The Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo are set for a showdown in the Lone Star State this Sunday at 4:00pm EST and can be seen on ESPN. This will be the Sounders second road game of the season. So far, the Sounders only have three points in four games played (1-3-0, W-L-T). The Dynamo will be playing their third home game of the year. They currently have four points in four games played (1-2-1). Both clubs are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
Last Time Out
The Sounders finally picked up their first points of the season last week when they hosted the Montreal Impact. The Sounders won 1-0 on Clint Dempsey’s first goal of the season in the 79th minute. So far, the Sounders have only scored three goals this season and two of them have come on set pieces.
Houston is coming off a bye week, but the last time they were on the pitch they lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps. The goal came in the 23rd minute after a questionable penalty was called on former Sounders player Jalil Anibaba. Houston has not had any trouble scoring goals as they have scored a total of 11 goals, three coming from Will Bruin.
The last time these two teams faced off was back on October 18, 2015 in Houston. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Prior to that, Seattle beat Houston early in the season, April 4, 2015, 1-0. This is the 11th all-time regular season meeting between the two clubs. Houston has never lost to Seattle at home, holding a record of 3-0-2. In the playoffs, Houston beat them as well way back in 2009, 1-0, in extra time.
Houston has four players listed as out on the MLS Injury report. Midfielder Collen Warner, goalkeeper Tyler Deric, forward Giles Barnes and defender Abdoulie Mansally. The Sounders have three players listed as out. Center back Roman Torres is out for the foreseeable future as he recovers from a left ACL tear. Midfielder’s Erik Friberg and Michael Farfan are also out. Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid mentioned on Thursday that Nelson Valdez has a “minor problem” in training this week, but it wasn’t a long term concern. Valdez may travel to Houston with the team, but may start on the bench.
Keys to the Game
The Sounders have been woeful in the final third all year. As mentioned earlier, the Sounders only have three goals and only one of them has come from the run of play. That came in week two of the season in the Sounders 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake when Osvaldo Alonso scored in the 28th minute. They must get better in the final third in completing their passes to the forwards and getting their shots on frame.
The Sounders will also need to keep Will Bruin from getting loose. He is the team’s leading scorer and can cause Seattle’s back line trouble all day long. Houston will need to do their best to maintain possession and not let the Sounders control the game. They also need to be better in marking their man and not allow cheap, easy goals.
Playing in Houston at 3:00pm local time will not do Seattle any favors. They will need to maintain possession and make Houston chase the game. Even though the Sounders have never won in Houston, it’s time for things to change. The Sounders will pick up their first road of the win of the season and win 3-1.