The emotional home opener at the newest cathedral of soccer in America has passed and it's time to get down to business. The Houston Dynamo have limited time to recover and prepare themselves mentally and physically for a well rested Portland Timbers team that is desperate for points.
It's been a hectic week for the Dynamo, the dreaded side effect of having to compress the season's home schedule in a shortened amount of time. The tricky thing about this match against the Timbers is that all of these matches are of increased importance because of the somewhat condensed home schedule due to the delayed opening. Houston needs to take advantage of games in hand and pile up the points.
This is a good Timbers team that is underachieving at the moment and Gavin Wilkinson and John Spencer are already starting to take a lot of heat from fans for the slow start this year. That said, this is MLS and there is never an easy win in this parity dominated league. The biggest statistic in the Dynamo's favor is that Portland struggles mightily on the road and it should be warm and muggy for a team that enjoys playing in cooler climates.
The good news for Kinnear is that no players appeared to pick up a serious injury over the weekend. No doubt there are some sore muscles and bruises but hopefully the emotional high from Saturday will help the players fight through the aches and pains.
Kinnear has been tinkering with the lineup a great deal over the past week in an attempt to keep his players as fresh as possible, so it's a bit difficult to predict exactly what we'll see tomorrow night. I'm guessing we'll see Corey Ashe return since he was not used on Saturday, Calen Carr will probably be on the bench after starting two matches in a row. Colin Clark should take his place after subbing in against DC and looking very good. Luiz Camargo also saw limited minutes so I expect him to start.
Brian Ching expended a ton of energy on Saturday so it wouldn't surprise me to see Macoumba Kandji start alongside Will Bruin up front.
It comes down to riding an emotional wave versus a rested team, if the Dynamo can dig down and find the energy, this is a winnable match for them.
Predicted Lineup: Hall; Taylor, Cameron, Boswell, Ashe; Moffat, Clark, Davis, Camargo; Bruin, Kandji
Predicted Score: 2-0 Dynamo