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Dynamo make midweek trip to Portland: What to watch for

The Dynamo look to string wins together as they take on the Portland Timbers tonight.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Houston Dynamo FC Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo head back out on the road with a trip to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Portland Timbers. Houston is coming off a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire Saturday night at PNC Stadium. Portland also played on Saturday, beating the Colorado Rapids 3-0. The two teams played to a scoreless draw on April 16 and are separated by just two points in the Western Conference standings, Houston is in 8th and Portland is in 11th.

Clark returns to PDX

Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark returns to Portland for the first time since joining Houston this offseason as a free agent. Clark spent 2018-2021 with the Timbers, helping lead the club to two MLS Cup appearances and the MLS is Back Tournament championship. Clark also returns to Portland on the verge of history, a shut out tonight will give the veteran keeper 50 in league play and if he plays tonight, it will be his 200th appearance. Steve has 5 clean sheets with the Dynamo this season and could become the 18th goalkeeper to record 50 in Major League Soccer. The Timbers Army will certainly give him a huge ovation tonight as Clark remains a fan favorite in Portland.

Clark spoke about being back in Portland, saying yesterday, “It’s really nice to be back, a lot of good memories here. Tomorrow, business is business. Looking forward to the match there, and it’s a big game for us.”

What’s the deal with Fafa?

Winger Fafa Picault has not played since May 29 and has not been in the match day squad for the matches against Orlando and Chicago. So, what’s going on? We don’t really know the full story. There have been rumors that Picault is on his way out this transfer window, but head coach Paulo Nagamura keeps reiterating that nothing is going on and he plays the best players that give the team a chance to win. That is coach-speak from Nagamura, a sign he isn’t such a rookie coach after all. He is not going to come out and break transfer news to the media and he is going to say as little as possible in case Fafa does come back. That is to be expected and I don’t fault Nagamura for it at all. The transfer window is open in a lot of places around the world and opens in MLS on July 9 so we may know something about Picault’s future in the coming weeks.

Timbers have the Dynamo’s number

Portland is unbeaten against Houston in their last seven meetings, with the Timbers winning four of those. The last time the Dynamo beat the Timbers was September of 2018, a 4-1 win in Houston. The Timbers have been one of the better teams in MLS for some time, having made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons. They hosted MLS Cup last season, losing in penalties to New York City FC, and coming off a big win on the weekend. It won’t be an easy task for the Dynamo to win in Portland against this team that they have historically had trouble with. But, the fortune has to change some time, right?!

Availability Report

Houston Dynamo - None listed

Portland Timbers - Out: Diego Gutierrez (foot), Cristhian Paredes (hamstring)

Predicted Lineup