Luis Angel Landín made his Houston Dynamo debut as a substitute Sunday night at Robertson Stadium, but his new club still could not figure out a way to beat the Seattle Sounders. Geoff Cameron scored his first goal of the season in the first half, but former Dynamo player Nate Jaqua secured the 1-1 draw for Seattle, which finished the regular season 1-0-1 against Houston. The Sounders also beat the Dynamo in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal last month.
Cameron scored his first MLS goal of the year in the 36th minute when he deflected a free kick by Brad Davis past Kasey Keller and into the net. For Davis, it was his team-leading eighth assist of the season.
Jaqua, the former Dynamo that helped the team win it all in 2007 and played well for the Orange down the stretch last summer and fall, tied the game in the 70th minute when he took a pass from Steve Zakuani and volleyed past Pat Onstad. The Dynamo were caught looking around just minutes after Zakuani somehow missed a wide-open net after a near-perfect pass from Freddie Ljungerg.
Landín entered the match in the 76th minute for starting forward Kei Kamara and received a standing ovation from the large crowd at Robertson Stadium. He made several nice plays to get the ball and nearly assisted on what could have been the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute. Stuart Holden found a little bit of free space near the top of the box, but his shot zipped wide of the goal and to the left of Kasey Keller.
In a wild first half filled with fouls, scoring chances, and Cameron’s goal, it was Seattle that carried play, as the speedy Ljungberg was hard for the Orange to contain in the first 45 minutes. In the fourth minute, the Swede – back in action after missing two starts because of disorientation – took a nice pass from Jaqua, sped by Wade Barrett, and fired a point-blank shot off a charging Onstad from about 12 yards out. Onstad got a piece of the ball, but the shot continued through the penalty area toward net. Amazingly, barrett recovered and cleared the ball out of the six-yard box.
Two minutes later, the Orange countered when Kei Kamara had a golden opportunity after taking a lob from Cameron. Kamara settled the ball and picked out the far corner, but Keller lunged to his right and got a hand on the shot. The ball skipped wide, and Kamara, back on the field after nursing a quad strain, buried his face in his hands to lament the missed opportunity.
In the 22nd minute, after carrying play, Seattle had another great chance when Ljungberg again got the best of Barrett. This time, instead of shooting, Ljungberg served a cross to midfielder Brad Evans, but the pass was too high and the scoring chance was wasted.
The Soudners had two quick chances to start the second half and nearly tied the game when Jaqua put the ball in the net in the 46th minute, but Jaqua was whistled offside because Onstad was out of the goalmouth and only one defender remained between Jaqua and the goal. Linesman Adam Garner made the correct cal to negate the score. Three minutes later, Sebastien Le Toux ripped a shot on goal that a busy Onstad knocked away with a two-handed save.
The Dynamo return to action at midweek with a trip to Panam to face Árabe Unido in the second match of group play in the CONCACAF Champions League before traveling to Colorado next Sunday to face the Rapids. The Sounders return home for a match Saturday afternoon against Toronto FC.
Andrew J. Ferraro is a contributor to MLSnet.com.
Seattle Sounders (8-6-9) vs. Houston Dynamo (11-6-7)
August 23, 2009 -- Robertson Stadium, Houston TX
HOU -- Geoff Cameron 1 (Brad Davis 8) 36
SEA -- Nate Jaqua 7 (Steve Zakuani 4, James Riley 3) 70
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Patrick Ianni 81), Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez, Sebastien Le Toux, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Freddie Ljungberg (Peter Vagenas 88), Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque (Steve Zakuani 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Ben Dragavon, Sanna Nyassi, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis.
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Ryan Cochrane (Craig Waibel 75), Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 72), Brian Ching, Kei Kamara (Luis Angel Landin 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Mike Chabala, Danny Cruz, Dominic Oduro.
SEA -- Roger Levesque (caution; Reckless Tackle) 13
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Reckless Tackle) 19
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Claudio Badea; Adam Garner
4th official: Chris Penso
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-90-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial