Dynamo seek first win of season, take on surging Timbers

League: MLS

Posted on: 16 Mar, 2024 at 02:36 AM

Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Houston is still in search of its first MLS victory of the season, and the Dynamo will have their work cut out for them when they host the Portland Timbers (2-0-1, 7 points) on Saturday.

But that doesn't mean the Dynamo (0-1-1, 1 point) lack confidence.

"We are on the right path," Houston coach Ben Olsen said. "Overall, our structure and game model are there, and we're moving in the right direction. We also need to be better in the key moments. We are making a few errors that are costing us, and we need to be more clinical with the final balls. But this is all normal stuff this early in the season."

Portland won 2-1 against New York City last weekend at Yankee Stadium. The Timbers have eight goals in three MLS matches this season.

"What happens is when one person on the team shows quality and courage, then the rest take confidence from that," Portland coach Phil Neville said.

The Timbers have shown they can be a threat on the road this season. They erased a 1-0 deficit in their win over New York City.

"In this league, you're going to suffer adversity away from home," Neville said, "and it's how you deal with that adversity. So pleased to get belief from winning away from home."

For the Dynamo, it's not necessary to rush to any conclusions because Olsen said he wants to create a sturdy foundation.

"You always want more," he said.

That could be coming in various forms.

The Dynamo stepped outside of MLS play earlier this week, tying the Columbus Crew 1-1 in a CONCACAF Champions Cup match. In that outing, midfielder Ousmane Sylla made his professional debut after a stellar collegiate career for Clemson.

Forward Ibrahim Aliyu is in his second Dynamo season after registering three goals last season.

"For the most part, he played in the isolated role out wide left (in the Columbus match)," Olsen said of Sylla. "Overall, I think he's had a great season so far. It's nice to see him becoming more comfortable with this team after taking some time to adjust."

This week, Houston acquired midfielder Latif Blessing in a trade from Toronto. Blessing has played in 190 career MLS regular-season matches.

--Field Level Media