[caption id="attachment_47244" align="alignright" width="480"] Upper deck about half full minutes before Sounders-Dynamo first kick.[/caption]Running for OLY; TNT version tk[type your factbox here] Two late goals send Sounders back into win columnSeattle returns to top of MLS as Pappa and Pineda lead 2-0 win over Houston.
After going more than 250 minutes between goals, Seattle Sounders FC managed two in a six-minute stretch Sunday, and the result was a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo.
The Sounders ended a two-game losing streak and moved back to the top of the table in Major League Soccer.
After failing to score in their previous matches against Los Angeles and San Jose, the Sounders struggled again for 68 scoreless minutes against the Dynamo.
Then they broke through on a shot from Marco Pappa, which deflected off of defender David Horst and just past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Seattle scored again six minutes later on a penalty kick from Gonzalo Pineda, following a foul in the area by Ricardo Clark. Hall got a hand on Pineda’s kick, but couldn’t keep it out.
The match played out scorelessly from there in front of a crowd of 50,276 at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders moved to 11-0-3 with a plus-21 goal differential in MLS home games played before crowds of more than 40,000.
The result also moved their season record to an MLS-best 13-6-2, while Houston fell to 6-11-4.
Seattle played without All-Star right back DeAndre Yedlin, who had spent the previous few days in Europe as part of a potential European transfer, which apparently has not yet been finalized.
Brad Evans moved from midfielder to Yedlin’s position, while the Sounders’ usual starters once again filled the other three back-line positions: Chad Marshall and Djimi Traore in the middle, and Leo Gonzalez at left back.
Seattle’s other three All-Stars also returned to the starting lineup: Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins at forward and Osvaldo Alonso at midfield.
The match started the busiest stretch of the Sounders’ season. They return to action Wednesday, meeting the Chicago Fire in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal match at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
Then the Sounders close out the week with a Saturday visit to Real Salt Lake. After that, three more matches await before the month is out.
Martins picked up his second yellow card of the Houston match in the 86th minute and will miss the visit to RSL.86'
69' GOAL Sounders. Odd little bouncer from Pappa, deflected off Horst. Hall got a touch to it, but not enough. Seattle, 1-0.
Through 60: Still scoreless. Still few real chances.
Second half: ... is under way. No changes for Seattle. One for Houston: Johnson for Bruin.
Halftime: 0-0. Houston had the better of the play most of the way, with Seattle finally threatening a bit just before the whistle.
Shots 8-6 HOU; on target 2-1 SEA; HOU; duels won 53.1 HOU; passing accuracy 82.4 Hou and 81.6 Sea; possession 50.1 SEA.
26' Frei stops Davis PK, going down and reaching to his left. Still 0-0.24' Houston PK coming for Traore handball. Penso waited on it, but linesman waved flag. And apparently rightly.
Through 15: No real chances or much rhythm yet.
First kick: ... has been struck. We're under way. Sounders in rave/blue; Houston in white/white.
Lineups: Sounders starters: G Frei; D Evans, Marshall, Traore, Gonzalez; M Neagle. Alonso, Pineda, Pappa; F Martins, Dempsey. Reserves: Hahnemann, Anibaba, Azira, Barrett, Cooper, Rose, Scott. Obviously missing is DeAndre Yedlin.
For Houston: Hall; Sarkodie, Horst, Taylor, Beasley; García, Garrido, Clark, Davis ©; Bruin, Barnes. Reserves: Deric, Ashe, Carrasco, Cochran, Driver, Johnson, Ownby.
Pregame: It is a warm and sunny Sunday in Seattle, where the Sounders will meet the Houston Dynamo at 7:38 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN2, heard on the usual radio outlets, and blogged here, with additional updates and comment on Twitter @donruiztnt.
The Sounders are looking to end their first two-game losing streak of the season, and to reclaim first place in the MLS points race, where they are currently one point behind Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City. The Sounders have a head-to-head match at RSL awaiting on Saturday.
I'll be back with lineups and other developments as I learn them.