The Sounders have lost consecutive matches for the first time all season, a streak they hope to end Sunday night as they play host to the Houston Dynamo. Here are some key points to watch for.
Last time out: Dynamo 3, Sounders 1 in Houston on August 17, 2013 — Giles Barnes struck twice in the first half to help send Seattle to its lone league loss in either August or September of last season.
Battle to watch: Marco Pappa vs. the Houston defense.
The Dynamo back line has been shaky all season, allowing a league-worst 40 goals so far. But in an effort to stop the bleeding, Houston sometimes leans on a disciplined, compact formation to limit space — the type of defensive shell that the Sounders failed to breech last weekend in San Jose.
“Offensively, I think that we were just getting too complacent,” forward Chad Barrett said, “too much like Barcelona, where we were just trying to play to the feet and … nobody’s looking in behind.”
Pappa is the type of creator that can pick out those through balls. See: His one-two with Obafemi Martins early in the Earthquakes loss that nearly opened the scoring. If he can unlock the Houston D early on, the floodgates could open for Seattle.
Player to watch: Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley
The U.S. national team veteran’s standout performance at his record fourth World Cup was rewarded with a Designated Player contact with Houston a few weeks ago, bringing full circle a career that began with the Chicago Fire 14 years ago.
“I haven’t played against him in so long,” Barrett said. “He’s always been a great player, a player I’ve admired.”
Beasley slotted in at left back last weekend against D.C. United, and though he’s versatile enough to play all over the field, expect a similar role Sunday to help plug up that leaky defense.
How to watch: The match will be televised nationally on ESPN2, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.