Missing both starting central defenders due to suspension, the Dynamo fell to a controversial road loss to the league’s newest team. Brad Davis gave Houston an early lead, but Mike Chabala’s apparent goal-line clearance was questionably ruled a goal, and former Dynamo Patrick Ianni scored in the second half to give Seattle the win. Erik Ustruck made his MLS debut as a substitute.
The Houston Dynamo, depleted by injuries, national-team duty, and suspension, came away hard-luck losers Saturday afternoon at Qwest Field, falling 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders, with a disputed first-half goal separating the teams.
The Dynamo remain in first place in Major League Soccer and the Western Conference, three points ahead of Seattle and four points ahead of Chivas USA, although Chivas USA has two games in hand.
The Dynamo stunned the sold-out crowd of 32,404 with a goal in the 12th minute, when Kei Kamara’s cross from the right was not cleared, and Dominic Oduro and Brian Mullan combined to lay the ball off for Brad Davis, who fired a left-footed shot into the lower right corner of the net for his third goal of the season.
The controversial play came in the 32nd minute, when Seattle’s Nate Jaqua found Fredy Montero in the penalty area. Montero brought the ball down on his chest and chipped it over charging goalkeeper Pat Onstad, but Houston’s Mike Chabala arrived to apparently clear the ball off the line. The referee’s assistant ruled the ball had crossed the line, although replays appeared to show otherwise, and the game was tied.
Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad had a busy first half, making three saves, including a huge stop on Seattle’s Steve Zakuani in the 43rd minute.
In the second half, Seattle got the game-winning goal less than one minute after the break, when defender Patrick Ianni – a former Dynamo player – scored with a close-range overhead kick after a corner kick.
Houston is now 3-2 on its current stretch of seven consecutive road games, which consist of four MLS games and three Open Cup games.
Houston was without forwards Brian Ching (U.S. national team) and Cam Weaver (groin strain), midfielder Stuart Holden (U.S. national team), and defenders Wade Barrett (gastrocnemius strain), Bobby Boswell (yellow card accumulation), Geoff Cameron (yellow card accumulation), Andrew Hainault (Canadian national team), and Eddie Robinson (disabled list).
For Houston, third-year player Erik Ustruck made his MLS debut as a substitute for an injured Mike Chabala in the 60th minute. Defender Craig Waibel made his 100th career appearance with the Dynamo. Midfielder Brian Mullan took over the franchise lead with 131 career starts in all competitions.
Midfielder Brad Davis played in his 185th career MLS regular season game, and midfielder Corey Ashe played in the 60th game of his MLS regular season career.
Houston Dynamo (9-4-4) vs. Seattle Sounders (7-3-7)
July 11, 2009 -- Qwest Field, Seattle WA
HOU -- Brad Davis 3 (Brian Mullan 3, Dominic Oduro 2) 12
SEA -- Fredy Montero 9 (Nate Jaqua 6) 31
SEA -- Patrick Ianni 1 (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 1, Freddie Ljungberg 5) 46
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney, Julius James, Craig Waibel, Mike Chabala (Erik Ustruck 60), Brian Mullan (Danny Cruz 36), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis, Corey Ashe, Kei Kamara, Dominic Oduro (Ade Akinbiyi 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Wade Barrett, John Michael Hayden, Cam Weaver.
Home Team -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, Stephen King, Peter Vagenas, Freddie Ljungberg (Roger Levesque 90), Steve Zakuani (Sebastien Le Toux 56), Nate Jaqua, Fredy Montero.
Substitutes Not Used: Ben Dragavon, Osvaldo Alonso, Sanna Nyassi, Nathan Sturgis.
SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Tactical Foul) 43
SEA -- Peter Vagenas (caution; Dissent) 64
SEA -- Tyson Wahl (caution; Tactical Foul) 66
HOU -- Craig Waibel (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 71
HOU -- Kei Kamara (caution; Reckless Tackle) 90
Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Emiliano Monje
4th official: Landis Wiley
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial