Preview: Sounders seeking first-ever victory in Houston
ROBERTSON STADIUM, Houston, Texas
8:30 p.m. CT (KHOU/FS-H/Azteca;KONG/ROOT)
July 30, 2011 (WEEK 20; MLS Game 195)
The Houston Dynamo return home to face Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo saw their four-game unbeaten run come to an end last weekend, falling 3-0 at Chivas USA. Sounders FC, who have never won in Houston, are unbeaten in nine league games after a 4-3 home win vs. Colorado, though they lost in midweek in Panama in the CONCACAF Champions League.
REFEREE: Niko Bratsis. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 6 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO—OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion) ... SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC—OUT: DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (knee MCL sprain); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); DOUBTFUL: MF Brad Evans (hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Terry Boss (concussion); FW O'Brian White (leg surgery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: HOU: Je-Vaughn Watson (through July 31)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Servando Carrasco, Fredy Montero
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Danny Cruz, Brad Davis ... SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley, Tyson Wahl
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Dynamo 1 win, 5 goals ... Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals ... Ties 2
AT ROBERTSON STADIUM (2 meetings): Dynamo 1 wins, 3 goals ... Sounders FC 0 wins, 2 goals ... Ties 1
- The teams played to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting this season, March 25 at Qwest Field.
- The Dynamo have never won in Seattle, with two wins and a draw in three league meetings, a draw in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinal Series and a Seattle win in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal in 2009.
- Sounders FC have never won at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have won twice with one draw, including in the 2009 conference semifinals.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. HOU: P11 W3 L3 D5 ... Dominic Kinnear v SEA: P5 W1 L2 D2
3/25: HOU 1, SEA 1 (Cameron 42—Zakuani 80)
- The Dynamo took the lead in the 42nd minute after Lovel Palmer crashed a thunderous 30-yard bomb off the crossbar. The loose ball from the rebound found its way to Geoff Cameron, who unleashed a low drive that ricocheted off the foot of a fallen defender and rung off the bar on its way into the net.
- Sounders FC pulled even with 10 minutes to play when a corner kick from Erik Friberg was deflected by Houston defender Bobby Boswell and, as the ball rolled across the goal, Steve Zakuani streaked towards the back post to tap it in and break Seattle's goal-scoring drought.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller—Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez - Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales 71), Steve Zakuani - O'Brian White (Nate Jaqua 61), Fredy Montero.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall—Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Hunter Freeman - Lovel Palmer - Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 85), Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Will Bruin (Brian Ching 75), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 46).
The Houston Dynamo saw their unbeaten streak put to an end after four games, falling 3-0 to Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on Saturday evening. The Dynamo have 24 points from 21 games on the season, sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Chivas USA -- and Braun -- scored twice within nine minutes just before halftime. In the 31st minute, Ante Jazic sprinted up field and sent in a well-placed cross to Braun, who slipped in a slim touch for the goal.
- Then in the 40th minute, Blair Gavin played in a deflected pass to the Chivas USA striker, who broke in alone on goal and sent in a looping shot over Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
- The Dynamo went a man down in the 70th minute of play when Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson brought down LaBrocca, earning him his second yellow card and an expulsion. Chivas USA put a capper on the night in the 86th minute when Jazic led a Chivas counter, sending in another cross to Braun, who finished for his third goal of the night.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Robertson Stadium. Cam Weaver and Will Bruin came back into the team for the suspended Colin Clark and Brian Ching.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie (Alex Dixon 72), Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe - Je-Vaughn Watson (sent off 70) - Danny Cruz (Adam Moffat 67), Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Cam Weaver, Will Bruin.
- Over their four-game unbeaten run, the Dynamo had taken just six of a possible 12 points, winning once. They have two wins since the start of May.
- "We didn't play well," Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "I'm not going to make any excuses. We didn't play well, and when you don't play well, you're going to lose more than you win."
- The Dynamo are still winless away from home, with four losses and six draws from 10 trips. They are one of three teams still winless on their travels (along with Toronto and Vancouver).
- "It's very [frustrating]," midfielder Brad Davis said. "It's hard to put the feelings into words right now. We're upset because we train well and do well together, and then in games, we get out there and it all falls apart."
- The Dynamo were left shorthanded for a second consecutive week when Je-Vaughn Watson was sent off. The week before, Colin Clark and Brian Ching were each sent off in the final 40 minutes.
- "[We need to] try and forget this as soon as possible but realize the mistakes that we made," Kinnear said. "[We need to] understand that we have a good team in Seattle coming to our place, and we have to be ready to play them."
- Watson has started five consecutive matches in central midfield after returning from CONCACAF Gold Cup duty, but will miss the Seattle match through suspension. Davis could move inside—or Adam Moffat, newly acquired from Portland, could figure into the selection.
- "You want to have your squad available — it's a tough season," Kinnear said. "So when guys are not here for any reason it's tough. When they're not here because of suspension, it sticks out."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC stretched their undefeated run to nine games, defeating the Colorado Rapids 4-3 on July 16 at Qwest Field. Sounders FC have 38 points from 22 games on the season, sitting in third place in the Western Conference.
- The Rapids took the lead just a minute into the match. Wells Thompson latched on to a short clearance from Seattle defender Jeff Parke and drove a low shot into the left corner from the edge of the box.
- Sounders FC answered through Alvaro Fernandez in the seventh minute, after he ran onto a long pass from Osvaldo Alonso and held off right back Kosuke Kimura long enough to fire a shot inside the far post.
- The Rapids reclaimed the lead just before halftime when Thompson collected a long ball from Omar Cummings and laid it off to Jeff Larentowicz, whose drive bounced off the far post and in. But Sounders FC were level again shortly after the restart as Roger Levesque flicked in a cross from the right from Mauro Rosales.
- Seattle took the lead in the 82nd minute when substitute Brad Evans's shot was tipped by Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens, and Fredy Montero stooped low to nod the ball in at the far post. Then Rosales made it 4-2 in the 84th minute, taking a pass from Montero before slotting a shot past Pickens.
- It proved to be a vital goal for the home side as Caleb Folan slammed home a rebound in the 90th minute after Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller made a save from a corner kick.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that defeated the Portland Timbers 3-2 at Jeld-Wen Field. Patrick Ianni came back into central defense for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl - Mauro Rosales, Erik Friberg (Brad Evans 73), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 71) - Fredy Montero (Nate Jaqua 93+), Roger Levesque.
- Fredy Montero has scored three goals and set another in the last two league matches.
- "His work rate was good. .... He's stepped up and accepted the challenge. He's been getting goals and he set up a great goal to Mauro [Rosales]," said Sigi Schmid. "I was very pleased with our front four—[Roger] Levesque, Montero, [Alvaro] Fernandez and Mauro Rosales. I think they were creative and they put a lot of things together and a lot of combinations."
- It was a second consecutive match where Sounders FC came from behind in the second half to claim victory, with the winning goal coming after the 80th minute. Seattle has scored 11 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches—most in MLS.
- "We're scoring goals right now and that's the most important thing. No matter if they come in the first minute, seventh minute or whatever it was today," midfielder Brad Evans said. "We get two late past the 80th minute mark so we're putting the ball into the back of the net. We're finding good ways to score."
- Montero's week started with two goals in the win against Portland, then he scored another in the 3-1 U.S. Open Cup victory against the LA Galaxy at midweek.
- "Not to say that it was a perfect week but I definitely feel very good, especially because the team accomplished the objectives set before going into this MLS break." Montero said.
- Sounders FC played a high-profile friendly July 20 at Qwest Field, falling 7-0 to Manchester United. Michael Owen gave United the lead by halftime, then after the break, Wayne Rooney scored a hat trick and Mame Biram Diouf, Ji-Sung Park and Gabriel Obertan all scored.
- Here's the Sounders FC team: Kasey Keller (Terry Boss 46), James Riley (David Estrada 73), Jeff Parke (Michael Tetteh 64), Patrick Ianni (Taylor Graham 64), Leo Gonzalez (Zach Scott 46), Mauro Rosales (Servando Carrasco 46), Osvaldo Alonso (Brad Evans 46 / Mike Seamon 64), Erik Friberg (Pat Noonan 46) (Mrisho Alfani Ngassa 76), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 46 / O'Brian White 76), Roger Levesque (Nate Jaqua 46 /Miguel Montano 76), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 46).
- Then on Tuesday, Sounders FC began their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a 1-0 loss in the first leg of their preliminary round tie against San Francisco FC of Panama. Roberto Brown scored the game's lone goal from the penalty spot after Jeff Parke was adjudged to have handled in the area.
- Here's the Sounders FC team: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Pat Noonan 75), Lamar Neagle (Alvaro Fernandez 59), Fredy Montero, Roger Levesque (Mike Fucito 59).
"It's 1-0 at halftime. It's important for us to come back and win this thing at home and it's great preparation for the MLS playoffs. We have got to show our ability to come back and score some goals," Schmid said.