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Know Your Opponent: Portland Timbers

The Houston Dynamo travel to Portland to face off against the Timbers on Saturday night (9:30 p.m. CT, KUBE 57), who are also off to a a perfect 2-0-0 start. Last weekend, the Timbers went to LA and held onto a 1-0 win against the 10-man Galaxy, but opened eyes on opening weekend with a 5-1 victory over Minnesota United.

Regardless of the competition, we know know the dangers that Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi bring for the Timbers. Ideas, sublime passing comes in the form of Valeri, Darlington Nagbe brings the desire to take people on, Sebastian Blanco is an all-around midfielder while Adi just scores goals.

Add the underrated Diego Chara in to the attacking mix because the man can support the attack and participate in the counter attack, as the LA Galaxy saw last weekend.

During the build-up, Adi is a wonderful target up front: strong, powerful, capable of holding the ball and creating time and space for others. Defenders that get too tight with him will get rolled, and he can create his own chances off the turn.

On the defensive end, the Dynamo have an opportunity wth Liam Ridgewell, Portland's leader at center back, missing out and injury concerns around David Guzmán and Vytas Andriuškevičius. Does Vytas get the start or does the high schooler Marco Farfan slot in at left back again?

Limiting the Dynamo attack comes down to winning midfield, having a good day of ball possession and being alert when the ball is lost in transition. How quickly they react can limit the Dynamo playing to their dangerous wide men.

Portland fans are amazing, dedicated and numerous. It is loud, it is vibrant, it is a smashing of the senses. Amazing acoustics and images—they know how to celebrate their prideful soccer history which dates back to the NASL in the 70's! Who doesn't want to play in front of that crowd that brings a real pressure for you as an athlete to perform in such a wonderful soccer city?

Adapting to the artificial surface will also be a challenge for the Dynamo as you have to play and present your passes to teammates differently. The games can get frenetic which leads me to believe it will be a day of lots of goal scoring opportunities for both!