Seattle Sounders FC were eliminated in the Western Conference Championship in 2014, back when Dylan Remick and Jalil Anibaba were teammates in Rave Green. Now wearing Orange, the Dynamo duo will look to provide their old club with that same fate when they face off in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 21 (8:30 p.m. CT | FS1, FOX Deportes).
Anibaba was only with Sounders FC for the 2014 season, but that year and Remick helped the club to a Supporters’ Shield and a U.S. Open Cup title.
Seattle drafted Remick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, and he stayed with the Sounders his entire career before being selected by the Dynamo in last year's Re-Entry Draft – the first domino to fall in Houston's offseason rebuild. He was part of last season’s roster that brought the Emerald City its first MLS Cup, and now he looks to help Houston to its third.
The two defenders have been an important part of the defense during the Dynamo's current playoff run. In the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinal series against Portland, Anibaba headed down the free kick to set up Remick's goal that ultimately sent Houston through to the next round.
They'll be looking to continue that success at home – where the defense has not conceded a goal in 210 playoff minutes – knowing a tough trip to Seattle awaits them for the second leg.
“You have to win at home, just set yourself up better for going to CenturyLink,” said Remick. “We’ve been really good at home all year so we’re just going to use that momentum and hopefully have a real good crowd behind us. Because of the two-part series, getting a jump in the first game is definitely going to help put a little bit more pressure on Seattle.”
A sold-out crowd will make for a energized atmosphere at BBVA Compass Stadium as the team looks to set themselves up with a lead ahead of the second leg but, while the former Sounders respect the confines of CenturyLink Field, they don't feel any added pressure than what's already imposed by the occasion.
“I don’t think it puts more pressure on the first leg simply because how the last series went for us,” said Anibaba. “We understand that both legs are essentially one game. We know that we need to be sharp at home and sharp away.“
With a multitude of weapons across the field, such as Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro and Christian Roldan, the Dynamo defenders will have to be on their toes for 180 minutes against familiar foes.
“Seattle’s a very good team, we all know that,” said Remick. “It’ll be cool to see some old faces. They’ve got talent all around the pitch so that’s something we’ll have to take a look at, but it’ll be an exciting series.”