Chad Marshall 150404

Three Key Match-Ups: vs Houston Dynamo

Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo

MLS Regular Season
Saturday, April 4; 7:00 p.m. PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: Q13 FOX, Univision-Seattle (Spanish); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, (Spanish audio stream)

Both looking to pick up a second victory of the season, Western Conference foes Sounders FC and the Houston Dynamo square off Saturday night on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. The away team has never won in nine regular-season matchups between the two sides, with the Rave Green going 4-0-1 all-time against the Dynamo in Seattle.

Here are three positional battles that could be crucial to the Sounders if they want to keep that streak alive and get themselves back in the win column.

Seattle forwards vs. Tyler Deric

All-Star strikers Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins each scored at least one goal in the first two regular season games. Seattle was without its star-studded forward pairing in last week’s scoreless draw with FC Dallas, but both are listed as probable for Saturday. They’ll be tasked with scoring on a very talented goalkeeper in Deric, who is in his first season as Houston’s starter after serving as the backup for five-plus years. A product of the Dynamo Academy, Deric has allowed just two goals in four matches and won three straight MLS Save of the Week honors. He will try to become the first keeper in Dynamo history to hold the Rave Green scoreless.

Chad Marshall vs. Houston counterattacks

As good as Houston has been in the back, the club hasn’t been able to create many scoring chances of its own thus far. The Dynamo has just two goals and eight shots on target this season. That could change when Erick “Cubo” Torres joins the squad this summer, but for now, Houston is playing a very defensive style and relying on counterattacks. For the Rave Green, Marshall is probable to return to the lineup on Saturday after missing the last match with a neck strain.

Seattle midfield vs. Brad Davis

Another player who could return to the lineup for Seattle is Osvaldo Alonso, the four-time Team MVP who has been recovering from offseason groin surgery. Alonso’s presence on the field would be massive for the Sounders, as the veteran central midfielder had the highest passing percentage in the entire league last year. Davis is the key cog of Houston’s midfield, a player that made his 300th career MLS start last weekend and is in his 10th season with the Dynamo. He is the club’s all-time leader in goals and assists.