Sounders in Houston with eye on extending unbeaten run
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The Dynamo, a very tough team to face at home, will provide numerous obstacles for the Sounders.
Sounders FC @ Houston Dynamo
August 17, 2013, 6 pm PT; BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; No English Radio; KOMO2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish); MLS Live (Online outside the Seattle area)
At 3-0-1 in the last four matches, Sounders FC is the hottest club in MLS right now.
The Sounders will take that streak into the heat of Houston and BBVA Compass Stadium for their only meeting of the season with the Dynamo on Saturday. And while they are 0-2-1 all-time in Houston, the Sounders aren’t going to be deterred by what is bound to be an electric atmosphere.
“We’ve done it before, going down to Houston. We know it’s going to be a battle. We know what kind of team they are,” Lamar Neagle said. “It’s just one of those things that we’ve got to get through and I think it will be huge if we do get some points down there.”
What started as a fortress for the Dynamo has since become a much less dominating home venue. BBVA Compass Stadium was a large part of its 30-match home unbeaten streak from the day it opened in May of 2012. Since halting that streak of home dominance on May 12 with a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, the Dynamo has gone just 2-2-2.
Sounders FC hasn’t played there yet after hosting the Dynamo in the only meeting of 2012. Seattle will do a walk-through at the stadium on Friday before training to get a look at the sightlines of the stadium and an idea of what to expect on Saturday.
“Everybody I know that I’ve talked to that has played there has said that it’s a good place to play,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “The field’s good, the surface is good and the atmosphere is good.”
Seattle will need to do some roster shuffling heading into the match. Eddie Johnson will miss the match while serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation and Brad Evans is joining the team in Houston after playing with the U.S. National Team in a 4-3 international friendly victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday. Schmid will determine his availability to start after Friday’s training session in Houston.
Houston, meanwhile, has been without midfielder Andrew Driver for the last two matches with an Achilles injury and Boniek Garcia was limited last week because of an abdominal strain.
Although neither team will be playing at 100-percent, it’s still destined to be a battle royal in Houston if the previous seven matches between the two sides are any indication.
Seattle’s hot streak has catapulted the team to within two points of second place in the Western Conference while still toting games in hand. That’s not something that’s on the minds of the players, though, as they have remained balanced through all of the ups and downs of the season.
“We’ve been pretty steady along the way the entire time. I think we’ve been confident,” Neagle said. “We know what kind of players we have on the team. We know it’s a long season. As long as we stay consistent and confident in each other, we’re going to be fine. I think that’s what we’ve done.”