The Houston Dynamo will look to continue the momentum from Wednesday night’s big win as they take on the CONCACAF Champions League winners Seattle Sounders tonight. The Dynamo are coming off a 2-1 victory over LAFC midweek at PNC Stadium. Seattle also played midweek, losing a 2 goal lead and losing to Orlando City 3-2 on the road. The Sounders beat the Dynamo in the first meeting between the two clubs this season, 1-0 at PNC Stadium in May.
Winless in Seattle
The Houston Dynamo have never won in Seattle but if there was ever going to be a chance, this might be it. Although Seattle became the first Major League Soccer team to win the CONCACAF Champions League this year, they have struggled mightily in league play and are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time in their existence. Seattle has 5 home losses this season (the same number as the Dynamo) and have been riddled with injuries. Joao Paulo and Cristian Roldan will miss tonight’s contest through injury. If the Dynamo ever wanted three points in the Emerald City (on one of the few MLS fields that is still turf), this is their best chance.
Shuffling the back line
With Teenage Hadebe injured and Daniel Steres suspended, Ethan Bartlow got the start at center back against LAFC and played very well in the win. Hadebe is a game-time decision this week, according to head coach Paulo Nagamura, and Steres will be available after serving his suspension. So who starts at center back? Your guess is as good as mine. Tim Parker seems like the one player likely to be in the lineup but we could see anyone from the threesome of Steres, Hadebe, and Bartlow. Griffin Dorsey seems to have taken over the right back spot for good, and his game-winning goal on Wednesday will help cement that. Adam Lundkvist has been the one constant at left back this season, barring his paternity leave.
Finding the right formula
With three games in 9 days, rotation is very important. So what does Nagamura consider when assessing who and when to rotate? “It’s a combination of the experiences we had in the past with the players,” Nagamura saud in his weekly press conference. “It’s assessing the data, communicating with the players. I feel that we have to be very honest, and I try to keep that open communication with my players. They can let me know when they are tired or fresh and ready to go because I trust that when we put players on the field, they are going to give their best for the team. They would not help the team if they were 80 or 90 percent, they must be 100 percent when they step on the field. We are trying to touch all those points.”
Houston Dynamo – Out: Darwin Ceren (suspension); Questionable: Hector Herrera (right leg), Teenage Hadebe (left leg), Thor Ulfarsson (abdominal), Zeca (right leg)
Seattle Sounders – Out: Joao Paulo (right ACL tear), Cristian Roldan (groin surgery), Andrew Thomas (lower back stress fracture), Obed Vargas (lower back stress fracture)