The Sounders arrived in Texas having never won a match against the Dynamo in Houston, so coach Sigi Schmid fielded a tweaked lineup in the hopes of getting the Sounders into scoring form in a place that they were desperate for it. While the streak wasn’t broken as Seattle still hasn’t won in Houston, the Sounders left with a better result than they deserved, a 1-1 draw thanks to a late – late – Chad Marshall goal.
The first half was dominated completely by Houston, with the Sounders’ best chances on goal coming from set pieces and a few poor attacks in open play. Houston’s dominance eventually paid off, and Giles Barnes put in an excellent chip over a stunned, frozen Seattle defense after an attacking throw-in. In the entire first half, Houston had 14 shots with six on target, while Seattle had six shots with one on target.
Houston’s dominance continued into the second half, as Sigi Schmid tried his best to get his team into scoring positions. Seattle did manage to keep Houston away from goal for much of the half, and looked far more dangerous on the end of the pitch.
Oalex Anderson came on around halfway through the half for Aaron Kovar and managed to get himself into dangerous areas a handful of times but couldn’t find the net. Joevin Jones, who may have had his worst game for Seattle, came off later in the half for Dylan Remick. Herculez Gomez made his first competitive appearance for Seattle late in the match and immediately combined well with Anderson, but the latter couldn’t find the goal.
The three substitutions impacted the last 15 minutes, as the Sounders had their first and only spell of real dominance in the final third. In the 94th minute, after Anderson had worked the ball into the box and crossed it in, the Houston goalkeeper tipped the cross into the path of Seattle defender Marshall, who popped it right into the box for the equalizer.
Man of the match: Chad Marshall. Eight interceptions to help fend off a vicious Houston attack. Scored Seattle’s only goal to rescue a point for the visitors.
Turning point: Herculez Gomez’s introduction in the 79th minute. Jordan Morris was largely ineffective, and the Sounders’ only spell of dangerous possession (and only goal) came after Gomez came on and worked very well with Anderson.
Key stat: Zero of nine crosses completed by Andreas Ivanschitz, six of which were corner kicks. The Sounders were very predictable and drab for much of this game, and sending in crosses with no heads to meet them was an exercise in futility.
One reason to worry: Seattle’s most dangerous players appear to only be able to play 30 or so minutes right now. If Anderson and Gomez are unable to play a full match, can they be relied on to do all the work in the final minutes every week?
One reason to relax: Houston is a notoriously tough place to play, and this was only the second time this season (out of five matches) that Houston was held to a goal or less in attack. Seattle’s defense looks as solid as ever, aside from the weird mistakes that led to Houston’s lone goal.
Injuries: None, unless Joevin Jones’ early substitution was due to to injury.
Spenser Davis also covers the Sounders for Sounder at Heart.