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)
On Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, Sounders FC and the Houston Dynamo will square off for the only time in the 2013 season. It has always been a hotly contested battle between the two teams and here are three matchups that could be important to Saturday’s outcome.
Brad Davis vs. Set Piece Defense
The band members may have changed somewhat but the song remains the same in Houston. They are a big and physical team that can make their opponents pay on set pieces. Brad Davis has amassed 96 assists in his 12 MLS seasons, including an average of 13 per season since 2009. Much of that statistical brilliance comes from his set pieces, so Seattle will need to be aware of where they are fouling and diligent in their defending in the box when Davis stands over a dead ball.
Davis and Corey Ashe vs. Mauro Rosales and DeAndre Yedlin
Both teams have attacking fullbacks, but while Seattle’s is on the right side in DeAndre Yedlin, Houston’s is on the left in Corey Ashe. They are both All-Stars who are very capable defenders, but just how often each team is able to take advantage of the space created by the two overlapping defenders could be vital in the creation of scoring chances. Conversely, Davis and Rosales are also both great in their service, so if either is able to get into that open space and has time to put the ball into the box, they will find their mark much more often than not.
Clint Dempsey vs. Ricardo Clark
The old Furman Paladin teammates have been combatants throughout their pro careers and Saturday night they will renew acquaintances as the Houston defensive midfielder is a likely candidate to have defensive responsibilities on the Sounders attacker. In addition to the two years they played together collegiately, Dempsey and Clark have also been teammates on the U.S. National Team, including in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.