Sounders FC got its second win in as many games tonight, knocking off the Houston Dynamo 2-0 at CenturyLink Field.
Houston (2-1-0) had opened its season with back-to-back road shutout wins. However, Seattle needed only 23 minutes to get onto the scoreboard, and only four minutes more to record its second goal.
The first came as Houston tried to clear a ball from its own penalty area. However, David Estrada swooped on it and knocked the ball in from 23 yards for his fourth goal of the young season.
Cheering from the crowd of 38,304 had hardly calmed when Houston was whistled for a penalty in the 18-yard box. Brad Evans took the penalty kick and knocked it in, low and to the left of goalkeeper Tally Hall of Gig Harbor.
That was all the scoring they would need as goalkeeper Michael Gspurning recorded his first MLS clean sheet, which dropped his goals-against average to 0.50.
Seattle’s victory came despite projected starters missing on all three lines: Eddie Johnson (hip) at forward, Mauro Rosales (knee) at midfield, and Adam Johansson (hamstring) at right back.
After his hat trick last week, Estrada was the obvious starter at forward. At midfield, coach Sigi Schmid went with Roger Levesque, and on the back line started Zach Scott. Rosales’ captain armband went to Fredy Montero.
The Sounders conclude their season-opening three-game homestand a week from Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Estrada reversal: In another -- presumably final -- scoring change, Seattle's first goal -- shown above -- is once again credited to David Estrada. It is his fourth of the season.78th minute: Yellow card to Houston's Brad Davis.
76th minute: Houston subs Kandji in for Brian Ching. (We're also hearing that the Sounders' substitution for Brad Evans may have been due to a hamstring issue.)
75th minute: Seattle still up, 2-0. What had been a pretty free-flowingly fun game is getting a little ragged.
61st minute: Carrasco in for Evans. No apparent injury, but we're checking.
60th minute: Still 2-0. Still a pretty free-flowing game. And getting predictably chippy.
Second half: Has begun. Same 11 for Sounders. One Houston sub: Taylor for Hainault.
Halftime: Sounders up, 2-0. They were looking very confident at the end.
Shots: Houston, 5-4; shots on goal, 1-1; duels won, houston 53.2-47.9; passing accuracy, Houston 79.2-77.9; possession, Houston, 54.2-45.8.
Own goal: That first goal is being taken from Estrada and ruled an own-goal on deflection off Cameron. (Goal in video above.)
27th minute: GOAL Seattle. Brad Evans knocks home a PK, low right. Seattle, 2-0. These are the first and second goals the Dynamo have given up this season. And the Evans goal was Seattle's first non-Estrada goal of the young season.
23rd minute: GOAL Seattle. Estrada scores unassisted, jumping on a missed clearance by Houston and pounding it back in from about 23 yards. Estrada's fourth goal of a season now 113 minutes old.
First 20 minutes: Nice action so far, with both teams finding their way into dangerous attacking areas. Fun game.
18th minute: Nice save by Gspurning, and another close call after resulting corner by Dynamo.
First 15 minutes: Nice active start from Brad Evans, who is finding space through the Dynamo.
First 10 minutes: Both teams going up and down the pitch, but no great chances yet.
Kickoff: Game has begun. Houston in orange/white; Sounders in rave/blue. And -- contrary to lineup card and my earlier report -- it is Fredy Montero wearing the captain's armband rather than Brad Evans.
7:10: Pregame ceremonies beginning...
Lineups: Interesting lineup for the Sounders ... all the way through the reserves. Starters: GK Gspurning; D Scott, Ianni, Hurtado, Burch; M Levesque, Alonso, Evans, Fernandez; F Montero, Estrada. Reserves: Meredith, Carrasco, Caskey, Gonzalez, Ochoa, Parke, Sivebaek.
Houston has tweeted this: Starting XI: Hall; Hainault, Cameron, Boswell, Ashe; Clark, Moffat, Watson, Davis; Bruin, Ching. Reserves: Deric, Camargo, Carr, Weaver, Sturgis, Taylor, Kandji.
First kick update: We are told first kick will actually be 7:20. 7:00 apparently is NBCSN shorthand.
Pregame: I've arrived at CenturyLink Field on a beautiful March evening.
The game projects as a good one: 2-0 Houston at 1-0 Seattle. Kickoff is 7 p.m. The game will be on NBCSN and the usual radio spots.
Unless I hear objection, I think I'd go with this traditional blogging through the game tonight, rather than the live-blogging that didn't seem so well received last Saturday. We'll decide about later games later. And that decision will be based on your preferences, so let me know what you like.
I'll be back with pregame news as it happens, probably starting with what could be a very interesting starting lineup for the Sounders, with Mauro Rosales believed out for sure, and Adam Johansson's status unclear.