SEATTLE — Earlier this week, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid cautioned that Friday’s match wouldn’t be a simple clash of styles. Instead, the Sounders would need to match the Houston Dynamo’s trademark work ethic to have any chance of victory.
They did just that, emerging from a hard-fought match with a 2-0 victory.
HIGHLIGHTS: SEA vs HOU
“Over the course of the season you’ve got to win games different ways,” Schmid said. “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.”
Seattle’s workmanlike effort saw the Dynamo forward line of Brian Ching and Will Bruin make very little impact on the night. Bruin managed his team’s only two shots on goal, both of which were well-saved by Michael Gspurning.
Patrick Ianni, who found himself out of the starting lineup for much of 2011, returned again and anchored a back line that stymied Houston’s momentum. Along with Zach Scott, who was in for the injured Adam Johansson, the Sounders kept a blanket on a Houston team that had won its first two matches of the season.
“With a team like that, you know what they’re all about: hard work and banging bodies,” said Scott. “They’ve got the skill guys and they serve a good ball in the box. It’s just a matter of us being tough, being smart, winning the second balls, and then closing the game out.”
The refrain from Schmid has been that his team is good for at least one goal in any given match. Tonight, that first goal came of the foot of David Estrada, who extended his early lead in the Golden Boot standings with his fourth goal.
There was some dispute as to whether it should be recorded as an own goal, but the scorekeepers eventually handed the tally to Estrada, to the third-year player’s delight.
“I was a little bit bummed when I came in at halftime and heard it was an own goal, but thankfully they reviewed it and gave it to me,” Estrada said. “I’ll take it.”
When Brad Evans scored the team’s second, Seattle managed to grind the match to a halt and emerge with a victory. Scott believes this win — the second in three home games to open the season — will serve the team well going forward.
“Getting to start the season with three home games is huge for us,” Scott said. “If we can get nine points out of them, it distances us from the rest of the league and as we start to hit more road games, it’s definitely going to give us that little cushion.”