In a game in which the Seattle Sounders couldn’t be bothered to go full throttle, rightly or not, they still managed to come away with the point that was always the plan after the first five minutes in a 1 – 1 draw in front of another sparse crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Sounders left Chad Marshall and Clint Dempsey at home to rest up for their big rivalry rematch with the Portland Timbers this weekend. With the weakened squad, the visitors attempted to pounce on the Houston Dynamo defense early and bunker in the remainder of the match.
Despite a few chances, however, the Dynamo backline was able to keep them off the board. With Houston’s offense struggling yet again, the half devolved into a snooze fest.
What should have been an exciting development was anything but, as Erick Torres got his first start with the team since returning from the Olympics in Brazil.
Unfortunately his lack of playing time showed as the very few times he got the ball his shots were off and his ability to see the field was lacking. In fact, the best chance of the entire half came late when Jalil Anibaba, starting at left back, got into the box and sent a low shot towards the near post.
The best performance in the half, indeed the entire game, came from Alex, starting at defensive midfielder alongside Collen Warner. The pair were tasked with keeping Uruguayan International Nicolas Lodeiro silent and did a masterful job for 99.9% of the game. More on that in a bit.
Even more impressive was Alex’s ability to join in the attack and help create chances with Chaco Maidana. Despite the number of chances created, 22 in fact, most were from outside the box and the Seattle defenders tossed themselves in front of shots at every turn. Of all the shots created, only four found their way towards net, but only one of those was any dangerous.
That shot came after some very good high pressure from the Dynamo caught the Seattle defense attempting to play out of the back to waste time. Alex made a fantastic interception that fell perfectly to Ricardo Clark. He tapped it to second half substitute Andrew Wenger, who sent a hard shot across the face of goal to take the lead.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, the Dynamo did their best to bury the Sounders and created several chances. Two came from Will Bruin, brought in for Erick Torres, but both were botched.
The first came on a breakaway when Oscar Garcia sent a perfectly weighted pass forward. Bruin went on the dribble with Wenger keeping pace. With only one defender, the goal scorer was wide open, but Bruin elected to take the shot instead and sent it well wide of the goal.
The second came with Will just wide of the goal and with an open lane. This chance went wide as well.
With four minutes of stoppage on the clock, the Dynamo seemed destined to escape with a win. One play remained, a corner kick. The initial chance was blocked but the ball wasn’t cleared properly. Seattle quickly worked it back into the box where Lodeiro was waiting. The defense wasn’t paying close enough attention and the midfielder made no mistake it blasting it home to tie the match up.
Despite the numerous chances created, the draw was a fair result. Seattle never really sought to win the match, and Houston didn’t seem capable, despite taking the lead, of earning the win. Another chance that went wanting was when Wenger attempted to pull a Landon Donovan but hit the side net instead.
The most disconcerting part about the Dynamo’s play was the inability for the strikers to get more involved in the attack and threaten Stefan Frei’s net. In fact between the pair they had three chances with Bruin’s going wide and Torres’ low roller no threat.
Both teams will look to move very quickly past this one and worry about their respective rivalry matches this weekend. Houston will look to secure the cannon for the first time in years and all they have to do is keep on playing the way they have been. The Sounders travel up to Portland in the hope of leapfrogging them for the final playoff spot.