In what has become the theme of the Major League Soccer season when the Seattle Sounders and the Houston Dynamo meet, the two teams played out a scoreless draw in front of the Sounders fans at CenturyLink Field. Not only were the Sounders disappointed to drop two points as they look to clinch their spot in the post-season, they will not play their next match without influential midfielder Osvaldo Alonso after he picked up a straight red card during an altercation with Houston's Will Bruin.
The Dynamo try to break up the Sounders' attack in the first half
The first 45 minutes saw the home side push forward at every opportunity as they tried to settle the match early on. To counter this, the Dynamo stopped play time and time again with small fouls to stop the Sounders from finding a consistent rhythm in the first half and thus, prevented them from finding the back of the net.
The first chance of the match came in the tenth minute when Andreas Ivanschitz sent in a shot from six yards but the angle was narrow and it became an easy take for Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis. That would be the last action of the game for Ivanschitz who was replaced early in the second half by Erik Friberg due to an injury. The next big chance of the game fell to the Dynamo in the 30th minute after some attacking intent from the Sounders. The ball found Bruin at the top of the box and his effort was tipped off the post after a spectacular save from Sounders' goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Willis was called upon in the 40th minute again when the ball fell to Friberg in the box and the goalkeeper made a great save to keep the score at 0-0. Nicolás Lodeiro then had the last chance of the game when he shot towards the Dynamo goal and Willis once again stood tall to make a big save.
Alonso's red does not stop the Sounders' attack
After an entertaining first half, the two teams went at it again in the second half as they both pushed for the opening goal. Keyner Brown came close to giving Houston the lead in the 49th minute when he met Jose Escalante's delivery from a corner kick only to watch it hit the post and bounce away from goal. Both teams continued to get forward but no clear cut chances materialized for them.
The game then reached a turning point in the 64th minute. Bruin and Alonso were involved in a scuffle with each other which then resulted in Alonso putting his hands on Bruin's face. It was a silly mistake by the veteran midfielder which the referee Drew Fischer, spotted and gave a straight red card for. Due to his part in the incident, Bruin picked up a yellow card but it was Alonso who had to walk to the locker room and leave his team down to ten men in an important match. His teammates seemed galvanized by the incident and instead of sitting back and playing out for a draw, continued to try and break down the Houston back line. Their endeavor was thrilling to watch as they searched for the winning goal but ultimately, their efforts could not get them the three points they wanted from tonight.
The Sounders are still in the playoff spots but will have to wait until their next match to try and guarantee their spot in the playoffs. Houston remain bottom of the Western conference but are now two points away from the team above them in the table. They will be happy with the point tonight against an in-form Sounders side.