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Jane Gershovich

Three Key Match-Ups: at Houston Dynamo

Sounders FC is back on the road this week for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Houston Dynamo (2:00 p.m. PT / ESPN, AM 770 KTTH, El Rey 1360 AM). The Rave Green won the previous game between the two sides this season, a 1-0 result at CenturyLink Field on April 4.

Here are three key matchups to watch in Sunday’s contest at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Brad Evans vs. Will Bruin

Fresh off a pair of U.S. National Team appearances in the last week, Evans could be tasked with defending one of the most consistent strikers in MLS. Bruin’s 47 goals over the last four years (regular season and playoffs) rank behind only Robbie Keane, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips. He leads the Dynamo with 11 goals this year, although the 25-year-old forward has found the net just once in his last seven games. The Sounders will hope those struggles continue this weekend as they look to keep their six-game unbeaten streak going.

Clint Dempsey vs. Ricardo Clark

Dempsey has also had a bit of trouble finding the net of recent, tallying one goal in his last 11 games. He does have five assists in that span, however, and the veteran will be eager to make an impact in his home state of Texas on Sunday. One of the Houston players that could be marking him is Clark, a former teammate of Dempsey’s at Furman University and with the USMNT. Dempsey tends to drop into the midfield to collect the ball, meaning he could spend much of the game matched up with Clark, who plays defensive midfield for Houston.

Andreas Ivanschitz vs. Boniek Garcia

Ivanschitz will be challenged out on the wing this weekend by another extremely experienced player, one that has made more than 100 career appearances for the Honduran National Team. Formerly a Designated Player for Houston, Garcia represented Honduras at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He’s been playing rightback of recent for the Dynamo despite spending most of his career as a midfielder. Shutting down Ivanschitz will be key for Houston, as the Austrian playmaker has contributed to a goal in two of his four games since joining Seattle.