The Seattle Sounders visit BBVA Compass Stadium for the second time in 2016 this Wednesday (8 p.m. kickoff) riding a three-game winning streak that has boosted them into playoff contention.
The Sounders had an eventful week at the end of July, parting ways with Sigi Schmid, the only head coach in their eight-year MLS era on July 26. A day later, the club signed Uruguay national team midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro on a transfer from Argentinian powerhouse Boca Juniors. Lodeiro, 27, has played in two FIFA World Cups for Uruguay and has also played for Ajax, Botafogo and Corinthians.
Beginning with Lodeiro's debut on July 31 vs. the LA Galaxy, the Sounders are 3-0-1 and are within two points of the Portland Timbers for sixth place and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Lodeiro has one goal and four assists in four appearances for Seattle, each of which was 90 minutes. Lodeiro has revived a stagnant offense for Seattle, which features Texas native Clint Dempsey, the second-leading scorer in U.S. national team history. Dempsey has five goals in four games since Lodeiro's arrival, including a hat trick at Orlando City on August 7 and two goals in Seattle's 3-1 win over Portland to earn MLS Player of the Week honors. Rookie forward Jordan Morris is tied for the Sounders lead with eight goals. Seattle is trying to make the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season and has never missed the tournament since joining MLS in 2009.
"Lodeiro looks like a really talented player. He's someone that can make a big impact," Dynamo interim head coach Wade Barrett said. "You’ve still got Dempsey and Morris. (Nelson) Valdez can still cause problems. They have a very good team.
"For whatever reason, things just hadn't really been clicking with them. But they have enough good players, that no matter where they are in the standings, they’re a team that can put it together on a day, so it will be a good challenge for us."
The teams met in April in Houston for a 1-1 draw after a Chad Barrett goal in the last minute of second half stoppage time. The Dynamo and Sounders will see each other once more this season in a matchup in Seattle on October 12.