HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – After a scoreless draw in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals, Houston and Portland move the series to the Rose City on Sunday with the season on the line for both teams.
On Monday night, in the first leg of the aggregate, the Dynamo couldn’t capitalize on the home field advantage and had to settle for the draw with both clubs mustering two shots on goals on nine shots.
In order to advance, the Dynamo need a win or a draw in which they score at least one goal. If the 90 minutes comes and goes without a goal from either side, the teams will play 30 minutes of extra time. If there’s still not a winner after 120 minutes, penalty kicks will ensue.
While there weren’t any goals in Monday’s match, there has been a lot of player movement either by injury on the pitch, or events off the pitch. Dynamo goalie and MLS’ October Player of the Month, Tyler Deric, was suspended by the league earlier in the week pending an investigation into an alleged domestic dispute. Joe Willis, who has started eight matches earlier this season, will start in place of Deric.
Meanwhile, Portland left Houston with the result they wanted, but also left battered and bruised. The Timbers will be without Diego Chara, while Darlington Nagby, Larrys Mabiala, David Guzman, Sebastian Blanco and Fanendo Adi are all questionable.
Both teams enter Sunday’s match with notable streaks. Portland has won six straight matches at home with their last loss at Providence Park coming on July 19. The Timbers are 11-2-4 when playing in front of their home fans this season. With the draw on Monday, the Dynamo up their unbeaten streak to eight matches, but with only two of those eight on the road. The Dynamo finished 1-9-7 in road matches this season after losing the first five road matches of the season, and not getting a road win until their 11th road game.
Sunday’s match will be Portland’s first do or die match with their season on the line this year. The Dynamo won their first elimination match with the home win against Sporting Kansas City during the Knockout Round.
Whichever team advances through the semifinals will face defending MLS Cup Champion, Seattle in the Western Conference Finals.
Listen to Sunday’s match beginning with a 5:30 p.m. prematch show on CBS Sports Radio 650.