Sounders FC 2 : 0 Houston Dynamo
By David Wittstock
Photo Gallery of Sounders v Houston (opens in new window)
Burch, Scott, Cameron, Ianni – Let’s get defensive (opens in new window)
Sounders v Houston Player Ratings – Who is der “Topspieler”? (opens in new window)
Two goals in four minutes from David Estrada and a penalty from Brad Evans were enough to see off the Houston Dynamo 2-0 for Sounders second consecutive win to start the MLS season.
Estrada’s goal was awarded to him, then given back to a Geoff Cameron own goal, then finally returned to the early leader in the MLS Golden Boot.
“It was an own goal,” Cameron admittedly ruefully afterwards. He was less sanguine about the penalty which gave Sounders their final tally, admitting to a nudge, the like of which happens many times in a game and are rarely awarded.
The result was true to the clubs’ history of not winning at each others home ground, a streak now at 10 games.
The Sounders starting eleven featured surprises on the right side with Roger Levesque starting in place of the injured Mauro Rosales, and Zach Scott starting at right fullback.
Marc Burch again got the nod over Leo Gonzalez. On this performance, he may be starting again.
The Dynamo featured three former Sounders in the 18 with Brian Ching, Cam Weaver, and Nathan Sturgis all suiting up for the Houston based club.
Concerns over a clash of styles seemed warranted in the early parts of the match as the game played out largely between the two boxes. Houston started confidently, closing down quickly on defense and holding possession through quick and accurate short passes.
Seattle’s first foray into Houston’s box came after a wonderful buildup from the back found Brad Evans in space on the right side of the 18 yard box. His ensuing cross was harmless and caught by goalkeeper, Tally Hall.
Will Bruin took Houston’s first real chance, thumping at a ball that was set up for him by Ching at the edge of the box and forcing Gspurning in to action, deflecting the ball over the bar and out of play.
On the ensuing corner, the ball knocked around the box before falling to Corey Ashe who played the ball back in to Je-Vaughn Watson waiting at the six yard box. The cross was slightly behind the midfielder who could only direct his header softly and wide of Gspurning’s right post.
20 minutes in, Dynamo had seen the better chances and held the majority of possession, but Seattle were dangerous on the break and as the game opened up, began to find their front pairing in dangerous positions.
Sounders got the lead in the 23rd minute against the run of play, off what was initially declared to be an own goal from Geoff Cameron. A corner taken by Alvaro Fernandez, was cleared out by Houston’s defense only to fall to the white hot David Estrada from 20 yards out. His ensuing shot was low and in line with the keeper before deflecting off the unfortunate US international and into the back of the net. The goal was later officially credited to Estrada.
Houston’s misery was doubled minutes later with Cameron again at the center of play, who was judged to have fouled Pat Ianni in the box as both players went for a header, resulting in a penalty. Brad Evans stepped up to the spot and took the kick with class, burying it in the right corner.
On review, the foul appeared soft and the Dynamo were, perhaps justifiably, furious. Down two goals their already physical style of play became even more aggressive. Late in the half, Bobby Boswell lunged in on Alonso from behind, and was lucky to escape punishment.
Diplomatically, Dominic Kinnear said he wanted to have another look at it, probably before venting his fury.
As the sides went into the half, Seattle enjoyed a two goal advantage, though Houston were far from out of the match.
Roger Levesque squandered a chance to kill the game in the 52nd minute firing well wide after being set up with a clear and unimpeded shot by Fernandez from the top of the box.
On the other end, seconds later, Will Bruin found the end of a Je-Vaughn Watson cross, forcing a save from Gspurning.
Down two goals and seemingly out of ideas, Houston’s play went flat and Sounders were more than happy to let the match lose its edge. Servando Carrasco came on for Brad Evans and the Seattle midfield took hold of the match.
Houston had a mild shout for penalty in the 80th minute after Ianni shouldered Bruin off his line in the box, but Baldomero Toledo was rightly unmoved by the striker’s appeal.
In the match’s waning moments Christian Sivebaek was brought on for Fredy Montero and the Sounders played out three minutes of stoppage time to collect the three points.
With Zach Scott, Roger Levesque and Pat Ianni in his starting line up, Schmid was delighted to have beaten a good side while not quite in top gear:
“Over the course of the season you’ve got to win games different ways. Today was a little more one of those games where you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and you’ve got to battle and persevere. I thought Houston played very well at times and had control of the game at certain times, but I thought we showed a very good resiliency. We scored two timely goals, the goal and the PK – which I think was a PK – and in the second half I think we held our own. We should have maybe got a third [goal] through Roger [Levesque] on that one chance, but I was pleased with the way our team came in and battled and with the character they showed today.”
A third home game, against a middling San Jose, will present an opportunity to continue the streak, whether by good football as against Toronto or battling like tonight.
Seattle Sounders FC: Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Roger Levesque (Leo Gonzalez 81′), Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 61′), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero (Christian Sivebaek 90′), David Estrada.
Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Sammy Ochoa, Alex Caskey, Jeff Parke.
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall, Andre Hainault (Jermaine Taylor 45′), Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe, Colin Clark, Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Carmargo 67′), Brad Davis, Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji 76′), Will Bruin.
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric, Calen Carr, Nathan Sturgis, Cam Weaver
Photo Gallery of Sounders v Houston (opens in new window)