The Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo played a highly contentious match on Thursday evening to a 0-0 draw. A capacity crowd of 35,807 at Quest field in Seattle saw a match that contained 6 yellow cards (3 for each side) and countless missed opportunities on both sides. Although the ferocity of the game earned many of the headlines, the story for the Seattle Sounders was one of wasted opportunities.
As was the case so many times this season, the Seattle Sounders main impediment on Thursday evening was the fact that they were unable to convert upon the chances that the team earned. Their best chance coming off a Patrick Ianni header was cleared off the line by Dynamo defender Brian Mullan in the 14th minute. The main culprit of this lack of finishing was Seattle’s Colombian forward Fredy Montero, who was anemic in front of net. Montero’s best chance to score came in the 61st minute, with a beautiful turn in front goal that beat Houston defender Geoff Cameron. The Sounders striker found himself one on one with Houston Goalkeeper Pat Onstad, but pushed the effort just wide. In addition to the lack of the finishing, Montero quickly found that in the playoffs MLS officials are far less willing to call fouls than in the regular season, as the striker’s attempts to draw a foul were unheeded.
Following the match, Sigi Schmid had this to say about his embattled forward, “Fredy was sick on Tuesday. He trained Wednesday, but was still feeling the after effects. I said give me as many minutes as you can.” However, Schmid was optimistic about the Sounders chances to break the Houston defense, “They were tight and pressured us. Maybe we need to get into the spaces behind. Roger (Levesque) got in behind them three or four times and that’s where the space is. If we can put the ball behind them, it creates problem,” said Schmid.
In order to become the second expansion franchise to qualify for the Conference Finals, the team will need a big game from the club’s pair of Fred’s Ljungberg and Montero if it is are going to win the biggest match in the club’s short history. Seattle will not be provided many chances against a Houston team that was 7-2-6 at home this season, which included a hard fought 1-1 tie against the Sounders on August 23rd. Speaking after the match, forward Nate Jaqua was defiant about his team’s chances going into Robertson Stadium.
“We had a few chances that we could’ve put away. But we have been good on the road. We are confident going down to Houston and getting a win down there.”