When it comes to the Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders, one thing is for sure: Hold onto your hats.
Through the clubs’ short history against each other, they have put on some memorable matches in some incredibly high-pressure situations. While Saturday’s match is a regular-season tilt, for Houston the match carries significance in a playoff push they are trying to ignite.
“They’re a good team,” said Houston forward Brian Ching. “They’re a team that plays with a lot of confidence, and it’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”
The series history includes splitting knockout matches in 2009. Seattle got the better of the Dynamo the first time with a 2-1 extra-time win at home in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Houston returned the favor in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs that year with a 1-0 aggregate win in extra time after the clubs played to a 0-0 stalemate in the first leg.
In Week 2 of this year, the clubs battled in another exciting match when Washington state native Tally Hall turned in a massive performance to help the Dynamo to a 1-1 draw in Seattle.
Since then, though, the two sides have traveled different paths. The Dynamo have been up and down in their performances, while Seattle is riding a nine-game unbeaten run in MLS play (though the Sounders had a 12-game competitive streak snapped on Tuesday in CONCACAF Champions League action). Their success of late has a great deal to do with the play of their rock in central midfield.
“They have a guy in midfield whose been a little overlooked in Osvaldo Alonso,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “He’s been excellent for them this year.”
Still searching for consistency and confidence, the Dynamo are intent on making Saturday’s match about their own form, not how excellent Seattle’s players have been.
“I think understanding their tendencies is important, but we have to focus on ourselves,” said rookie defender Kofi Sarkodie, who made his first start against Seattle in Week 2. “They’re going to do what they do best, and we have to do the same. You can’t really worry because they have so many talented guys, but that’s how it is at this level. So we have to focus on ourselves and putting in a good effort.”
Oscar Boniek García deal falls through
Honduran outlet La Prensa reported Thursday morning that the Houston Dynamo’s bid to bring Olimpia and Honduran national-team midfielder Oscar Boniek García to MLS had fallen through. Thursday evening the Dynamo confirmed that the loan-to-buy deal died at the last minute.
“We had an agreement in place about two days ago,” Kinnear told the Houston Chronicle. “We were waiting for the signed documents to be returned, and they pulled the plug. They went the opposite way and said, 'The deal’s not happening.'”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.