Seattle v. Houston Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA

Greetings, Fog City Faithful. A complicated thing, the history of Houston Dynamo. First they were the NASL San Jose Earthquakes. Then the NASL failed. Then MLS launched in 1996 with the San Jose Clash being one of the founding sides. The Clash were later re-branded as the San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes wanted to build their own stadium, and they wanted part of the funds to come from the city. These funds were not forthcoming. The club moved to Houston, and a bit later were subsequently replaced by the Fauxquakes, our current bitter rivals. And there you are. History lesson complete. Houston arrive at Occidental Avenue tonight for a 7:00 p.m. league fixture against our Sounders. Poor bastards.

The Good News
Houston’s form (1-2-3)  is a shade more crap than ours (2-2-2). Houston is having trouble scoring goals, having hit only two goals in four matches. Of all Houston’s strikers, the most dangerous is Will Bruin (Houston and United States). The American striker hits for an average of roughly one goal per three matches. Hardly the definition of a high-powered attack. The rest of Houston’s strike force are either sporadic contributors, or squad players. Sounders FC have one of the best home ground advantages in the League, and it’s best supporters, including our brethren in the ECS. So, rough going for any visiting side at Royal Brougham Park. I haven’t heard of any of Houston’s goalkeepers, so you have to give the edge to Stefan Frei between the sticks. Homegrown Player, Tyler Deric will likely start for Houston. He has only appeared in 17 pro matches. Conversely, Frei has appeared in 119 MLS league matches,  giving him the clear edge in professional experience. When Houston play at Seattle, our Sounders have a dominant and unbeaten all-time record of (4-1-0). In those five matches, Houston have only managed to score two goals. If anything written in the media is to be believed, the Sounders should have all of their injured players back, with Alonso, Dempsey, Martins, and Marshall all listed as probable. With Alonso and Marshall to harden up the defense, Dempsey and Martins to score goals, create, and hold possession Seattle should enjoy a marked boost in form.

The Bad News
Sounders forward, Kenny Cooper Jr. has been waived. An accomplished player who played youth football at Manchester United has been lost. Over money. Sad. Ricardo Clark and DaMarcus Beasley are both probable for Houston. Either are capable of hurting you, Clark with his defense, and Beasley with wing play and pace. Brad Davis is world class at taking free kicks. Davis has a deadly accurate left foot, and is perhaps the greatest threat to score for Houston. All-time Seattle are 4-2-3 against Houston. Hardly a dominant record. Owen Coyle, the Houston manager, is excellent at getting the most from his players. He was a prominent figure in Burnley’s promotion to the English Premier League. At the time of their recent ascendancy, Burnley had not seen top division football in 33 years. It would be foolish to underestimate a side managed by the cagey Scot.

Familiar Faces
Houston midfielder, Nathan Sturgis made 29 appearances for Sounders FC from 2009-10.

Although selections haven’t been revealed for the match (Typical), these are the selections for each club for the previous match:

Seattle: Frei, Mears, Evans, Scott, González, Azira, Pineda, Roldan, Rose, Neagle, Barrett

Houston: Deric, Sarkodie, Horst, Rodríguez, Beasley, Miranda, Clark, Sturgis, Davis, Lovejoy, Bruin.

Fun Fact
In 2009-10, Owen Coyle, then at Burnley, signed current Sounders FC defender Tyrone Mears for £500,000.