SEATTLE — Reigning MLS Player of the Week David Estrada doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The Seattle revelation opened the scoring in the 23rd minute as the Sounders rode a pair of early goals to a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo in front of 38,304 at CenturyLink Field.
Brad Evans added a penalty kick four minutes after Estrada’s tally for the final. The Sounders move to 2-0-0 on the young season, while the Dynamo dropped their first points of the year, falling to 2-1-0 on their season-opening seven-game road trip.
For Houston, an offense that had eked out a pair of 1-0 victories to open the season sputtered to a halt in Seattle. Will Bruin’s 17th-minute strike forced a save from Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, but other than that the Dynamo were unable to test the Sounders goalkeeper during the nationally-televised match.
Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear’s lineup contained only one change from their 1-0 victory over San Jose. Left back Corey Ashe recovered from his hamstring injury in time to resume his position in the back line, returning to a unit that had begun the season with 180 scoreless minutes.
However, that streak only lasted an additional 23 minutes before Estrada’s opener, which deflected off Geoff Cameron on its way into the net. Cameron’s nightmare continued three minutes later when referee Balmodero Toledo whistled the Dynamo star for undercutting Patrick Ianni during a Seattle corner kick.
Evans buried the resulting penalty to put the Dynamo in the early hole.
Seattle came closest to the night’s third goal when utility man Roger Levesque was put in on Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall early in the second half. Levesque spurned the chance, though, shooting wide from 16 yards.
The visitors attempted to claw back into the game immediately after. Bruin headed near post after a clever run in the 54th minute, but Gspurning swallowed the chance. Even with Bruin and Brian Ching leading the line, the Dynamo couldn’t generate consistent offensive pressure for much of the night.
Luiz Camargo came on in the 67th minute for Houston, his first action since an offseason car accident in his native Brazil delayed his preseason preparations. His inclusion signaled a more attacking stance from Kinnear for the game’s final stanza, but ultimately did not help the Dynamo break through. MLS Cup 2010 hero Macoumba Kandji replaced Ching in the 76th minute, but he was not able to rest the Seattle back line.
Seattle returns to action next weekend, hosting San Jose. The Dynamo take the next two weeks off, returning for a Tax Day road match with the Chicago Fire on April 15.
Houston Dynamo (2-1-0) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (2-0-0)
March 23, 2012 – CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash. Attendance: 38,304
Scoring Summary: SEA – David Estrada 4 (23), Brad Evans 1 (penalty, 27)
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall; Andre Hainault (Jermaine Taylor 45), Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe; Colin Clark, Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Camargo 67), Brad Davis; Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji 76), Will Bruin.
Substitutes Not Used: Calen Carr, Cam Weaver, Nathan Sturgis, Tyler Deric.
Seattle Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning,; Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Roger Levesque (Leo Gonzalez 81), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 61), Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero (Christian Sivebaek 90), David Estrada.
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Caskey, Samuel Ochoa, Bryan Meredith, Jeff Parke.
Misconduct Summary: HOU – Adam Moffat (caution) 35; HOU – Brad Davis (caution) 78; SEA – Alvaro Fernandez (caution) 83.
Referee: Baldomero Toldedo
Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar
Fourth Official: Jason Anno