Preview: Seattle Sounders look to rebound down in Texas from rival loss

Seattle Sounders FC Stefan Frei

Preview (July 26, 2019) — Coming off a loss is always hard. However, add in the fact that the loss was inflicted on by a rival team. That makes it 10 times worse. The Seattle Sounders FC are coming off a tight 2-1 loss at the hands of the Portland Timbers.

However, it’s time for Seattle to move on and pick themselves up.

Houston is next up on the schedule for the Sounders. Down at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo have been strong, compiling a 7-1-3 winning record. Houston has been in the news lately, with NBA star James Harden taking a small percentage of ownership between the Dynamo and Dash.

Houston might not have the flashiest players like Zlatan, Carlos Vela or even Raúl Ruidíaz. However, the team does spurts of greatness. The Dynamo are coming off a win from Toronto, which they desperately needed to avoid a four-match losing streak.

During his mid-week press conference, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said his side will be prepared and ready.

“Watch their counterattacks and watch what they do well,” Schmetzer said. “We have to play at our strengths. We are a good possession-based team… I think the team is on an uptick. Maybe it’s one good result or one bad result, but stats are sometimes useful. We’re confident heading in there.”

Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC
2019 MLS Regular Season
BBVA Compass Stadium
July 27, 2019 — 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET


What to Watch For

Once again… The Centerback Pairing

It’s been a tale of the tape for Seattle.

Something looked off last weekend with Roman Torres. He was caught ball-watching on Brian Fernandez’ first goal and couldn’t do much to stop the second one. Seattle had a rough outing with Portland, defensive wise. It’s impossible to blame the goalkeeper, Stefan Frei, on those situations.

Torres is getting older and Schmetzer knows that Xavier Arreaga is the future for the Sounders. He’s said it before, after the Columbus Crew SC match. However, Schmetzer hasn’t elected to start him much since his arrival.

Instead, Schmetzer continues to start Torres over Arreaga. This isn’t a case of if the other centerback in this equation — Kim Kee-hee — should sit out. Kim has performed well since his arrival in Seattle. It’s not a secret that it’s going to be hard to get him on the same page as Arreaga. Both players don’t know the same language and both require a translator most times.

However, if Seattle wants their best starting lineup against Houston, it’s time to move Torres over to the bench.

The Injury Report

Seattle Sounders FC

Víctor Rodríguez can’t catch a break.

Rodríguez finds himself back on the injury list with a hamstring strain. He’s been ruled out for Saturday night’s clash down south. The injury list is no unusual spot for Rodríguez. He has been on and off the list since his arrival in Seattle. When he’s healthy, Rodríguez is great. However, the Sounders need to find a way to keep him healthy.

Houston Dynamo

Huzzah for Houston! Only one name is on the injury list. Midfielder Eric Bird has been ruled as questionable with a left ankle injury.

Last Meeting: May 5, 2019

This season, the Dynamo already took a trip up to the Pacific Northwest. At CenturyLink Field, Cristian Roldan gave the Sounders and early lead with a 5th minute goal. However, the match was close, as Seattle took 16 shots to Houston’s 11.

Prediction: Sounders 2, Houston 0

Stefan Frei would love for a clean sheet. However, the defense would like it even more. Hypothetically speaking, if Kim and Arreaga were to start side-by-side, a clean sheet could do wonders for their confidence. Seattle has all the tools to get three points. Right now, with a tight Western Conference race, every point counts.

Seattle currently sits in third place, hanging onto the spot with 35 points. Minnesota is breathing down the Sounders’ neck, sitting in fourth place with 34 points.

However, Houston has a lot to gain or lose here, too. The Dynamo sit right underneath the playoff line with 30 points.

Stefan Frei walks out to CenturyLink Field with his fellow Seattle Sounders FC teammates against the Portland Timbers on Sunday, July 21, 2019. Photo courtesy of Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC.