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Second half struggle leads to Houston Dynamo loss to the Seattle Sounders

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Despite a solid first half performance, changes and mistakes by the Dynamo see Seattle on top after 90 minutes.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo FC hoped to break two streaks in their trip to face the Seattle Sounders: 1) to finally get a win in Seattle and 2) to snap their streak of ties. The Dynamo only managed the second objective, but in a 2-0 loss at Lumen Field. Despite an outstanding first half performance, poor personnel changes along with a few mistakes defending led to the loss.

The home side came out aggressive and looked to play primarily through the center, but the Dynamo defense did well to prevent penetrating passes becoming quality opportunities on goal.

As the Dynamo began to settle in and push higher up the field and increase their possession, Houston dodged a close chance by Raúl Ruidíaz. From the counter attack, Fredy Montero slipped Ruidíaz a perfect through ball, but his effort to go around Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić was foiled by the woodwork.

Houston had increased their possession and confidence pressing which led to their first good look on goal in the 17th minute. After some extended possession in the final third, eventually Memo Rodríguez tried his luck from outside of the box, but Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland was able to make the save.

Minutes later Fafà Picault missed a golden opportunity. The Dynamo unleashed Fafà Picault on the break and Cleveland rushed out of the box and attempted to head the ball, but Picault got there first and got it over the goalkeeper. He attempted to chip the defender in front of him, but he rushed the shot and missed.

From here, the tempo by both teams picked up as did the number of chances. Jimmy Medranda had a lot of success on the wing for Seattle as he sent in several very dangerous crosses. Houston had some success on the counter too with Picault earning a free kick at the top of the box and then Picault trying to find Urruti on a low driven cross, but it was cut out by the back line.

Early into the second half we saw more of the quick tempo by both sides. The touch and passing in the middle of the field was poor leading to a fast, entertaining watch with lots of chances coming, just no goals produced yet.

Kelyn Rowe tried his luck from range in the 61st minute, but it was well read by the Dynamo goalkeeper who had to go full stretch. Two minutes later Rowe got the game’s opening goal. The Dynamo struggled to clear a ball and eventually it came to Alex Roldan on the wing who drilled a low cross and with the Dynamo defenders out of position, Rowe tapped the ball into the net.

Following the Seattle goal, the Dynamo struggled with their possession as the Sounders controlled the pace of the game. The problems were magnified by the Dynamo as they had trouble connecting with their attacking players which made it difficult for them to get themselves back in the game.

Houston nearly equalized before the 90th minute. Following a long throw in by Zarek Valentin, the ball would fall to Maxi Urruti who blasted a ball right at the goalkeeper.

The Sounders doubled their lead in stoppage time. Following a goal kick, Seattle found Brad Smith who had taken a great run behind on the wing. Smith played a ball across goal and found Ruidíaz who had gotten in front of Sam Junqua to make it 2-0.

The final whistle would blow and the Seattle Sounders would get the three points ending the Dynamo streak of draws. The first half effort was great, but Tab Ramos’s in-game adjustments gave the Sounders more room to push up the field and win back possession essentially taking away our ability to connect with the forwards.

The Dynamo now get a small break with their next game coming on Tuesday July 20th on the road to another Pacific Northwest opponent, the Vancouver Whitecaps at 9:00 PM CT.

Goals:

63’ SEA: Kelyn Rowe (assisted by Alex Roldan)

90’+4’ SEA: Raúl Ruidíaz (assisted by Brad Smith)

Disciplinary:

33’ SEA: Yeimar Gómez (yellow card)

52’ SEA: Danny Leyva (yellow card)

80’ HOU: Fafà Picault (yellow card)

Lineups:

Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundkvist, Sam Junqua, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Derrick Jones (60’ Darwin Cerén), Matías Vera, Joe Corona; Memo Rodríguez (60’ Darwin Quintero), Maxi Urruti, Fafà Picault (84’ Mateo Bajamich)

Seattle Sounders (3-5-1-1): Stefan Cleveland; Abdoulaye Cissoko, Xavier Arreaga, Yeimar Gómez; Kelyn Rowe, Jimmy Medranda (84’ Brad Smith), Danny Leyva (83’ Josh Atencio), João Paulo, Alex Roldan; Fredy Montero; Raúl Ruidíaz