Sounders vs. Dynamo Preview: The Journey Begins


The All Star game is over. The World Cup is done. The loss to the L.A. Galaxy is history. It’s all in the past. Time to reach up, get a firm grip on the review mirror, rip it off, and plow ahead. Sunday’s game against the Houston Dynamo is the beginning of the journey and a great opportunity.

On paper, the Seattle Sounders should wipe the floor with these guys. Houston are terrible. They lead the league in goals allowed with 40 and have the league’s second worst goal differential at -17. Seattle, on the other hand, have put 38 in the net and only allowed 28 to slip through. But Houston are working hard to turn their season around, and, although they sit in eighth place in the East, they’re only five points out from a playoff spot.

The turnaround started last week when a late Will Bruin goal gave them a 1-0 win over D.C. United. It was their first win in eight games. The D.C. match was a debut for Houston’s new acquisitions, DeMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido. Both men played in the World Cup (Beasley for the U.S.; Garrido for Honduras) and are a welcome addition. Beasley’s presence at left back will be a tremendous lift for the league’s worst defense. And with the speed he displayed pushing forward in Brazil, he’s likely to give the offense a boost. Garrido, listed as a midfielder, is playing a defensive midfield role to help stop the bleeding at the back line.

Houston’s strengths are on the offensive end. Giles Barnes and Brad Davis control the Houston midfield. Together, they’ve combined for nine goals and nine assists. Bruin is the club’s leading goal scorer. He’s a powerful, 6’2”, 195 lb forward, has eight goals this year, and hit the game-winner last week in D.C. Shutting Bruin down will depend on the health of Chad Marshall.

Having sat out the last two games with a back injury, Marshall should be back in the Sounders’ line-up. Marshall was magnificent in locking down the Portland Timber’s big new striker, Fanendo Adi, in the July 13th match in Seattle. Adi is 6’4” and 185 lbs. He’s a lot of man but Marshall’s no dwarf. Marshall is 6’4” and checks in at 190 lbs. Adi was unable to use his size to his advantage and Portland was stripped of their most important weapon. Marshall’s presence will not only trip up Bruin, but it will restore leadership and confidence to a Sounders back line that’s given up four goals in two games.

If Marshall can shut down Bruin and the Seattle midfield can out-hustle Barnes and Davis to win balls in the midfield, Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins will have ample opportunities to test the rickety Houston defense. And then there’s the right side of the pitch, which will showcase two of the game’s best.

U. S. Men’s National Team teammates DeAndre Yedlin and DeMarcus Beasley will see each other a lot Sunday. Beasley is the old guard, Yedlin the new. Beasley has spent most of his career in Europe, and, according to a recent article, Yedlin may soon be playing in London. Both men are very active, athletic and quick going forward, and both track back well. The matchup will be electric.

This game will set the tone for the season’s home stretch. What state of mind are the Sounders in after two losses? Are they thinking back to last year’s collapse? Have they matured as a team since then? Are they mentally tough enough to fend off the late surges that L.A. and Salt Lake are sure to conjure up? Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field is a great opportunity for the Sounders to pick their heads up, get to work, and take this club to the next level. Let’s go Sounders!