Playing their fourth game in 12 days and third road game in nine days, the Dynamo earned a 0-0 draw in the most intimidating venue in the league with a determined effort that saw Brian Mullan head a shot off the goal line and the Dynamo force four saves out of Seattle’s Kasey Keller.
The Houston Dynamo earned a 0-0 road draw in their first game of the 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs Thursday night, holding the Seattle Sounders scoreless in front of 35,807 at Qwest Field in Seattle. The Dynamo will host the second leg at Robertson Stadium on Sunday, November 8, trying to advance to their third Western Conference championship game in the last four years.
The closest either team came to scoring was in the 14th minute, when Seattle defender Pat Ianni headed a shot to the back post, and Houston midfielder Brian Mullan, guarding the post, leaped and cleared the ball off the line with a header. Ianni, who moved from the Dynamo to Seattle in the offseason, also hit the crossbar with a header.
The Dynamo had several good chances as well, with Brad Davis heading wide from close range in the first half and Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller saving a header from Brian Ching.
Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad, 41 years old, made two saves for the shutout. His counterpart, Seattle's Kasey Keller (39 years old), made four saves. Houston and Seattle tied for the MLS lead with only 29 goals allowed in 30 regular season games this season.
The Dynamo where whistled for 18 fouls in the game, while Seattle was only called for six fouls. Each team had three players receive yellow cards in a physical game that picked up right where the teams' two regular-season and one Open Cup meeting left off.
The Dynamo are now unbeaten in their last five MLS games (2-0-3). Thursday's game was their third consecutive road game in nine days and their fourth total game in 13 days.
The Dynamo played without midfielder Corey Ashe (ankle) and defender Richard Mulrooney (disabled list). Forward Luis Angel Landín (knee tendonitis) did not start but came on as a second-half substitute.
Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders
October 29, 2009 -- Qwest Field, Seattle WA
Western Conference Semifinals -- Game 1
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Mike Chabala, Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis, Brian Ching (Cam Weaver 89), Dominic Oduro (Luis Angel Landin 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Wade Barrett, Ryan Cochrane, Eddie Robinson, Craig Waibel.
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Nate Jaqua, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani (Sebastien Le Toux 82), Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero (Roger Levesque 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Stephen King, Zach Scott, Peter Vagenas, Tyson Wahl.
SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 16
HOU -- Pat Onstad (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 16
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 64
SEA -- Brad Evans (caution; Tactical Foul) 68
HOU -- Brian Mullan (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 71
HOU -- Mike Chabala (caution; Tactical Foul) 75
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Steven Taylor; Hector Vergara
4th official: Edvin Jurisevic
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial