SEATTLE -- The Seattle Sounders lost one key contributor in the first half to injury and another to a second-half red card Wednesday night, but managed to escape with a 0-0 draw against the visiting Houston Dynamo in front of 39,772 at CenturyLink Field.
Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz sprained his knee in just the 11th minute, forcing interim head coach Brian Schmetzer to replace him with Erik Friberg, while captain Osvaldo Alonso was ejected in the 64th after making contact with the face of Houston’s Will Bruin during an off-the-ball scuffle.
The Sounders needed a win to clinch the franchise’s eighth consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs, but that moment will have to wait with just two games remaining in the regular season.
Houston nearly took the lead twice as the game hit the half-hour mark, the first chance coming off a strike from Bruin that forced Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei to lay out for a diving save, then deflected off the goalpost. Dynamo midfielder Andrew Wenger then looked to have an open look on goal just one minute later, but couldn’t control the cross.
The Sounders countered with a few chances of their own before the first half ended, the first of which came after a feed from Nicolas Lodeiro deflected directly in front of Cristian Roldan, but the second-year midfielder’s attempt was saved by Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis.
Willis also managed to thwart a breakway attempt from Friberg and a screaming free kick from Lodeiro before the half ended, forcing the Sounders to settle for the scoreless deadlock at the break.
Neither side managed to break through in the second half and the Sounders lost the services of Alonso for the rest of the game with his third career red card, meaning the star midfielder will be suspended for Seattle’s upcoming road matchup against FC Dallas.
The draw moved the Sounders to 13-13-6 and 45 points on the season and into fourth place in the Western Conference. They’ll look to complete their late-season playoff push against FCD at Toyota Stadium on Sunday before closing the season at home against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 23.