The Dynamo hit the road this weekend, leaving a rain-soaked Houston behind to visit a surprisingly not rain-soaked Seattle. Houston is riding high with 6 wins from their first 8 matches, but face a tough test in Seattle, a place they have never won.
Dynamo Theory: Seattle has been hit with a rash of injuries up front. Who can we expect in the Seattle attack this weekend and is Will Bruin going to factor in and haunt the Dynamo once again?
Sounder at Heart: It looks like the injury crisis, if you can even call it that, is officially over. Both Raul Ruidiaz and Will Bruin played against Minnesota. I expect Ruidiaz to start and Bruin to come off the bench, but maybe Brian Schmetzer will start Bruin against his former team.
DT: The Dynamo have never won in Seattle. What makes CenturyLink Field such a strong homefield advantage for Seattle?
SaH: It’s probably a combination of multiple factors. CenturyLink has always had one of the best atmospheres in MLS. CenturyLink also has a turf field, and teams that don’t regularly play on turf, like the Dynamo, tend to struggle on the pitch in Seattle. Also, the Sounders have always been pretty good. Also for the first 4 or 5 years of the Sounders’ MLS existence the Dynamo were in the Eastern Conference. It’s kind of a weird stat that I don’t necessarily expect to go away soon.
DT: Where is the weakness in this Seattle team and what do you think would have to happen for the Dynamo to take advantage and leave with at least a point?
SaH: In recent weeks, Seattle’s been riddled with injuries and it’s really thrown a wrench in their rhythm. Even with 5 of the 6 injured players back in the 18 last week against Minnesota, the Sounders still struggled to be at their best. A lot of what makes Seattle “work” offensively is their fluid left hand side build up through Brad Smith, Nico Lodeiro, and Victor Rodriguez. Teams have obviously caught on to that, so the Sounders started using Gustav Svensson as a release value of sorts, quickly switching the play down the right with through balls or balls over the top to Jordan Morris. He’s still the player that’s injured, and Jordy Delem just isn’t as good of a passer as him. The Dynamo can leave with a point if they effectively shut down the left side while not giving Seattle any other options. It’ll be tough.
For my answers to Mark’s questions about the Dynamo, check out Sounder at Heart, here. And leave us your predictions for the match in Seattle in the comments.