In a season-opening matchup between the defending champion Seattle Sounders and defending Western Conference bottom-feeders Houston Dynamo, the champs were rightfully favored to win, especially with the return of Clint Dempsey. But in accordance with the long-enforced imaginary rules of MLS, a bunch of weird, unpredictable stuff happened, and the result was not what it was supposed to be.
The Dynamo won 2-1 on goals from Erick Cubo Torres (his first in a Dynamo uniform after two years) and Romell Quioto. The hosts came out of the gates in a full-scale press and dynamic attacking strategies, pinning Seattle in their own half and creating a number of high-caliber scoring opportunities. Stefan Frei was forced into a few early saves and Torres and Quioto buzzed the goal a couple of times.
Eventually, Cubo drew a free kick from just outside the box and proceeded to nail a knuckling bouncer past the MLS Cup MVP, who bit on the ball’s movement and was caught going the wrong way. It marked the dawn of a new era in Torres’s troubled Houston career, which had been plagued by managerial unfaithfulness and a lack of production and effort.
Seattle’s goal continued to be the place of action following Torres’s opening goal, with the Dynamo continuing to shut off the Sounders’ distribution centers. Quioto made it 2-0 when he swerved a long-range shot past a helpless Frei, the second golazo of the day for the Dynamo. The stadium was set into a frenzy and the soccer world took notice of this newfound Houston dominance.
2-0 was the way the half ended. Things settled down early in the second 45, with the Dynamo sitting back on their throne and the Sounders tentatively inching forward, trying to find the correct spacing between Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro (they never did). Neither team mustered much on goal until the 58th-minute, when Dempsey pounced on a rebound from a Lodeiro shot/cross and cut the lead in half.
The game opened up in the final thirty minutes as the Sounders pressed numbers forward in an effort to equalize, but with both Quioto and Alberth Elis exiting the game in favor of Vicente Sanchez and Andrew Wenger, Houston couldn’t take advantage on the counter. Sounders center back Roman Torres ended the game with a skied shot inside the box, giving the Dynamo a well-earned three points to start the season.
Tonight's @GEICO Starting XI: Deric; DeLaGarza, Machado, Leonardo, Beasley; Clark ©, Alexander, Alex; Elis, Torres, Quioto #HOUvSEA pic.twitter.com/WxFyAMkqPV— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) March 5, 2017
The boys are ready...are you?!— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) March 5, 2017
Here's today's #Sounders Starting XI, brought to you by @Delta: https://t.co/xkR4MYh0Dh #HOUvSEA pic.twitter.com/qf0FxEUuEB