Can the Houston Dynamo win their final match in the month of June for 2022? The easy answer is yes they can because any team can beat anyone on any given day. A better question might be will they win their final game in the month of June in 2022? In this article we look at Houston's soccer success in the final match of June since they arrived in Houston 16 years ago and more specifically their success against the Portland Timbers.
We will begin by looking at the overall record in the final June match over the last 16 seasons. First, it must be noted that its been a little lopsided on where the match has been played. Fifteen matches are in the books with 11 away and five at home. There was no game in 2020. The overall record for the final match across that span is 1W - 7D - 7L. The only win came at home ten years ago.
Houston has not played a June match at home since 2017. That game ended in a 1-1 draw with in state rival FC Dallas. They played home games in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2017. If you noticed the first three matches at home beginning in 2008 were every other year. Next game a five year break to 2017 and now it will be five plus before they get a home match to end June. It makes you wonder who is making the schedules and what the algorithm is for it.
Now let's take a look at the rivalry with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in Portland.
Portland has had Houston's number on the West Coast. Founded in 2009, Portland and Houston began play in 2011 with the Dynamo traveling to Oregon. Behind goals from Andre Hainault and Danny Cruz, Houston won for the first road match ever in the series against Portland. Since then El Naranja has endured seven road losses (five consecutively and counting) plus one draw against the Timbers at Providence Park.
Half time leads sometimes dictate how a game will end. For Houston though it hasn't seemed to matter whether they led, were tied or trailed the outcome was still the same with victory eluding them. They led at the half on two late goals five minutes apart by Boniek Garcia and Will Bruin in 2015 but ended up settling for a 2-2 draw. It was the only game since winning in 2011 that they have not lost. In 2016 and 2017, the Dynamo led 2-0 and 2-1 respectively at the half only to see Portland rally for wins in the second half. They were also tied 1-1 at the half in the 2018 road match with Portland but in the end fell 2-1.
From 2017 to the present, Houston has surrendered five first half goals scoring just three of their own. Two of those three came in the 2017 game when they led 2-1 at the end of the first 45 and the other came in the 12th minute of play to forge a 1-1 tie in a game they eventually lost 2-1. They had a 2021 first half goal but it was a Timbers own goal. That game aside, they have only found the back of the net five times in the last five tries while giving up 15.
Fortunately for Houston, Diego Valeri retired following the 2021 season. The Argentine international scored six goals against Houston in five matches since 2016. Houston fans might never forget the 2016 match which he scored two goals both from the spot in the final ten minutes of play.
While Portland loses Valeri, no one currently on the Houston Dynamo has scored against the Timbers in the last five Houston outings. Darwin Quintero, who scored on Saturday night in the 2-0 win over Chicago, is the only member of the Dynamo who has scored against Portland in his career. HIs only goal came as a member of the Minnesota United FC in 2018. It is his only goal against the Timbers in the eight matches he has played in his career against them including four as amember of the Houston Dynamo.
Now for a bit of silver lining. Despite Portland dominating Houston at Providence Park, they only have a plus 4 goal differential dating back to 2015 and now face one of the best scoring groups Houston has put on the pitch in awhile. Although Houston has road record of 2W-5L-0D in 2022, their road goal differential is just minus four. Portland is plus nine at home in 2022 so something will have to give here.
Can Houston overcome Portland? One would think that with seven losses and a draw in their last eight road outings with Portland that they must be due. Add in the fact that Thor Ulfarrson, Darwin Quintero and Sebastian Ferreira have combined for five of Houston last six goals over their last four matches that include a road win and two road losses and it's easy to see that the firepower is there. Yes, Houston can win and the home victory on Saturday provides momentum.
“This is huge, very important," said Quintero following Saturday's win over Chicago. It helps us gain confidence and know that we have what it takes to play very good football.”
Houston will need that confidence, momentum and then some if they are to find a victory at Providence Park for the first time since 2011. Kick-off is set for 9:30pm CT Wednesday night June 29th. Stay tuned.