Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo will both try to put back-to-back wins together for the first time this season when they get together at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.
Houston snapped a four-game winless streak last time out with a 2-1 triumph at Toronto FC, while the Timbers claimed a 2-1 win themselves at the Montreal Impact, giving both sides a bit of momentum ahead of Saturday's tilt.
The Dynamo used goals from Boniek Garcia and Will Bruin to take a 2-0 lead in the second half before TFC's Jozy Altidore scored in the 77th, setting up an interesting end of the match for Houston.
But after the team held on for the win, Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle was pleased with how his team responded to the winless streak with a good performance, even if they made it more difficult than necessary.
"We gave ourselves a nervy 10 or 15 minutes, but we've got to learn to manage those games and see them out as we did eventually today," Coyle said following the win in Toronto's home opener. "Could we have defended better? Absolutely. But the boys stood up and we also stood up against the counter-attack.
"What we had to do was show everybody we're not feeling sorry for ourselves... we could pick ourselves up as we did."
Now Houston will attempt to prove that the club is headed in the right direction by notching a second straight victory.
If the hosts are going to come away with three points on Saturday, they will first have to find a way to slow an attack that finally has its playmaker back in the fold, midfielder Diego Valeri.
Valeri made his first start of the season in the win at Montreal since undergoing knee surgery last year, and he picked up where he left off by scoring one of Portland's two goals in the victory.
The return of Valeri is a huge boost for head coach Caleb Porter's side, and the boss was quick to point out after the win how happy he was to have the services of his key man once again.
"It was good to have Valeri back on the pitch and to get that front four group back together again," Porter said. "That was the attacking group that we went with at the end of the year when we won three out of our last four games and finished so strong. I thought in the second half we took the game over and created a lot of chances. Obviously Valeri showed a bit of class with his goal; it's great to have him back and he'll keep pulling off plays like that."
Portland will also be trying to improve its results against the Dynamo with the Timbers having earned just one win in five meetings between the sides in the all-time series.