Heading into this weekend, the Houston Dynamo was the top scoring team in Major League Soccer.
The Dynamo had 11 goals over its first three games before being shut out in its last match, a 1-0 loss at Vancouver.
But anyone thinking the Whitecaps figured out a way to slow the Houston attack didn’t watch the match.
“Houston was all over them,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “(Vancouver goalkeeper David) Ousted made some huge saves in that game. Houston had (17 shots). They definitely pummeled Vancouver. It wasn’t for a lack of getting scoring opportunities that they didn’t score. It just didn’t go in for them that day.”
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That hadn’t been a problem for the Dynamo in their previous matches, as they scored three goals against New England, five against Dallas and three at the New York Red Bulls.
The Dynamo stands at 1-2-1 on the season because it has surrendered eight goals. That meant Houston’s three goals were good for only a draw against the Revolution, and provided nothing in the standings against the Red Bulls.
“They’re obviously a team that’s very good offensively,” Schmid said of the Dynamo. “They score a lot of goals at home, but they’re also a team that’s allowed some goals. So we have to take advantage of it. I think (Joe) Willis — their goalkeeper — leads the league in shots he’s faced. We just have to take advantage of that part of the field and make sure we keep it locked up in the back.”
Seven Dynamo players have scored this season, topped by forward Will Bruin, who has three goals.
“He’s a big guy,” Schmid said. “He’s a handful up there. He’s got decent pace for a guy his size, but he’s just a load. He knows what he does well. He stays up high with the back line, he tries to make his runs in behind, and he gets his body in there when there’s crosses coming.”
The Sounders’ offense hasn’t given much indication of being able to keep up in a shootout. Seattle has three goals over four games — one each from Clint Dempsey, Andreas Ivanschitz and Osvaldo Alonso — and hasn’t scored more than one in any game.
The degree of difficulty could be raised at Houston, as starting Seattle forward Nelson Valdez won’t start and may not play after suffering a leg injury.
That could create an opportunity for homegrown rookie Jordan Morris to return to the first 11, after being used in a reserve role for the first time last week.
Houston Dynamo (1-2-1; 4 points) vs. Seattle Sounders (1-3-0; 3 points)
1 p.m. Sunday, BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston.
TV: ESPN. Radio: 97.3 FM.
HEAD TO HEAD: Seattle leads the regular-season series 5-3-3, but the Dynamo leads 3-0-2 in Houston. The Sounders will return Aug. 24, and the Dynamo will visit CenturyLink Field on Oct. 12.
NOTES: The Dynamo came into this weekend as the highest-scoring team in Major League Soccer. Nine of Houston’s goals have come from inside the box. … The Dynamo has lost back-to-back games. The Sounders are coming off their first win of the season, 1-0, at home against Montreal. … Both teams were off last weekend. … Seattle starting forward Nelson Valdez (leg) is doubtful, and midfielder Erik Friberg (knee) remains out. Houston will be without midfielder Collen Warner (hamstring), goalkeeper Tyler Deric (abdominal strain), forward Giles Barnes (hamstring) and defender Abdoulie Mansally (concussion). … Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis has a 2.0 goals-against average and came into the weekend having faced more shots than anyone in the league. … Will Bruin leads Houston with three goals. Seattle has three goals on the season, one each by Clint Dempsey, Andreas Ivanschitz and Osvaldo Alonso. … The Dynamo is 1-0-1 at home. The Sounders are 0-1 away. … The Houston weather forecast calls for a temperature of 78 around game time. … The referee will be Ismail Elfath.