The Seattle Sounders defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at BBVA Stadium on Saturday, picking up their third road win of the year behind a second-half goal from forward Jordan Morris.
It was a war of attrition in the first half, with the Dynamo unable to break down Seattle’s solid defensive shape and the Sounders struggling to maintain possession. The Rave Green carved out arguably the best chance of the opening period. Harry Shipp, who came on as a substitute for an injured Brad Smith in the 31st minute, steered his first-time shot wide of the near post within minutes of entering the match.
A couple of tactical alterations from Head Coach Brian Schmetzer at the break saw the Sounders begin the second half on the front foot. The team’s control of proceedings paid off in the 59th minute, as Morris capitalized on Houston’s defensive miscue at the back before calmly rolling his shot inside the far post.
Although the Dynamo enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the later stages of the match, the Sounders held on to complete their sweep of Houston in the 2019 MLS regular season.
The Sounders return to CenturyLink Field next Sunday for a primetime match against Sporting Kansas City (7 p.m. PT; FS1, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS).
Due to the absences of Raúl Ruidíaz (concussion) and Gustav Svensson (left hamstring strain), Schmetzer made several changes to his starting lineup. Jordy Delem and Danny Leyva started in the double pivot in central midfield, with Morris up top and Cristian Roldan and Smith on the wings.
After a first half without many chances, Schmetzer opted for several adjustments at the break, moving Nicolás Lodeiro into a False 9 role and shifting Morris to the wing. He also dropped Roldan into his preferred central role, which paid immediate dividends, as the Sounders regained control of the midfield.
HE’S ONE OF OUR OWN
Goals change narratives in soccer. Morris, who changed his position from a traditional No. 9 to a chance-creating winger this season, hadn’t found the back of the net since the team’s 1-1 home draw against LAFC on April 28. Filling in for the absent Ruidíaz, the Sounders Homegrown secured three massive road points with his fifth goal of the campaign. He also forced a smart diving save from Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric with a powerful shot from distance.
Morris now has five goals and two assists from just 15 MLS appearances this season. With a difficult run of fixtures on the horizon, Morris’ performance in difficult conditions in Houston bodes well for the second half of the season.
LEYVA CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
The 16-year-old midfielder put in a composed, intelligent performance in just the third MLS start of his career. After a quiet shift in the first half, he bossed the midfield in the second half, driving the team forward and dictating tempo in possession. The young Homegrown completed 88.9 percent of his 44 pass attempts, won five of six duels and registered two tackles. It’s early days for the rising U.S. U-17 national team standout, but he hasn’t looked out of place since breaking into the Sounders First Team.