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First Road Trip: 3 things to watch

Can the Dynamo find success on the road in 2021? They get their first shot tonight, here are 3 things to watch.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Dynamo started the 2021 season off the best way possible, with a full three points after a win against the San Jose Earthquakes at BBVA Stadium. Now Houston has to leave the friendly confines of their home park and face a nemesis they have had for many years, a road match. A trip to Providence Park to take on the Portland Timbers is on tap tonight. Can the Dynamo flip the script and find success away from home? Here are three things to watch.

Busy in the Rose City

Portland kicked off their MLS season last Sunday, losing to the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0. But that wasn’t the Timbers first match this season. After winning last year’s MLS is Back tournament Portland qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League this season. The Timbers started their season in the Round of 16 on April 6, eventually beating CD Marathon of Honduras 7-2 on aggregate. Now Portland faces a grueling stretch of matches, starting with tonight’s game against the Dynamo. They’ll host Mexican giants Club America on Wednesday, then head to Frisco next weekend to face FC Dallas, before going to Mexico for the second leg against America.

Not Firing on All Cylinders

In addition to facing a congestion of fixtures, the Timbers are already missing a healthy amount of players. Goalkeeper Steve Clark (left thigh strain), forward Jeremy Ebobisse (left thigh strain), goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic (athletic pubalgia surgery), defender Ismaila Jome (left Achilles tendon surgery), and forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda (left ACL surgery) are all out Saturday night against the Dynamo. Winger Sebastián Blanco remains questionable as he continues to rehab from right ACL surgery. Along with these injuries, playmaker Diego Valeri’s status for tonight’s match is also unknown after the passing of his father this week.

Providence Park Problems

MLS: Concacaf Champions League-Marathon at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

After a 5-0 home win in the Champions League 11 days ago, the Timbers return to Providence Park for the Major League Soccer home opener. The road woes for the Dynamo are well known and Oregon hasn’t been a happy place for Houston either. Portland’s home winning streak over the Dynamo is up to seven games (6-1-0), a stretch dating back to April 6, 2013. Perhaps the addition of two players with a combined 157 regular-season appearances for Portland, Zarek Valentin and Maxi Urruti, can help the boys in orange change their luck tonight in front of the Timbers Army.