SEATTLE – The Sounders FC is a team known for playing with the ball at their feet. The Houston Dynamo have garnered success with their set pieces and a sturdy defense.
On Friday night at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders beat Houston at their own game, scoring off a corner kick and a penalty to top the Dynamo 2-0 in front of a crowd of 38,304 to improve to 2-0-0 (six points) in the young season.
“Over the course of the season you’ve got to win games different ways. 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,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I was pleased with the way our team came in and battled and with the character they showed today.”
David Estrada scored his fourth goal of the season and Brad Evans added a PK for his first goal of the season while Michael Gspurning registered his first MLS shutout, making two saves to earn the victory.
The Dynamo looked dangerous early in the match, but Michael Gspurning parried away their best chance when Will Bruin hammered a left-footed shot from the top of the box and Gspurning pushed it over the crossbar in the 17th minute.
The Sounders pushed back minutes later, earning a corner kick from the right side. Alvaro Fernandez knocked it into the box and Houston defended it away, but it landed on the feet of Estrada, who netted a hat trick in Seattle’s MLS opener last week against Toronto FC. He hit a hard right-footed shot that deflected off of Houston defender Geoff Cameron and went into the open side of the net as goalkeeper Tally Hall lunged to his right, giving Seattle the 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
“Everything that I hit is going in,” Estrada said. “It’s luck, but I work so hard for it and thankfully it went in.”
After gaining the advantage, momentum was all in Seattle’s favor and they earned another corner kick in the 26th minute. Fernandez again swung the ball into the box, finding Patrick Ianni at the far post, but Ianni was roughed up by Cameron on the play and the referee awarded a penalty.
Evans calmly took a long run-up, then shot to the right side. Hall guessed correctly, but couldn’t reach the well-taken shot and Evans’ goal gave Seattle the 2-0 lead in the 27th minute.
That score held until the half, even while the Sounders continued to press for a third goal. In the second half, Seattle held the Dynamo at bay, limiting them to just one shot on goal. Gspurning was up to the task and the Sounders maintained their winning ways.
“I thought Michael had a very good game tonight,” Schmid said. “He came out and did well on a couple of crosses, ones he punched out and collected. I thought it was a good game tonight for Michael’s confidence and also for the fans to see his quality tonight.”
The Dynamo suffered their first defeat of the season, falling to 2-1-0 (six points).
The Sounders will host the San Jose Earthquakes in the final match of three straight home games to start the 2012 season. Kickoff on Saturday, March 31, is scheduled for 7 pm Pacific Time.
Sounders FC – David Estrada 23; Brad Evans (penalty) 27.
Dynamo – None.
Sounders FC – Alvaro Fernandez (caution) 83.
Dynamo – Adam Moffat (caution) 35; Brad Davis (caution) 78.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Roger Levesque (Leo Gonzalez 81), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 61), Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero (Christian Sivebaek 90), David Estrada.
Dynamo – Tally Hall, Andre Hainault (Jermaine Taylor 46), Geoff Cameron, Bobby Burling, Corey Ashe, Colin Clark, Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Camargo 67), Adam Moffatt, Brad Davis, Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji 76), Will Bruin.