The Houston Dynamo fell to Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 on Tuesday night in front of a sellout crowd of 22,661 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Seattle broke through first in the 11th minute off a corner from captain Nicolás Lodeiro. Midfielder Gustav Svennson headed the corner home, driving it into the lower right corner of the net and past a diving effort from Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis.
The Sounders doubled their lead in the 42nd minute after Seattle midfielder Joevin Jones found Will Bruin at the edge of the box and his header beat the Dynamo goalkeeper at the top corner of the far post.
The Dynamo went down a man in the 28th minute when defender Jalil Anibaba was sent off for a foul on Jones inside the penalty area. Willis came up with a massive save when he stopped Lodeiro’s penalty kick to keep the game at 1-0.
The Dynamo created the first dangerous chance of the night within the first minute when forward Mauro Manotas earned a corner kick and the ensuing corner was headed just over the crossbar by forward Alberth Elis.
Houston generated the first scoring opportunity of the second half in the 51st minute after Martínez found Manotas inside the box, but his shot went wide of the top corner of the right post.
Elis forced a save from Tyler Miller in the 73rd minute with a shot to the near post that was handled inside the six yard box.
Seattle generated the final scoring opportunity of the game as second-half substitute Victor Rodriguez’ strike bounced off the crossbar past a lunging Willis.
Houston will travel to the Pacific Northwest for the return leg with the Sounders on Thursday, Nov. 30 needing a two-goal victory to advance to the MLS Cup Final for the fifth time in club history.
Houston Dynamo (13-10-11; 2-1-1) 0-2 Seattle Sounders FC (14-9-11; 2-0-1)
Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Championship Leg 1
Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 – BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas
SEA: Gustav Svensson (Nicolás Lodeiro) 11
SEA: Will Bruin (Joevin Jones) 42
Houston Dynamo: Joe Willis; Jalil Anibaba, Adolfo Machado, Philippe Senderos (Dylan Remick 59), DaMarcus Beasley (C); Juan David Cabezas, Eric Alexander (Romell Quioto 72), Tomás Martínez; Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas, Alex (Leonardo 31)
Unused Substitutes: Calle Brown, Ricardo Clark, Vicente Sánchez, Erick Torres
Total shots: 9 (Alberth Elis 4); Shots on goal: 3 (Alberth Elis, Tomás Martínez and Romell Quioto tied with 1); Fouls: 8 (Juan Cabezas and Tomás Martínez tied with 2); Offside: 1 (Mauro Manotas 1); Corner kicks: 5 (Tomás Martínez 3); Saves: 3 (Joe Willis 3)
Seattle Sounders FC: Tyler Miller; Kevin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Nouhou Tolo; Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svennson; Nicolás Lodeiro ©, Clint Dempsey (Victor Rodriguez 46), Joevin Jones (Lamar Neagle 79); Will Bruin (Henry Wingo 90+1)
Unused Substitutes: Tony Alfaro, Jordy Delem, Bryan Meredith, Harry Shipp
Total shots: 14 (Nicolás Lodeiro and Victor Rodriguez tied with 3); Shots on goal: 5 (Nicolás Lodeiro); Fouls: 10 (Kelvin Leerdam, Nouhou Tolo, Román Torres and Will Bruin tied with 2); Offside: 1 (Will Bruin 1); Corner kicks: 5 (Nicolás Lodeiro 4); Saves: 3 (Tyler Miller)
HOU: Jalil Anibaba (ejection; denial of obvious goal scoring opportunity) 28
HOU: Alberth Elis (caution; dissent) 29
HOU: Tomás Martínez (unsporting behavior) 44
SEA: Nouhou Tolo (unsporting behavior) 64
SEA: Román Torres (unsporting behavior) 88
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referee 1: Jeff Muschik
Assistant Referee 2: C.J. Morgante
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
VAR: Kevin Stott