Playoffs - 2017 - Western Conference Championship generic image

Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders | 2017 Conference Championship Preview

Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders
Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs 
– Western Conference Championship
BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Tex.
9:30 pm ET – Nov. 21, 2017
WATCH: FS1, FOX Deportes (USA) | TSN1/3, TVAS (CAN)

The Seattle Sounders, defending MLS Cup champions, are aiming to get back into the title game. In their way are the surprise outfit of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs in the Houston Dynamo, who face Seattle in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship on Tuesday in Houston.

The Sounders enter the series in good form, with the recent time off for the international break sure to help the veteran and injured players get closer to being available. In particular, if Jordan Morris and Ozzie Alonso can return for some part of this series, that would likely provide a significant boost. Either way, the group is confident and has very recent experience.

Meanwhile, Wilmer Cabrera's Houston side have growing belief and are essentially playing with house money. But they have manpower concerns of their own, with Honduran trio Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto and Boniek Garcia traveling back from a grueling trip to Australia for Honduras' unsuccessful World Cup playoff series against the Socceroos.

Elis' availability is most concerning. He's become the most consistent attacker on a team with considerable depth on offense, but Cabrera has not been afraid to sit his top guys to keep them fresh and keep the entire team hungry and in form.

Add to all of this the fact that the Sounders have never won in Houston. Both teams here played to 0-0 draws in the first leg and won in the second leg of their previous series, but if the Dynamo can post another win at home, they'll turn up the fire on the Sounders with one game before MLS Cup.

Houston Dynamo

  • Suspended: GK Tyler Deric (Off-field conduct)
  • Suspended after next yellow card: D Phillippe Senderos, M Ricardo Clark, D Adolfo Machado, F Romell Quioto, F Alberth Elis, M Alex, M Boniek Garcia
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D George Malki (torn ACL), D AJ DeLaGarza (torn ACL), M Memo Rodriguez (knee)

Projected Starting Lineup
(4-2-3-1, left to right)
GK: Joe Willis – Dylan Remick, Adolfo Machado, Phillippe Senderos, Jalil Anibaba – Juan David Cabezas, Eric Alexander – Alex, Tomas Martinez, Alberth Elis – Mauro Manotas

Seattle Sounders

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next yellow card: M Cristian Roldan, M Nicolas Lodeiro, D Roman Torres
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Brad Evans (back), F Jordan Morris (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: M Osvaldo Alonso (quad strain), M Victor Rodriguez (quad strain), D Chad Marshall (hip)

Projected Starting Lineup
(4-2-3-1, left to right)
GK: Stefan Frei – Nouhou Tolo, Chad Marshall, Roman Torres, Kelvin Leerdam – Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan – Joevin Jones, Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro  – Will Bruin

All-Time Series

The teams have met before in the MLS Cup Playoffs, in the 2009 Western Conference semifinals. The first leg of the series ended 0-0 in Seattle, while the second was a 1-0 Dynamo win in Houston, as Brian Ching scored in the 30-minute extra time period to break the deadlock and send the Dynamo on in the playoffs that year. Interestingly, the Sounders have never won in Houston in MLS play, regular season or playoffs.

  • Overall (regular season): Houston 4 wins (16 goals) … Seattle 6 wins (19 goals) … Ties 6
  • At HOU (regular season): Houston 4 wins (14 goals) … Seattle 0 wins (8 goals) … Ties 4

Referees

Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Jeff Muschik, CJ Morgante
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Video Assistant Referee (VAR): Kevin Stott

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