Sounders FC (0-2-0) vs. Houston Dynamo (0-1-0)
Friday, March 25, 7 p.m., Qwest Field
TV: FOX Soccer (JP Dellacamera, Kyle Martino, Brian Dunseth)
Radio: 97.3 KIRO (Arlo White)
Referee: Ramon Hernandez
KEY DYNAMO PLAYERS
M Brad Davis — This guy serves a wicked free kick. He also curls some amazing crosses in the run of play. If Houston is going to get on the board at Qwest Field, a big if, his feet will likely be involved. Closing down his space will be crucial.
M Geoff Cameron — Tall. Athletic. Skilled. This guy could probably play anywhere on the field and succeed. Appears to have settled in a center midfield and can impact in the game in many facets. Named to the MLS Best XI in 2009 as a defender.
GK Tally Hall — The Gig Harbor product has been given the reins in goal. If he can’t cut it, Dynamo fans will lament the loss of 68-year-old Pat Onstad, which wouldn’t be good. We’ll see if the kid can perform coming back to play in front of the hometown crowd, with friends and family surely watching.
Playing with urgency vs. pressing too much — Make no mistake, this game is all about the Sounders. On paper, they should clearly win this game. But after a couple weeks of talking about missed chances and losses, maybe the home side will press a bit (e.g. look to create the perfect goal, perhaps with too much passing in the offensive third). Surely there can’t be any reasons/excuses to explain a poor result Friday.
Steve Zakuani vs. Hunter Freeman — Is Zakuani healthy? From his tweeting, it certainly sounds like it. The plan all along was for him to skip the New York game and be available for the Dynamo. If at full speed the Sounders FC winger is one of the most dangerous players in the league. Freeman will pray he isn’t.
Sigi Schmid vs. Dom Kinnear — I have a feeling Houston is going to try and junk this game up. With Jermaine Taylor of national team duty and Brian Ching coming back from injury, I’d think a less-than-full-strength Dynamo side will play for the point, preferably at 0-0. Seattle will need to unlock the back and lineups choices could be key. Will the starters from the opener get the call?
Obviously this is the most winnable game of the 2011 season thus far for Seattle and anything less than three points will be a disappointment. Personally, I don’t see Houston scoring in this one. The Sounders FC backline should be able to control the Dynamo attack, but the big question is…
Will Seattle be able to score?
The answer has to be yes, doesn’t it? Doesn’t the law of averages take over eventually? There’s no way this team could be shut out again. I just don’t see it (in part because I’m not sure Houston’s any good). What I do see is free hair cuts and tacos.
Sounders FC 3, Houston Dynamo 0
SEA — Montero (Fernandez, Riley) 23′
SEA — White (Friberg) 34′
SEA — Montero (pk) 59′
* * *
Who do you think? Overly optimistic?