The Dynamo are finally back at home to host Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 8 p.m. CT tonight at BBVA Compass Stadium. TICKETS are still available for tonight’s game. The match will be broadcast live on ROOT SPORTS Southwest Alternate Channel and can be heard on Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 AM and Sirius XM FC (channel 85) in Spanish on La Ranchera 850 AM and 101.7 FM. Here are some notes ahead of the game.
• After 10 of 14, and 11 of 16 games away from home the Dynamo enter the home stretch tonight with five of their final eight games at home.
• Vancouver has the best road record in the league by a wide margin, with a 7-5-2 mark away from BC Place
• Including CONCACAF Champions League and the Canadian Championship, the Whitecaps will play their eighth game during the month of August tonight. So far, Vancouver is 4-1-2 during the month, with the lone loss at Sporting KC where it led 3-1 late in the second half before falling 4-3.
• Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle may see the return of several players from injury. Raul Rodriguez (left heel contusion) and DaMarcus Beasley (left calf strain) have missed the last two games and remain questionable, but could return after two weeks of recovery. Ricardo Clark has missed four games with a left hamstring strain but is no longer on the injury report and could feature at some point tonight. Kofi Sarkodie (right knee bone bruise) missed Wednesday’s game at Colorado and remains questionable tonight.
• Vancouver brings a mostly healthy squad to Houston, with Pa-Modou Kah (facial fracture) and Nicolas Mezquida (left hamstring strain) both listed as probable. Fatigue may be an issue, however, with Wednesday’s home game in the Canadian Championship final and a long flight to Houston yesterday. Head coach Carl Robinson indicated to media Thursday that he would make at least one or two changes to the lineup after a busy month of games.
• Vancouver has already set a club MLS record with 14 wins this season and has eight games left to add to the total.
• For the eighth straight game, the Dynamo have several available players on yellow-card warning: Ricardo Clark, Kofi Sarkodie, Luis Garrido, Raul Rodriguez and Sheanon Williams would be suspended for Houston’s next game, Sept. 12 vs. Real Salt Lake, if they receive a caution tonight
• For Vancouver, Matias Laba, Sam Adekugbe and Kah are on yellow-card warning.
• The home team has never lost in the brief series between the Dynamo and Vancouver. Whitecaps FC holds a 3-2-0 edge in five meetings, with both defeats at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo won 2-1 on Vancouver’s last visit to Houston in in March 2013.
• Three milestones that could be reached tonight:
o Ricardo Clark has made 233 career appearances in all competitions with the Dynamo and would tie Bobby Boswell for third on the club list with an appearance.
o Tonight would be Boniek Garcia’s 100th career appearance in all competitions with the Dynamo.
o Will Bruin (126 career regular-season starts) can tie Brian Mullan for seventh on the club list.
• The referee is Kevin Stott, one of the most experienced in MLS with 271 previous games in the middle in the league. Over that time, he’s issued 67 red cards and awarded 70 penalty kicks.
• After the game, the Dynamo get their first off week since June due to next weekend’s international games, including Argentina vs. Bolivia at BBVA Compass Stadium.
• The Dynamo and Whitecaps meet again on the final day of the season, Oct. 25, at BC Place.
Enjoy the game!
The Houston Dynamo fell on the road to the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, on Wednesday night. Courtesy of Colorado Rapids Communications, here is a transcription of postgame remarks from Dynamo and Rapids players and coaches.
Houston Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle
On the first goal…
For me, the first goal is not a penalty. The boy has slid in, he has not punched the ball, and he is not intending to hit the ball so I found it soft. We had to pick ourselves up and we did. We started passing, moving and creating some chances. Then we get unlucky when clearly he has punched that ball. It’s a clear goal scoring opportunity. I think it should have been a red card as well as a penalty. Bizarrely, the referee has decided to give out a yellow. We all know the rules; to deny a clear goal scoring opportunity, which that clearly is. Will Bruin’s got a free header six yards out. I don’t know how much more of a clear goal scoring opportunity that could be, so obviously that was a big let off for Colorado.
Second half, to be fair, I though Colorado did well. They obviously forced the pace, but the second goal was disappointing for me. Sean St. Ledger breaks forward and brings three players with him and he gets to the by-line, flicks it, and even then we are still in a good position to clear the danger. Kevin Doyle has thrown himself at a header and a wonderful header into the corner from his perspective. It’s disappointing from us, of course, because at one each, you’re still well placed to certainly believe in that positive result, but still have that foundation to try and win the game. As it was, we had to try and chase it to get back into the game, and I think we had one effort from David Horst and that was all we had to show for our efforts to try and push for an equalizer.
On if the second goal was just a matter of playing to the whistle…
It’s all first and foremost somebody marking Sean St. Ledger when he played the pass in, we have enough bodies to do that. That was our eleventh of 16 games on the road and we wanted to leave with a positive result and we had an opportunity to do that. It’s disappointing, there’s no getting away from that. We will have to take our medicine, we will have to pick ourselves up quickly for Saturday and get ready to go again.
On if the team is eager to go back home and play there for five of the next eight…
Absolutely. We always knew it was going to be a tough period, particularly two of the games. We certainly felt that we could go to each game and look to get 4 or 5 points from 3 games, as it is as you mentioned, we’ve got one. We have to now go and capitalize on our home form which has been great. Obviously it would be nice if we get one or two healthy bodies back because obviously tonight with Ricardo Clark, Raul Rodriguez, DaMarcus Beasley, Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor have all missed out, so I think it’s fair to say we had a makeshift defense. Alex stepped in to play at left back for us, with that being said, it would be nice to get one or two back. With what we’ve got, we will be ready to go against Vancouver on Saturday and then the whole picture changes again.
On how difficult it is to piece together a defense after the injuries…
It’s not easy. You’re playing at a very high level and obviously there’s quality forward that the Colorado Rapids have. Alex stuck to his task and he’s come out with certainly credit in my mind. But again, it would be nice to get the pieces of the jigsaw that started for us, but as it is, we will wait and see what happens for Saturday.
Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric
On the team’s response to the first goal…
I think the first 20 minutes, we weren’t at our best, and after that, with being down 1-0 I thought we put our best foot forward and gave them a good contest, but I think overall in the match, we didn’t play good enough to get a result, and it was justified.
On the second goal…
I take full responsibility for that second goal. It’s one of those things where you switch off for a second and you ensure disappointment and let down your teammates in a case like that.
On if the team is confident going home…
We are really looking forward to the home stint that we have coming up. We have Vancouver Saturday and whenever we have a bad result or performance, you really want to get out there and have a good result. That would be, for us, two days later we play Vancouver so we are going to go out there and give it our best.
Houston Dynamo midfielder Giles Barnes
On the team’s response to the first goal…
I thought we started pretty slow, the first 20 minutes, but we kind of picked it up after that. We felt a bit hard done by the penalty. It was the momentum of the ground he even catches the ball with his hand. Sometimes you’ve got to realize that that’s the state of the game, but these things happen.
On if the second goal was a matter of playing through the whistle…
Yes, maybe following runners as well. The boy started pretty deep. We felt it could have been avoided. It’s not the result we wanted when we came here, but we’ve got games left and we can still get into the playoffs.
On the impending homestretch and the good form the team has there…
It’s always nice to go home. I think it’s been 11 games we’ve had on the road out of the last 16, it’s a lot. Sometimes two, three months on the road, so to come out of that and have all those home games to look forward to is a positive.
On the team’s morale and hope of making the Playoffs…
You know how we are, never say die. How tight it is over in our Conference, there’s still ways that we can get into the Playoffs.
Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni
On staying true to the mission…
Coming off of the win in Chicago, there was a lot of patience in that game. It was a well-balanced game. I felt like we were in control from the beginning to the end. We created a lot of great opportunities to score and they defended well in that tight spot. The overall performance was really impressive and dictated by the guys on the field. It’s taken us a long time to get to this point, but I am really proud of their effort and their commitment to the game plan and execution.
On Vicente Sánchez…
He brings an element of attack that no one else does, and that very few in the league do. He has an ability to drop the team back, run at them and create space for his teammates. I think tonight in the first half he did a tremendous job. He’s a very dynamic player.
On Dillon Serna…
Serna is one of the guys that brings a lot to the game. On the defensive end he contributes, attacking wise he’s not afraid to shoot on goal - he brings a lot of the intangibles that you may not see or recognize.
On Sean St. Ledger’s assist…
That’s not one you chalk up. The game is won by the players on the field and that was an example of that. He felt it in the moment, and is experienced enough to understand that it was a good opportunity. The touch he had was tremendous. He is a guy that has really helped this team out since he has come on board.
On final goal…
That play was a breath of fresh air for all of us. I thought it was a fantastic goal by a player that you wouldn’t typically put that far up the field, so it was fitting for the job he was doing defensively.
Was this a relief going into the weekend?
We’re fighting every day for three points. The most important thing for me was the sense of calm in the group and the understanding of what we were trying to achieve from a tactical perspective.
On Maynor Figueroa and Sean St. Ledger…
Experienced players know exactly what their bodies need to get through the work. They were very honest and upfront when they came in, so it was easy for us to bring them in at their own pace. Given their level of fitness I think they have acclimated really well. They’re both experienced players that have played at a very good level. Their contribution in the last few games has been tremendous and has really brought a lot of confidence to the group.
This is my passion. My job is to become a better coach every day. It’s something I want to get better at. You just have to keep working hard and believing in yourself. This season has never wavered my belief in myself, in my technical staff and in the players I have.
Colorado Rapids forward Kevin Doyle
On scoring game winning goal…
Sean [St. Ledger] put in a brilliant job. It was an important goal for us, and a very important win. Those two wins in a row gave us a little bit of momentum after a disappointing spell. We need everything we can get at the moment.
On playing with St. Ledger…
We’ve played a lot of games together over the years. He has settled really well since he has been here. He’s only been here a few weeks and it seems like he has been here all season. He’s been in the league so he knows how everything is. The lads have played against him so they respect him - it’s been an easy transition for him here.
On playoff run…
It’s now or never. We’ve always been one or two games away from being just on the edge of it with a game at hand. We’ve always believed it, but it’s just a difference of believing it and doing it. We need to win a lot more games from now to the end of the season to have a chance to finish respectfully.
Colorado Rapids defender Sean St. Ledger
On importance of a victory…
When you win an away game you have to build on that to gain confidence. I feel like tonight was a huge result for us. We’ve earned six points in a matter of a few days, and we’re going into Saturday against Sporting Kansas City full of confidence and looking to get nine points. It’s been a great effort so far, but we need to finish now.
I’ve played against Kevin many times, I know when there is a ball hanging in the air it’s a 50/50 chance he’s going to win it. I knew if I could get it over the keeper he would score. People don’t see all of the hard work we put in on the training pitch, and I think it has paid off tonight. We’re looking forward to Saturday now.
On Playoff run…
You have to take it one day at a time. We know what is ahead of us. We know that we have to win the majority of our games if we’re going to go anywhere. Tonight was a great start against Houston. We have to be consistent in all 90 minutes to win games. This is a team effort, and if we want to get off of the bottom of the table it has to start with the players.
On home debut…
It’s nice playing on grass; that was a bonus. We got up 1-0 and stepped off of the gas a bit, but then at halftime we certainly stepped it up from a controlled second half. This is a great venue to play soccer in. Long may it continue, and long may the results keep coming.
The Dynamo end the three-game road trip at 8 p.m. CT tonight at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. The game will be broadcast live on ROOT SPORTS Southwest and can be heard on Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 AM and in Spanish on La Ranchera 850 AM and 101.7 FM. Here are some notes ahead of the game.
• After playing on turf in consecutive road games at New England and Portland, the Dynamo face their third straight road test in difficult conditions with the thin air of playing over 5,000 feet above sea level.
• Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle carries continued injury concerns into tonight’s game. Raul Rodriguez (left heel contusion) and Kofi Sarkodie (right knee bone bruise) picked up injuries in Portland and are questionable tonight. Ricardo Clark, has missed the last three games with a left hamstring strain but is now probable after participating in training this week. DaMarcus Beasley missed the Portland game with a left calf strain and remains questionable while Giles Barnes is also questionable after missing Portland with right Achilles tendonitis.
• In midfield, Rasheed Olabiyi and Nate Sturgis have each started once game in place of Clark over the last two games and both are options for Coyle tonight, along with Luis Garrido, who has started three straight matches.
• For Colorado, forward Luis Solignac (hamstring) and defender Jared Watts (foot) are both out while midfielder Lucas Pittinari (hamstring) remains an injury doubt.
• The Rapids have scored the fewest goals in MLS (21) but are tied for the fewest allowed (25) through 24 games.
• Colorado has struggled at home (3-5-4, 13 points) and have actually gained more points (14) away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
• The Dynamo are seeking their first regular-season win against the Rapids since April 19, 2009, a nine-game (0-5-4) winless run against Colorado. Houston’s last win in Colorado was on October 4, 2008.
• For the seventh straight game, the Dynamo have several available players on yellow-card warning: Ricardo Clark, Kofi Sarkodie, Luis Garrido, Raul Rodriguez and Sheanon Williams would be suspended for Saturday’s home game against Vancouver if they receive a caution tonight
• For Colorado, Bobby Burling, Drew Moor and Axel Sjoberg are on yellow-card warning.
The Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers played to a 2-2 draw Friday night in Portland. Courtesy of Portland Timbers Communications, here is a transcription of postgame remarks from Dynamo and Timbers players and coaches.
Houston Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle
On if he’s disappointed in giving up a two goal lead…
“I don’t think there is any doubt that given the circumstances that we feel we’ll have dropped two points tonight. We had fantastic possession in the game to go and see the game out. I’ve got to say Portland comes in as a fantastic side. It’s a magnificent stadium. The supporters really buy into it. It’s a terrific arena, but my players stood up to that. We scored two wonderful goals in the first-half and truth be told the first 50 minutes in the second half we had the best chances to get that third goal and when you don’t then you obviously leave yourself open to the Portland Timbers as they are, keeping coming, resilient and keep pushing forward as they did. My disappointment is that I certainly feel that both goals are avoidable. [Darlington] Nagbe, he’ll feel it’s a wonderful goal, but we feel three or four players easily could put a challenge in. I’ve got to say [Lucas Melano’s goal] was a wonderful finish, just like that an ordinary cross, nothing really of any note. He just came from 40 yards out. That’s why he’s a [Designated Player], that’s why he’s played in the Argentinian league and is a wonderful goal scorer and it was a wonderful finish.
Having said that we have to back ourselves up and we have to keep pushing on to get a third goal. So it was a strange game in many ways and again to our credit we missed obviously DaMarcus Beasley, Giles Barnes, Ricardo Clark and Jermaine Taylor out. I mean they’re four players that we’re playing on the team every week. So we come here and give, for the majority of the game, the performance that we did. There is a lot to be pleased about but when you are in the lead and you lose obviously that’s a disappointment. There are a lot of positives to take as well so we won’t be lost on them but you can look to brush up and make sure that when you get in the situation it doesn’t have to be pretty, what it has to be is effective. That’s when you need big leaders to stand up and be strong. Obviously the Dynamo missed out last year in the Eastern Conference in the playoffs and a little bit was a hangover in respect, a little bit softness that creeps in when those situations arise and that’s something we need to eradicate. If that comes from finding the right type of personality to come in and help you doing that moving forward then we’ll do it. But there are a lot of positives, we passed and moved the ball well, scored two wonderful goals and there could have been a few others. So, disappointed in the end but overall there were a lot of positives within the game.”
On how they were able to get goals against the Timbers defense…
“I mean I think Timbers have done really well but I can only judge from our experiences. We took three off the Timbers at the home game at BBVA Compass Stadium and it could have been four or five that night. Maybe it’s one of those that we have players that they maybe are not suited against playing defensively, I don’t know. Having said that after the three games I think we’re all square, we win one each and one tie. I thought it was even on each side. The last two games I’ve played them I haven’t had my full personnel. I’d love to come here with my best team available but there you go, that’s the nature of the league. But they’re a good side, they have a wonderful coach and they’re a good club.”
On if it’s hard for the team to take away the positives after tonight’s game…
“We’re always looking out, of course. The aftermath, I’m the same myself, you come out, you do the press, you’ve got microphones locked onto your face and obviously you go. That’s what it is. I mean the boys they know how much they put into the game but, as I said before, when you put it into the game make sure that you see the game through. So, are the lessons to be learned? Absolutely and that’s a good thing about a game when you can learn and pick those things up then you move on and you’re stronger for it. That’s where we need to be. We have nine games now, five at home and four away. Eight of those are against conference rivals, five at them at home so we have to make sure we’re able to capitalize on those points and give ourselves a good run. We know everything we’re implementing for moving forward is going stand us in a good [place] for the future of the Dynamo but you still want to be winning in the here and now where we continue to progress.”
Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric
On the overall match…
“You know for being up 2-0 and letting them back in the game like that is disappointing. We gave up two soft goals. But you know you have to give credit to Portland. They fought, they had a great crowd behind them and they fought back and made it a good match.”
On what the difference maker was…
“I think we went through spurts where we each had possession of the ball. I think at the beginning of the first half they had the majority of the possession, then we had a flow going towards the end of the first half and then second half we came out playing pretty well then it was back and forth. Once they got that first goal they had a lot of momentum behind them and then they pushed for a second goal, which they got. It’s very disappointing to give up a 2-0 lead and we feel as if we gave two points away.”
On the two games coming up this week against Colorado and Vancouver…
“The focus is on Colorado right now. We have Colorado on Wednesday and we’re not even thinking of Vancouver. We have to go to Colorado and get three points and that’s the mission right now.”
Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter
On Lucas Melano and the team’s overall performance tonight…
“It’s good to get him his first goal in a Timbers uniform. Strikers when they start scoring goals they score more goals. That has a funny way of happening. It was great for him to get his first goal in that fashion and he looked fit and sharp and caused a lot of problems. He should have had one earlier in the first half. We score that, the game is different. The three things that will happen from this game, the first one is: we will learn from it. That first half, the five-minute period where we gave up two goals, that can’t happen. We started out very well the first 35 minutes we were sharp, we were aggressive, we were on the front foot. They were hanging on. We had chances. They started to soften up and we gave up a goal against the run and that happens in football, sometimes you give up a goal against the run of play. What can’t happen is the response, giving up the next goal. And that has happened in a few games this year, LA, first half we gave up multiple goals and Dallas as well and in the second half against Philly. In all three of those games we gave up the goal, then we gave up the next one and the next one. So we’ll learn from that tonight and we haven’t been able to learn from that prior to this game. The second thing is we’ll grow from the second half. That second half might be the most important 45 minutes this season because we had to dig deep as a team and do what we hadn’t done all year and that’s come from behind. We were able to come from behind and we weren’t able to do that in the three games I mentioned. In those games we gave up the third goal, then the fourth and in LA, the fifth. So we will learn from that second half, we will grow from having to claw and fight and dig and I thought we were outstanding in the second half. We were aggressive, we were hungry, we were relentless, we were ruthless. So we will grow from that and that’s going to make us a better team. Then the third thing is we will build on this. It’s not three points, but Houston’s a team that’s in the playoff hunt and instead of them getting closer now in the point total, they stay at the same spread and psychologically we leave the game, like I said, having grown and been lifted and they leave it a little bit gutted.”
On Diego Chara’s red card and losing him for the Seattle match…
“I didn’t see it. I saw it live, but I didn’t see the video. I feel for Chara because everybody in that second half, guys that started the second half and the guys that came in the game, it took everybody and we pulled two goals back. I thought we should have had a third actually had a couple chances to win it. It took everybody and it took the guys in the back, digging deep and putting out counters. I thought Chara he was outstanding, tracking back and breaking up plays. I really feel bad for him because I don’t think he deserved to get red carded. I didn’t watch the play but I don’t see much in that.”
On the sub decisions...
“I think it’s all about momentum. As a coach you’ve got to feel the game. You have to feel the flow. There was a period where I was getting ready to put [Dairon] Asprilla in and maybe take off a holding midfielder, but I just felt that the game was going in our favor and one of the worst mistakes you can make as a coach, and I’ve learned this because I’ve coached for a lot of years, is when you have the flow and the momentum sometimes a sub disrupts that. So I wanted to ride that because I felt like getting Asprilla in and going with three in the back to give us that final push was what we needed and the reason to be patient on another sub. We scored two goals obviously so it worked out tonight."
On what he told the team at halftime…
“That’s between me and the team. It was a little bit tactical, probably 10 percent tactical and 90 percent mentality check.”
Portland Timbers forward Lucas Melano (through a translator)
On getting his first goal…
“Very happy to score a goal especially here at home in front of the Timbers Army. More importantly just to rescue a point here at home that we more than deserved. Just happy that my goal was able to help the team in that way.”
On what it felt like to play in that game and make a comeback…
“Very good. I think it was all about the team effort today. We realized in the second half that we were down, we didn’t feel like we should have been, but as a group we came together and I think the whole collective team played really well and it was thanks to that effort that we were able to achieve the tie.”
On if what he learned from tonight’s game will help him score more goals in the future…
“That’s absolutely the idea. I’ve had a few chances in past games and I wasn’t able to convert maybe just because I’m new to the team, learning the squad, but today the goal opened up to me and I was able to convert and I think it will really help. The idea is to keep progressing with the team and scoring goals as I feel more and more comfortable with the team.”
Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe
On his second goal this season…
“I don’t quite remember. I just brought everyone over to the right side. We were on that side a lot in the second half. I ended up dribbling through the space. Lucas [Melano] took the ball and gave me a nice pass and I just finished it. It was good we got the tie.”
On the mentality of the group making the comeback…
“We were disappointed with that first half. We came out and I thought we had good energy, but we had 10 minutes or so when they got those two goals. We came out second half and had a lot of energy. Everyone was playing for each other and working hard for each other and I thought we separated ourselves from the other team.”
On what it meant to the team to “dig out of that hole”…
“It means a lot for me. Obviously you don’t want to go down 2-0, but you come back from 2-0 down and get a tie. That’s a situation we’ve been in before and didn’t come away with a tie.”
On if there is any deeper satisfaction to get a tie from coming back…
“I think so. Obviously it’s a different feeling if we are up 2-0 and tie the game since we are down two we managed to tie the game, which we haven’t done this season, being down by a couple goals. For me, it’s gives me confidence.”
The last home game of the 2015 Houston Dash season is on Sunday, August 30. As a special thank you to the fans, we are offering a full week of behind-the-scenes content and giveaways! Check out the full schedule of content below and stay tuned for giveaways all week.
August 23 - Ellie Brush Snapchat Takeover (follow: 'houston.dash')
August 24 - Morgan Brian Facebook Q&A
August 25 - Toni Pressley Snapchat Takeover
August 26 - Jessica McDonald Snapchat Takeover
August 27 - Ella Masar Snapchat Takeover
August 28 - Melissa Henderson Instagram Takeover
August 29 - Carli Lloyd Q&A - get your questions ready!
August 30 - Join us at the last home game of the 2015 season!
The weather wasn't cooperating very much on Friday so the start of the Houston Dash game was delayed but that didn't stop the ladies from entertaining themselves (and the fans).
What's a weather delay without a group photo?
But then a game broke out in the locker room...
And at first things looked bleak.
— Jessica McDonald (@Jess_Mac14) August 21, 2015
But practice, as they say, makes perfect.
The Dynamo meet the Portland Timbers at 10 p.m. CT tonight at Providence Park in a critical game as the Dynamo hope to climb the Western Conference standings. The game will be broadcast live on UniMás and can be heard on Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 AM and in Spanish on La Ranchera 850 AM and 101.7 FM. Here are some notes ahead of the game.
• Tonight is the third and final meeting between these clubs and Houston’s last chance to directly gain ground on Portland, one of seven teams the Dynamo are currently chasing in the Western Conference playoff race. The Dynamo will have ample opportunities to make up ground, with six of their final 10 remaining games against teams currently higher in the standings.
• Like seemingly every game over the last few months, Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle enters tonight with some injury concerns within his team. Ricardo Clark, who has missed the last two games, remains doubtful with a left hamstring strain. DaMarcus Beasley exited last weekend’s game at New England at halftime with a left calf strain while Raul Rodriguez missed the match with an adductor strain. Both players are questionable for tonight’s game. Giles Barnes is probable with right Achilles tendonitis and was limited in training early in the week.
• Coyle does have more options in midfield than the last few weeks. Boniek Garcia is continuing to build fitness and has played in two straight games while Alexander Lopez also could feature for the first time since July 18 at Real Salt Lake after missing four games with a groin strain.
• Like New England last week, the Timbers have a mostly healthy squad, with midfielder Ben Zemanski the only Portland player on the injury report. Head coach Caleb Porter guided his team through the absence of Diego Valeri and Will Johnson as they recovered from significant injuries and missed most of the first third of the seasons. The Timbers have four players in their defensive unit – goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey and defenders Liam Ridgewell, Alvas Powell and Jorge Villafaña – all of whom have play at least 2,110 minutes this season. Each one of the four ranks in the top 15 in MLS for minutes played. Entering the week, Portland is the only team in MLS with more than three players with 2,110 minutes or more (Note via Portland Timbers).
• The Timbers enter tonight’s game after posting three consecutive shutouts, but have never recorded four straight clean sheets in their five seasons in MLS.
• The Dynamo will look to conjure some late-season road magic from four years ago, when they visited Portland in October 2011 and captured a 2-0 win to solidify their playoff position, highlighted by a memorable goal from Danny Cruz and a goal from Andre Hainault, who turned down a call up from the Canada national team to play in the important road game.
• For the sixth consecutive game, the Dynamo have several available players on yellow-card warning and would be suspended for Wednesday’s road game at Colorado if they receive a caution tonight. Ricardo Clark, Kofi Sarkodie, Raul Rodriguez and Sheanon Williams must avoid a yellow card tonight.
• The Timbers have their own yellow card concerns, with defenders Liam Ridgewell and Alvas Powell also on yellow-card warning.
• The West Coast game means a late kickoff – 10 p.m. CT – but the Dynamo and Timbers will cap a big night of soccer in Houston. The Dash host the Seattle Reign in a must-win game at 7 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium and 9,000 tickets are already sold. With an hour in between the end of the Dash and the start of the game, it leaves ample time to get home or settled at a bar to watch the Dynamo try for what would arguably be the biggest win of the season. Enjoy the games!
There's three games left in the NWSL regular season (four for Seattle, but they already clinched a playoff spot so forget about them). The Houston Dash are currently in sixth place, five points back of the crucial fourth playoff spot. Below are the scenarios for the Dash to make the playoffs for the first time in team history.
Scenarios based on Houston winning final three games, ending with 29 points. Two of the following scenarios must occur, current points in parentheses.
Portland Thorns FC (22 points)
- Earn no more than seven points in remaining games (two wins, one draw: 29 points)
- Dash hold head-to-head tiebreaker (1-0-1)
- Remaining schedule: @SBFC, vs. WAS, @WNYF
FC Kansas City (25 points)
- Earn no more than three points (one win: 28 points) or no more than four points (one win, one draw: 29 points) and lose +11 goal differential advantage
- Head-to-head tiebreaker tied (1-1-1), FCKC goal differential is +8 GD and Dash are at -3
- Remaining schedule: vs. BOS, vs. WAS, @SBFC
Chicago Red Stars (28 points)
- Earn zero points or no more than one point (one draw: 29 points) and lose +10 goal differential advantage
- Dash would tie head-to-head tiebreaker with a win in final game (1-1-1), Chicago goal differential is +7
- Remaining schedule: vs. WNYF, @WNYF, vs. HOU
Washington Spirit (28 points)
- Earn zero points
- Dash lose head-to-head tiebreaker (0-2-1)
- Remaining schedule: @FCKC, @PTFC, vs. SRFC
If the Dash don't win all three but manage two wins and a draw (finishing with 27 points), they can still make it in with Portland earning no more than five points and FC Kansas City getting no more than one point (or two points and somehow losing their advantage in goal differential). In this scenario, however, Western New York (currently with 19 points) and Sky Blue FC (18 points and head-to-head tiebreaker over Houston) could leapfrog the Dash if either team won their remaining games.
You can read the tiebreaking procedures here if this didn't confuse you enough already. For our purposes though, head-to-head (first) and goal differential (second) are the only likely tiebreakers that would need to be used.
Secure your Dash gear for our next home game on Friday, August 21st with our special item of the week! This week's item is a one of a kind Dash t-shirt and it's only $18!
Wear it on Friday as Carli Lloyd and the Houston Dash take on Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, and the Seattle Reign at 7PM CT.
Grab yours HERE!
Tyler Deric is up for MLS Save of the Week.
Watch Tyler Deric in action and vote for his stop on a long-distance blast from New England's Kelyn Rowe HERE.
Voting runs until 11:59 pm PT on Thursday. For complete coverage of MLS Save of the Week - including an archive of all of this season's nominees and winners- click here.