As the familiar voice of Arlo White announced the line-up for the Seattle Sounders this evening against Eastern Conference powerhouse Houston Dynamo, it was hard not to be a little skeptical about the Sounder’s ability to get a good result without the likes of Adam Johansson or Mauro Rosales.
Coach Sigi Schmid turned to the only two players who played for the Sounders before the team entered the MLS, defender Zach Scott and everywhere man Roger Levesque. Schmid also decided that star forward Fredy Montero would act as captain without Rosales to wear the armband. The Sounders, although clearly playing with a lot of heart and making some offensive threats, seemed to be scrambling in the first twenty minutes of the game. The Sounders only saving grace seemed to be referee Balomero Toledo, was not letting the Dynamo get away with their typical high level of physical play. Then what seemed to be out of nowhere, suddenly something clicked for the men in rave green.
In the 23rd minute, a beautiful combination play between Scott, Levesque, and Alonso led to a corner kick. The ball was cleared by the Dynamo, but put back on frame by David Estrada, which took a deflection off Geoff Cameron to make its way to the back of the net. The Sounders, now having a 1-0 lead, started to attack with more fury. In the 26th minute, the Sounders earned another corner kick and Patrick Ianni was pulled down in the box. This led to a penalty kick, and just like that, the foot of confident midfielder Brad Evans put the Sounders up 2-0.
The Sounders continued to show promise in their play for the rest of the half, particularly with through balls coming from the backs. The Dynamo started to show frustration with referee Toledo claiming the home team was making dives. The Sounders looked to have the game in the bag. The home team continued to play strong in the beginning of the 2nd half. In the 53rd minute, Roger Levesque was given a wide-open opportunity in front of the net, but missed wide. The Sounders continued to kill the game and look for opportunities to silence the Dynamo with a transitional goal.
No goal came from either side and the Sounders achieved their first shutout of the season. Some highlight performances tonight came from forward David Estrada, adding another goal to his tally and continuing to be ever present in the attack. Patrick Ianni also had a good performance in the defense, being very strong with his head and drawing a penalty kick. Congratulations are also in order for Michael Gspruning, achieving his first shutout for the Emerald City. The Sounders look to extend their MLS unbeaten streak on Saturday March 31st against the San Jose Earthquakes.
23’ D. Estrada
27’ B. Evans (PK)