. All those missteps and dropped points throughout the long summer have culminated in a massively important match against the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field.
As if the game itself wasn't enough, there's the added storyline of Mike Chabala and Lovel Palmer waiting for their former comrades in orange to arrive. I can all but guarantee the pair have one thing on their mind, damaging the playoff hopes of their former club. It's not personal, it's business and it's a natural motivating factor for people. You always want to show up your previous employers and what better way to do just that than to vault the Timbers right in to the playoff mix and send the Dynamo back to Houston needing a lot of help and a victory over the best team in the league in the season finale.
Houston's 2-1 win over Portland back in August means nothing now. The Timbers are a better team at this point in the season and they are a significantly better team at home compared to on the road. Going in a getting a point (which would be ok) or the full three points (which would be ideal) will require a fantastic effort from the Dynamo and the kind of performance on the road we're honestly not used to seeing this season.
It's a test of this team's mettle and one that I really feel they need to pass in order to have the best chance of playing past October 23rd.
Needless to say, it's going to be a long week waiting for Friday's match, but I'm sure myself and the rest of the Dynamo Theory team will have plenty to say. I'll be adding a new playoff chase post this afternoon to update the playoff standings and preview the week's matches.