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March 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo, preview and prediction

Houston Dynamo Logo.jpgSounders FC (1-0) vs. Houston Dynamo (2-0)

Friday, March 23, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.

TV: NBC Sports, Ch. 34/626 (Arlo White, Kyle Martino)

Radio: KIRO 97.3 FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)

Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

KEY DYNAMO PLAYERS

M Brad Davis — Always the first name out of people’s mouths with it comes to a Houston scouting report. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said he’s one of the best servers of the ball in the league. Arlo White joked he could probably open a can of baked beans with his left foot. The Sounders’ right flank might be in flux, too, with injuries to Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson.

D Geoff Cameron — One of the most talented players in the league is starting to settle in at center back after having played a lot as a central midfielder. Many believe he could be the CB of the future for the U.S. men’s national team. Skilled and a physical presence at 6 foot 3, he’s always one to watch.

GK Tally Hall — The Gig Harbor native is coming off a great year and put on a fantastic performance in this same fixture last season. You know he’ll be pumped to play in front of family and friends. The 26 year old also started off the year with two road shutouts.

KEY MATCHUPS

Alvaro Fernandez vs. Andre HainaultMy preview story in today’s paper focused on Flaco’s playmaking and its increased importance due to Rosales’ injury. Hainault will be an interesting matchup at 6 foot 2. Fernandez might not be able to be as dominant in the air, but it could set up well to break Hainault down on the dribble.

Brian Ching vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — The former A-League Sounder and Gonzaga product is back in Houston after a tumultuous offseason (taken by Montreal in the expansion draft). And which Hurtado will he face? The Colombian had a horrid night in Torreon, but bounced back with a very solid showing vs. Toronto.

Road form vs. history — Five teams have opened the season with an extended road trips due to stadium construction. The Dynamo are the first to earn two shutouts in its first two games. Houston is also one of just three teams to not allow a goal so far this season. CenturyLink Field is a different beast though. Will things continue or balance out?

PREDICTION

It’s hard to ignore the Sounders’ injury situation. No Mauro Rosales. No Eddie Johnson. Adam Johansson is iffy. That potentially 27 percent of your ideal starting lineup not available for a big game against an undefeated opponent.

Houston is essentially at full strength — defender Corey Ashe is the only one of the injury report, and he’s probable with a hamstring strain.

The Dynamo have been a tough team for Seattle to deal with at times. The series is 2-2-2 in the regular season and I expect this one to be similarly even.

Sounders FC 1, Houston Dynamo 1

HOU: Geoff Cameron (Brad Davis) 36′

SEA: Fredy Montero (Brad Evans) 62′

* * *

How do you see this one playing out?

COMMENTS

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