MLS Playoffs: Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders (Matchnight Commentary)

SounderslogoHOU_DYN_LOGO

The Seattle Sounders will make their MLS playoff debut tonight against the two-time MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo in the opening match of their Western Conference playoff series (10pm, ESPN2).

The Sounders are new to the playoffs as a club, but have plenty of experience across the board, from two-time MLS Cup-winning coach Sigi Schmid, to European soccer veterans Kasey Keller and Freddie Ljungberg.

The Sounders will look to knock off a Dynamo team eager to make up for last year's playoff debacle against the New York Red Bulls. Houston is the usual strong and deep squad we've come to expect from Dom Kinnear, but the Dynamo didn't end the season in the strongest of fashions, making Seattle a popular pick to win this series.

I will be providing live commentary from tonight's Game One so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action.

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FINAL- That's all for me. Thanks for following along and please feel free to share your post-game comments in the comments section below. 

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FINAL- Game Two of this series will be on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 3pm on Telefutura. You aren't going to want to miss that one.

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FINAL- Men of the Match tonight? I'll say Nate Jaqua for all his effort on both ends for Seattle. For Houston? I'll give the nod to Geoff Cameron, for neutralizing Fredy Montero. Andrew Hainault was also good, and Ricardo Clark gets kudos for battling through a knee injury and putting together a good 90 minutes (though a better second 45). 

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FINAL- Sounders 0, Dynamo 0. What a battle. Some good action on both sides, great chances, quality saves, but no goals. Houston heads back to Robertson Stadium tied. Can they put this series away, or will memories of last year's playoff series loss to New York haunt them? 

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95th Minute- Any second now.

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94th Minute- Wow, Sounders get a look late, but Levesque's header is wide.

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93rd Minute- Last minute of play. Seattle with a free kick on the right flank, about 12 yards from the end-line.

Nobody gets to the free kick. Seattle corner.

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92nd Minute- Sounders corner is headed clear.

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91st Minute- Seattle with a corner.

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90th Minute- Three minutes of stoppage time.

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88th Minute- Phantom call against Seattle. Odds on Sigi Schmid getting fined for ripping the refs after this match? 4/1.

Cam Weaver comes in for Brian Ching.

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87th Minute- Ching nearly creates a chance, but it's sent weakly to Keller.

Houston is still knocking it around.

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86th Minute- Jaqua and Clark have put in some truly inspiring performances tonight. Jaqua has been all over the field while Clark has battled through a knee injury to contribute a surprising effort in the middle.

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84th Minute- Wow, the speed difference between Oduro and Landin is stunning. You half expect a little red cross to appear above Landin's head.

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83rd Minute- Clark with a shot from distance that goes wide. Nice build-up from the Dynamo.

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81st Minute- Sounders down to nine minutes to make something happen.

LeToux is coming on for Zakuani.

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80th Minute- Wow, Landin's "sprint" isn't pretty. It's Cuauhtemoc Blanco-like.

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79th Minute- Ljungberg with a beautiful run and pass, but Seattle can't finish the chance.

Here comes Landin, in for Oduro.

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77th Minute- Wow, a would-be goal from Jaqua is waived off because Salazar had already blown the whistle at midfield.

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76th Minute- Hainault with a great tackle. Solid night for him tonight.

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75th Minute- Ljungberg draws a foul and yellow card from Chabala on the right flank.

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74th Minute- That corner is cleared. What a save by Onstad. On the replay it actually is right at him, but Onstad did well to get the arms up and punch it away.

Jaqua has been a beast tonight. Gutsy performance.

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74th Minute- SAVE ONSTAD!!!! He stones a Jaqua header. Seattle with another corner.

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73rd Minute- Seattle has new energy and is pressuring Houston now. Seattle with a corner.

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72nd Minute- Nothing comes of it.

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71st Minute- Dangerous free kick for Seattle from the left flank, 30 yards out.

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70th Minute- Great counter run by Zakuani, but Cameron intercepts the pass. Vital play there.

Mullan draws a yellow card.

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69th Minute- Jaqua heads away the corner. He's everywhere. No number, a bandaged wound, but still getting involved every chance he gets.

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69th Minute- Jaqua heads away a Davis long free kick, giving Houston a corner.

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68th Minute- Houston breaks out on the counter but Evans commits a foul to stop it, earning a yellow card.

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67th Minute- Onstad does well to slap away a dangerous cross.

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66th Minute- Keller caught the corner. Houston is still pressing.

Seattle looks a bit shaken right now.

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65th Minute- Houston corner.

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64th Minute- Alonso gets a yellow card. Seattle fans are rightfully upset considering cards Houston has avoided tonight.

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64th Minute- Roger Levesque comes on for Montero, who was effectively neutralized by Cameron tonight.

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63rd Minute- This game is being played at such a great pace. If only more MLS matches were played at this pace.

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61st Minute- WOW, Montero came OH SO CLOSE. Beautiful turn but his shot goes just wide. Great move, getting the better of Cameron for once.

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61st Minute- SAVE Keller. Easier save on Davis that time.

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60th Minute- Houston looks very comfortable right now. Seattle might be starting to feel the urgency.

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59th Minute- I should note that Clark had the interception and a nice pass to start that sequence leading to Davis' shot.

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58th Minute- SAVE KELLER!!! Stops a Davis shot. Great stop.

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57th Minute- Houston keeps holding on.

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56th Minute- Jaqua is back on the field with a numberless Sounders jersey (note to kit man, keep more than two jerseys for each player).

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54th Minute- Jaqua has to come off again after his bandage came off.

Keller pounces on a Houston cross into the area. Dangerous ball that took a deflection.

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52nd Minute- Good job by Clark to get in Montero's way on the Sounders corner.

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51st Minute- Holden takes down Montero but no card is shown. Houston is doing well to disrupt Seattle's rhythm.

Seattle corner.

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50th Minute- Seattle nearly finds Evans on a good run, but Onstad is there to get the ball.

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49th Minute- Houston's corner doesn't find anybody but it was still well-struck. Holden has been sharp on those all night.

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48th Minute- Ching nearly latches on to a good cross in from Oduro. Surprising play right there. Houston corner.

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47th Minute- Evans heads one wide off a Montero cross. Good stuff from Montero, who dropped deep to find space.

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46th Minute- And we're back.

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HALFTIME- Houston's back four is playing a very good game so far, and Cameron has been outstanding in dealing with Montero. Not regretting my pick of Cameron as Defender of the Year one bit. He's looked the part tonight. 

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HALFTIME- Apparently Landin isn't playing because of knee tendinitis and a dislike for artificial turf. Good thing he's not paid much, right?

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HALFTIME- So what changes might we see? If Luis Angel Landin is healthy I'm not sure why he wouldn't get into this game for Houston. Clark looks like a liability but with the match still scoreless I can understand Kinnear choosing to keep Cameron in central midfield to deal with Montero rather than moving him up into midfield and inserting Cochrane.

For Seattle, you can argue that a move to insert some speed on the right wing might help. Evans has been active, but hasn't really been involved in many attacks. Inserting Sebastien LeToux might not be a bad move at some point.

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HALFTIME- Hainault and Davis had golden opportunities with headers, while Seattle saw Ianni have two great headers blocked by a defender and the crossbar.

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HALFTIME- Sounders 0, Dynamo 0. Seattle had the better of the play, and the better chances, but Houston's defense has done the job and will be happy to go in at halftime scoreless.

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45th Minute- We've got seconds remaining.

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45th Minute- Tell you what, even without the headers Ianni has had a solid game defensively.

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44th Minute- Zakuani wastes a possession with a wide shot from distance. He's never going to score from there.

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43rd Minute- Ianni headed a long Ljungberg free kick and it caromed off the crossbar. So close for Seattle.

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43rd Minute- Ianni OFF THE CROSSBAR!!

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42nd Minute- Montero is figuring out pretty quickly that even fewer fouls are called in the MLS playoffs than the MLS regular season.

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41st Minute- Seattle gives up a bad corner kick to Houston.

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40th Minute- Davis has been a bit more active the past few minutes. He needs to step up if Houston is going to find any chances today.

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39th Minute- You've got to give Clark credit for gutting out this first half with what is clearly a hobbled knee. Seattle's not taking advantage of him so he's doing the job.

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38th Minute- Brad Davis finally gets a touch and Chabala promptly loses it. Houston still has it, but an offside negates the sequence. Not much attack from the Dynamo tonight.

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36th Minute- The clock keeps ticking and we're still scoreless here. Houston can't be too upset about the scoreline right now.

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34th Minute- Jaqua is back on the field so we're even strength.

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33rd Minute- I'll say this, Cameron and Hainault are doing some heavy lifting to cover for some major gaps in Houston's defense.

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32nd Minute- Ljungberg working some magic, but can't put a shot on goal. He and Montero look good tonight.

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30th Minute- Keller runs out to catch a Mullan cross.

Clark fouls Ljungberg near midfield.

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29th Minute- Seattle a man down as Jaqua gets his eye treated.

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27th Minute- Clark with the high boot to Jaqua's eye. No card for Clark on that one.

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26th Minute- SAVE KELLER. Ching with a decent header that Keller handles easily.

How long will Clark stay in this game? Will Kinnear consider moving Cameron into midfield and inserting either Ryan Cochrane or Eddie Robinson.

WOW, Nate Jaqua has a cut over his eye. It's bloody.

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24th Minute- Ching with a stern warning. Gets lucky not to draw a yellow for a foul on Gonzalez. Ching should just stop trying to tackle people. He already earned two red cards down the stretch of the regular season.

Now Gonzalez is limping.

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23rd Minute- Here's a question. Has Ricardo Clark run on the full sprint yet? I'm watching and waiting. He's relying on trying to read the game because his mobility is clearly limited.

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22nd Minute- Houston corner.

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20th Minute- The game has settled down a bit. Seattle is catching its breath and Houston is getting a bit of a break right now. Will the Dynamo create chances in the run of play? We're still waiting to see some (so far Davis missed a free header on the lone good chance in the run of play).

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19th Minute- Still trying to understand why Dom Oduro is starting this match. I know he's fast, but that's really all he brings to the table.

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18th Minute- Have to love the passion in this match. Passion, skill and a packed crowd. Great stuff.

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17th Minute- Onstad and Montero get yellows for starting that scrape. Not sure what Onstad was upset about, but he chest-bumped Montero, who flopped like you might expect (though it was a hard bump).

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16th Minute- Here's hoping there are no red cards. That would be awful in a game this good.

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16th Minute- We've got some handbags, nice shoving match between the teams.

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15th Minute- Brian Mullan got up high to head away that Ianni header. Great clearance by Mullan on that play.

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14th Minute- Ianni header CLEARED OFF THE LINE!!!

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14th Minute- Seattle earn another corner via Zakuani's speed.

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12th Minute- Wow, seattle nearly unlocked Houston's defense, but Ljungberg's final pass was off.

Ricardo Clark looks SLOW tonight. His knee is NOT right. Is he just rusty and needs to warm up, or is the knee brace he's wearing slowing him down? If it's neither, this could be a long night for him.

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11th Minute- Jaqua's header off the corner is wide and weak.

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11th Minute- Montero forces a corner.

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9th Minute- James Riley looks very sloppy early on in terms of positioning.

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9th Minute- Davis with a FREE header but it's very weak. He's not really known for heading the ball. Now you know why.

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7th Minute- Cameron fouls Montero on the defensive half of the field. He's going to be glued to him today, or at least try to be.

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7th Minute- Keller punches a high ball away, does well to hold his ground against Ching.

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5th Minute- Montero is so tough to deal with because he can float all over the field. Geoff Cameron must not lose track of the dangerous Colombian.

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4th Minute- That's a chance you have to convert if you're Houston. Nice service from Holden early.

SAVE ONSTAD. And it's Zakuani forcing a save after running onto a great Montero pass. Seattle corner.

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3rd Minute- Houston header WIDE and it was Hainault who nearly heads home a Holden corner. He was unmarked.

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2nd Minute- The crowd is buzzing early on, can the Sounders use that early momentum?

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1st Minute- Seattle with a big loss in Marshall. Ianni will have his hands full dealing with Oduro's speed.

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1st Minute- And we're off.

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PRE-GAME- Tyrone Marshall was a very late scratch due to an injury in warm-ups. Patrick Ianni starts for Seattle.

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PRE-GAME- Here is Houston's starting lineup:

————-Ching————Oduro=————

———————-Holden———————-

Davis————————————–Mullan

———————–Clark———————–

Chabala—Cameron——–Boswell—-Hainault

———————–Onstad———————-

Dom Oduro gets the call ahead of Luis Angel Landin.

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PRE-GAME- Which match-up will I be watching tonight? The Freddie Ljungberg-Ricardo Clark match-up. If Clark isn't 100 percent, Ljungberg could have a field day.

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PRE-GAME- We're five minutes from kickoff.

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PRE-GAME- Ricardo Salazar is the referee tonight. Here's hoping he and Freddie Ljungberg can stay out of each other's way.

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PRE-GAME- Trying to remember the last time a first-round MLS playoff series was this highly anticipated? This series is going to be a great advertisement for MLS. Between the fan bases for both teams and the talented rosters they both boast, you can't really ask for more. No other series in the first round comes close.

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PRE-GAME- A lot is being made about Seattle's record against Houston this year but it needs to be pointed out get again that these teams did not meet at full strength one time this year.

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PRE-GAME- This game isn't kicking off until after 10:20pm. Going to be a late-night for East Coast MLS fans.

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PRE-GAME- It's fitting that the 2009 MLS playoffs will begin and end at Qwest Field. SBI will be in Seattle for MLS Cup in three weeks time and am looking forward to a trip back West.

Here is Seattle's starting lineup:

————–Montero——-Jaqua——————

Zakuani————-Ljungberg—————Evans

————————Alonso———————–

Gonzalez——Hurtado——-Ianni———–Riley

————————Keller————————-

Nope, no surprises in that group.

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PRE-GAME- Are we ready for some playoff soccer?

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This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- Seattle Sounders. Bookmark the permalink.

122 Responses to MLS Playoffs: Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders (Matchnight Commentary)

  1. Lieutenant in Sam's Army says:

    Ives, are you at the Qwest? How bad is the stadium rockin’?

  2. tippos says:

    Anybody who fails to admit that Seattle has been great for MSL and league exposure is kidding themselves.

    I can’t wait to watch this one. These are shaping up to be playoffs with some potentially great matches.

  3. Seattle may not be my favorite team in MLS (go Revs!), but I love watching their home matches on TV. That crowd is an awesome crowd.

  4. us123 says:

    vamos Houston….seattle needs to be a taught a lesson

  5. Casey C. says:

    “Anybody who fails to admit that Seattle has been great for MSL and league exposure is kidding themselves.”

    Who has ever said that?

  6. dave says:

    Is the reason this isn’t on on espn360 yet because the game is starting late?

  7. Joe B says:

    ahh julie foudy is horrrible commentator .. UGGGH … make her go away

  8. Joe B says:

    wow .. sounder stadium looks AMAZING

    best supporters in the league! ;)

  9. Tim says:

    Wow as an avid MLS fan I can’t believe I forgot the game was on today. Dissappointingly I am going to have to wait and watch it tomorrow either on espn 360 or from my DVR because I am swamped with homework tonight.

  10. PetedeLA says:

    This is looking like a very fun match!

  11. Tim says:

    I don’t think they have been particularly good for MSL, but I’ll admit that they have been great for MLS. ;)

  12. Socrates says:

    Shot. Save, Roy!, er, Mullan!

  13. Socrates says:

    Fight! Fight!

  14. Socrates says:

    Old man Ontad lost his head

  15. Socrates says:

    18′ Oduro’s touch is terrible.

  16. Never First says:

    Onstad should have received a red card.

  17. Joe B says:

    dirty play from onstand .. unfair yellow to montero

  18. Socrates says:

    20′ Both teams turning over and over. No possession either side las few minutes.

    (SBI-Socrates, I’m doing the commentary. Thanks.)

  19. Socrates says:

    22′ Good play by Holden to get into attacking area and win corner… but cleared.

  20. ian says:

    why are there empty seats in the first row? i thought this game was sold out.

  21. Socrates says:

    ok Ives. as for “thoughts and opinions” — man, that was an ugly challenge from Ching.

    (SBI-Just leave the time-stamps off, that makes your comments read like a running commentary. Always appreciate your opinions. Thanks bro.)

  22. Paul D says:

    10:50 pm est,Oct 29 2009: I actually agree with John Harkes that the Ching foul was a yellow.

  23. Ghost of Clint Dempsey says:

    Holden is by far h-towns best player tonight

  24. Jon says:

    Man Rico doesn’t look like himself…

  25. PetedeLA says:

    Reason number 203 why Rico Clark should not really be a national team player.

  26. Jacob A. says:

    Cause he’s hurt?

  27. advocat says:

    I have written numerous times tthat Houston is the most violent team in the MLS. They are allowed to get away with everything. Ching should have been red carded. He has broken at least one leg this year already. Now Jaqua. Even the keeper has started a fught with Montero-the most attacking minded player on the field. You could automatically give 5-6 yellows to Houston players before the game. This team is ruining the league. And this ref is allowing it. On nearly every play, Houston fouls.

  28. Socrates says:

    Houston has looked pretty effective on the quick break forward with one and touch touches through the midfield, esp Mullan and Holden. Haven’t noticed Davis in a while.

  29. PetedeLA says:

    Cause he almost took out Jagua’s eye. I like Clark, but if he can’t keep composure and professionalism in MLS, what would he be capable of during a World Cup?

  30. Vinny says:

    He got straight schooled by Ljunberg

  31. Robert says:

    Yea… I see those empty seats too… maybe they’re standing/jumping?

  32. Joe B says:

    i like houston.. but they do seem to kind of play like scum

  33. Socrates says:

    Nice fan shots.

  34. PetedeLA says:

    Let’s not get carried away. I’ve got no problem with Onstad’s bump. He just underestimated how quickly Montero would go down. Ching’s should have been a yellow for sure. Red would have been a bit harsh. Under the rule it should be red, but it wasn’t COMPLETELY malicious. Clark just can’t see the difference between a hard tackle and a STUPID tackle. Will he ever learn? Gotta respect his ambition, though.

  35. Paul D says:

    Ljundberg looks like he really wants this.

  36. Vinny says:

    physical = sloppy

  37. Socrates says:

    A pretty long dry spell form both teams here. Neither side looks a threat to score.

  38. Jacob A. says:

    Fair enough. I thought you were refering to his mobility issues of tonight. My b.

  39. Socrates says:

    Jaqua with the sympathy call: I Have A Bandage On My Head + I Fell Over = give him the call — AND THEN THEY ALMOST PUT IT IN!

  40. Socrates says:

    OK, can anyone put in a late goal here right before the half? Well, if RBNY were involved you could count on a score or two.

  41. Socrates says:

    Alonso has had a handful of overly-ambitious and off-tagert long passes. Keep it simple O.

  42. robin says:

    not a good first half soccerwise

  43. CrispyST3 says:

    Haha, whoever is watchin the game on ESPN2, did u see the commercial with the 4 MLS players or sumthin like that, at the end you see Guillermo B-Schelloto kind of lookin at the lil kid funny and moving back cuz he’s got on Blanco’s jersey

  44. Freddy says:

    Off topic, but Ives, the Russian beauty ad you have in the upper left is f’ing hot. Is she spoken for?

  45. madmax says:

    I’m sure Sigi would like a tighter called game, high kick, and Ching take down, but it probably won’t happen, One goal will probably win thiss.

  46. Socrates says:

    Hmm, not bad from Oduro there on the cross to Ching.

  47. AlexS says:

    And Seattle has started diving >__<

  48. roysterer says:

    It must be frustrating for Seattle fans to see all these chances and no finishing

  49. Socrates says:

    Davis always good for a left footed crack

  50. Ghost of Clint Dempsey says:

    rofl, Montero is wearing 2 different colord boots

  51. dman says:

    That crowd is awesome and I’m a huge crew fan

  52. Socrates says:

    Dang — he pulled Montero!

  53. Dan says:

    This is the first MLS game I’ve ever watched. I can’t believe how many non calls there are. Are they all this loosely?

  54. Dan says:

    err–’called this loosely’ I meant to say.

  55. silent e says:

    They just showed a shot of Sigi chewing on his jacket. My wife said, “Is he that anxious or just that hungry?”

  56. AlexS says:

    And Zakuwani has learned that diving is an effective way of changing the balance of a game.

  57. Paul D says:

    Based only on tonight, Jaqua should take Ching’s spot on the national team.

  58. Socrates says:

    Action has really picked up the past 15 min or so. Seems like SEA might get a goal.

  59. PetedeLA says:

    How slow is Landin?

  60. Socrates says:

    Brad Davis almost killed his team with that giveaway.

  61. Kevin says:

    salazars having an awful game. some really shaky calls

  62. PetedeLA says:

    Wasn’t really his fault. His teammates basically lead him into quick sand.

  63. Socrates says:

    Ives’s boy Cameron gives up the late corner .. but comes to nothing.

  64. Socrates says:

    one more sympathy call for Jaqua.

  65. madmax says:

    Yes, MLS referees allow a lot of fouling. It grinds Ljungberg’s gears, may chase him away.

  66. advocat says:

    40k enthusiastic fans. But all to watch a Houston slug fest . Wonder what is wrong with the MLS? The ref could have thrown 2-3 Dynamo players and send a message: lets have soccer in the MLS and USA. But no. More bad wrestling.

  67. RSLRob says:

    Wow, what a terrible night for officiating. I don’t know what Houston did to win Salazar’s affection. They played like thugs for the entire match and got away with some slaps on the hand. Nothing new for Houston, but the past few games garbage like that has earned red cards, not 25 warnings per player. I’m all for job placement for the less fortunate/skilled, but maybe Goodwill could have placed Salazar as a checker at Kroger instead of a head official.

    I teach a class at a university, and I spent a good ten minutes trying to convince my students to watch tonight’s game, I’m really hoping none of them did.

  68. Cole says:

    I actually thought that was some of the better MLS officiating I’ve seen, he called everything pretty well and tryed his best not to destroy the game with unworthy cards. He made consistant calls.

  69. Ghost of Clint Dempsey says:

    Don’t be surprised when they cheat on your next test and blame it on the lessons they learned from this game.

    You know what’s funny… supposedly one of the head MLS officiators was at the game. Like a guy who is in charge of the MLS refs

  70. tyson says:

    i was at the game. the ref for sure let a lot go. but the worst was when he played the advantage to seattle as jaqua took it in and scored but then called it dead right before he scored. horrible. really bad.

  71. lassidawg says:

    JUst got back from the game and it was a great atmosphere. I am not sure what Montero did do get Onstad’s panties in a bunch. It is amazing to watch the difference in what draws a card in the MLS compared to say the EPL. Th tackle by Ching probably would have earned him a red in the EPL. Some one earlier wrote it wasn’t malicious, it doesn’t have to b when a player come from behind with no chance at the ball.

    Ives commented on it, but seeing all the warnings received by Houston and then Alonso ets one for nothing.

    Montero does sometimes go down easy, but he is fouled a ton from behind with no calls. Houston was lucky to finish the game with 11 players. At some point they are goin to have to try and push to score, unless they are going to play for penalties.

    The ref didn’t cost the Sounders the game, but he sure did suck

  72. RSLRob says:

    Ha! They probably will, then one of them will attempt to break another one’s legs. Hopefully the dean’s ok with that.

  73. DL says:

    I am a Dynamo fan, they had 18 fouls to 6. I think the ref did okay. The Dynamo are very physical but you guys act like they are just running up and punching people. Some teams play physical and some dive. Seems like this ref tried and kept things even, by blowing the whistle on Houston 18 times and not going for everyone of Seattle’s paper tigers going down at the smallest touch. Oh and the Clark high kick was not intentional. Stop acting like he just lined Jaqua up to take his eye out.

    As for the game, good back and forth with the home team getting most of possession but the away team defending well and trying to go the other way.

    Oh yeah, does every away fan have their own personal yellow coat? Are there that many badasses in Seattle? Just thought it was funny that both times they showed Dynamo fans they had security with them.

  74. DL says:

    Tyson, on the TV replay it looked he ran right to the spot when the ball was in the air and well before it came down. I guess he saw a two on one with Jaqua and two CBs and thought there was no advantage.

    Also, it is not a given that he would have scored b.c. both defenders and Onstad pulled up before he got the ball. Not saying I agree with the ref taking away the advantage but that is what happened.

  75. blag says:

    jeez some of these replies make it sound like the sounders are angels, they got away with plenty during the game, both teams played physically and got away with some stuff. I will agree that some of the fouls i saw from the dynamo were somewhat uncharacteristic from what i normally see from them, and probably deemed yellows (which some did receive). As for the officiating, even though it is the general consensus that refs are bad in the entire concacaf region, fans should look first at their own teams before blaming the ref (since in almost every game, there is atleast 5 mentions by some people to poor officiating). In all truth refs do get generally 80% of their calls right, and as long as they are consistent, which the ref in this game fairly was as well as trying not to interfere too much (which is something i personally like from refs), that is all we can hope for. As for the miscounted goal, the ref blew the whistle way before the goal happened, and you could see most of the dynamo stopped playing right after that, so there is no way the ref would let that goal count.

  76. cali says:

    These comments are comical…obviously the majority of writers on here are Sounders fans. Take a look at the stats, Houston was called plenty of times for fouls. You Sounders fans are just so used to the ref calling a foul when montero and jlunberg dives that when a half way decent ref comes along and doesn’t call all the dives you guys are confused. It’s great! And yes Montero deserved a yellow he obstructed Onstad then proceeded to roll on the floor like he was shot. Deserved it!

  77. fan of football says:

    I was at the game, so obviously, my view is a bit skewed. I didn’t see what happened at all with Montero & Onstad’s mix up in the box. I just watched the highlights on soccernet and all I can say is Houston is really lucky that Onstad didn’t get a straight red card. Sure, there was some contact between he and Montero, but nothing out of the ordinary for a cross into the box. And sure, I doubt Montero put up much fight before hitting the floor. But wow, since when is plowing through a guy and then getting in his face while he’s on the ground ok? Class act Onstad, class act.

  78. cali says:

    Its also very classy to fall every time you are touched and roll around as if you just broke your ankle…i.e ever time Montero is touched…great point fan!

  79. fan of football says:

    I thought Ianni did a good job for the Sounders tonight, especially considering he was a last minute addition. Won a lot of headers, broke up a lot of plays, not to mention 2 near goals.

    I thought Holden stood out for the Dynamo. He has got a ton of energy, put a lot of dangerous crosses in and seemed to control possession well – I’m excited to see more of him with the USMNT.

    Next game is sure going to be entertaining.

  80. lassidawg says:

    I don’t think anyone is saying Seattle didn’t do anything wrong. We are saying we enjoy watching a good soccer match not a how many hard tackles can we dish out in a night. Clearly something is wrong when one team fouls 18 times and gets 3 cards, while the other is called for 6 fouls and gets 3 cards.

    Physical play is fine challenges or whacking players from behind makes for a boring game. I like Houston, but that game opens up more if the ref does his job and issues cards in the first half.

    For all the diving Montero supposedly does, just how many times did he roll around on the turf begging for a call. Tonight once and any player on the field would have done it in attempt to get the opposing keeper in trouble. I can think of so many other players that have rolled around like the they are on the verge of dying only to slowly walk off and then miraculously rejoin the game 5 seconds later.

    Motero isn’t exactly the biggest guy in the world, does it look like he goes down east sure it does, but name a team that doesn’t have a player that does this.

    The sounders don’t spend a whole lot of time rolling around, because here is a concept, they like to play fast.

    I don’t know who will win the next game, but they Sounders have as good a shot as the Dynamo.

  81. fan of football says:

    Come on really? Ching had a few blatant dives tonight, ljungberg goes down easy when he knows there is a chance for a call, Davis was barely touched when he drew that yellow from Evans. It happens all the time. Do I applaud diving and think it’s right? No. I groan every time it happens just like you do. It’s the thing that bothers me most about Montero (well, that and standing near the goalie until he punts it). I still think it could have very easily been a red for Onstad.

  82. SOUNDERSSS says:

    DAWG…”but name a team that doesn’t have a player that does this.” HOUSTON DYNAMO and if you would like to prove me wrong I would love for you to name the player. there is no supposedly in talking about Montero and his diving. Did you happen to watch the game against Dallas last week? When the phantom tackle happen and he held his shoulder like he was hurt? Yo have got to be kidding when you he supposedly dives. As for the calls. WELCOME TO MLS PLAYOFF SOCCER SOUNDERS. Get used to it or you won’t be in the playoffs much longer! As for jlunberg…does he ever stop whining to the ref. Go ahead and watch the game over again he just mouths to the ref every 5 minutes! Play the game psycho! Back to my original point, name a player for me from the dynamo that rolls arounddiving like montero?

  83. acj says:

    Look, everyone understands that the ref allowed a physical game. You call that playoff soccer and maybe that’s how the playoffs are officiated, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way to call a game.

  84. All I want to know is how in the hell does Onstad not get a straight red? That was pathetic. I don’t mind letting play go, or over calling, but this guy was completely and utterly inconsistent.

  85. lassidawg says:

    I agree he does go down easily sometimes, and of all the teams Houston is probably the least likely. Onstad last night was the dummy that took a run at Montero, and whether he hit him hard or not Onstad was dumb to even risk getting booted. Still trying to figure out what Montero did to earn his card, if it was for diving then Onstad shouldn’t have received a card.

    He mouths off to the ref because just about every time he touches the ball he gets whacked. It is a great approach by the MLS let them play rough and slow the game down. Just because it is the playoffs doesn’t mean that the games should be rougher. I think it is dumb when they say that for the NBA and it dumb for soccer.

  86. Curt Onalfo says:

    Montero is a punk.

  87. CT says:

    IMO, the referee got the Onstad call correct. Yes, Onstad made a chest bump (no hands, no head, no kick), but if you watch the incident carefully, Montero stepped in front of Onstad as Onstad was trying to move away from the goal and then, the instant contact occurred, collapsed as if he had been shot in the head (as he is so notorious for doing). So, Salazar correctly carded Onstead for the foul and Montero for the simulation. Plus, the cards came after consultation with both ARs.

  88. CT says:

    I don’t think the definition of a “foul” changes in the playoffs. Instead, the refs correctly realize that their actions potentially have a disproportionate effect on the match and they try to match the punishment to the severity of the crime. If Onstead had received a red in the first half of the match, not only would the Dynamo had to play a man down for 60 minutes, but Onstad would have been lost for the next match as well. Is that really the proportionate response for a situation where both teams were equally at fault? Had the Sounders players not reacted so violently to Onstad’s foul with all the pushing and shoving, they might have had a better chance to get a red card. Instead, the referees looked at the situation in its totality where both teams were acting violently and judged the proper response was a yellow to each team.

  89. I watched it as it happened. Onstad very clearly walked directly at Montero and bumped him with his chest. This was purposeful contact that he initiated.

  90. CT says:

    And Montero quite obviously embellished the contact and simulated a more violent contact than actually occurred.

    Contact between players with a similar level of force probably happened 50 or 60 times during the game. Seattle players routinely mugged Dynamo players from behind on header attempts yet no fouls called.

    Instead of whining for a gift from the referee, Seattle needs to finish in the box and win the game.

  91. RD says:

    Great game, unfortunately neither team could find the back of the net. I know if Seattle had slotted one of those opportunities home during the last 10 minutes of that match, the place would have exploded! Anyway, I think Seattle was the better team, but I thought Zakuani showed his youth last night, he gave up possession a few too many times.

  92. Juan Carlos Osorio, Super Genius de Futbol says:

    Ljungerg is pretty tall and has a good left foot. He would make a very good central defender.

  93. You miss the point. This was contact initiated after the play was whistled dead. It should have been a red, Montero’s embellishment notwithstanding. Quite frankly, I think the only reason he didn’t get a red is because it WAS against Montero.

    I can’t argue about the finishing, but to excuse the contact is ridiculous.

  94. cfig says:

    I’m on board with this, that would’ve been a really weak ejection (chest bump, seriously guys). Granted, Onstad probably outweighs Montero by 60 pounds so it’s not surprising Freddy moved a bit, but it wasn’t any kind of violent aggressive contact.

  95. Zakuani had, quite possibly, the worst game of his professional career last night. He was terrible (and I love Zakuani).

    (SBI-I seem to recall watching Tim Ward shut him down at Toyota Park in the middle of the year. Zakuani got subbed early in that one. I have a feeling that was his worst game of the year. He actually drew some corners last night.)

  96. cfig says:

    “This was contact initiated after the play was whistled dead. It should have been a red.”

    Is this an MLS rule? Because it’s not in the Laws of the Game.

  97. lassidawg says:

    Check out the video and notice that Onstad did his own play acting when he grabbed his face.

    I don’t think any one is disputing that the Sounders we grabbing and fighting for balls in the air. There is a huge diffference between battling in the air than the tackles by Ching on Gonzalez and Clark on Jaqua. both of those should have been a minimum of yellows. To by fair Hurtado deserved one for his studs up tackle in the first half.

  98. lassidawg says:

    Zak was horrible, I also don’t think Ljungberg played that well. Zak should have been subbed out shortly after halftime. FL played better after Jaqua went up top and when Roger came into the game.

    I think the 2nd game is going to be intense, it is a shame that we have to wait 10 days to see it. How nice would it be for the hype if it was being played this Sunday. Anybody who says they know is going to win isn’t correct. These two teams are evenly matched, with different styles, so it is going to take something fluky.

    Is Holden going to get any Europeon looks, I sure like how is playing.

    Ching looks like he is about finished.

    3 best Sounder players last night Ianni, Jaqua, and Keller.

  99. Wes says:

    One of the best MLS matches I’ve seen this year. Very enjoyable and yet another reason I would like to live in Seattle.

  100. jimmygreaves says:

    Regarding the Jaqua- Clark thing. I saw a very similar situation some years ago(it was Germany playing a team I forget). The player running in (Jaqua in this case) was given a foul for dangerous play. It could be argued that Clark was going for the ball and Jaqua created the danger, that he put himself in the situation to be cut. Sounds messed up I know but the German player was, I beleive, given a card for dangerous play, to go along with his bandage.

  101. cfig says:

    Agreed on Ching but disagree on Clark if you mean when Jacqua took a knock to the head. Had Clark’s foot gone up toward Jaqua I’d totally agree, but Rico already had his leg in the air and then Jacqua dove in on it.

  102. Nord says:

    It’s not that there’s that many badasses in Seattle, just enough drunkards who think they are badasses. Word is coming out from the Dynamo travelling support of a mild case of hooliganism from some of the Sounders faithful, and gross mismanagement of security for away supporters by Qwest officials.

  103. Soccerinatl says:

    For me it’s no wonder mls players playing for the national team get sent off in international matches for the national team. They are learning their trade in a league that tells the refs are the most leniant in the world by far. I would think twice before choosing a d mid from mls ever again. Do we really want a league that gives the advantage to the defender over the attacker? MLS we like skilled players over a bunch of fast guys. Protect the few you have in the league please

  104. Brent McD says:

    All in all, I thought the officiating was decent. I always prefer that referees give warnings before dishing out cards left and right. Having said that, Ching probably deserved yellow. Entertaining game. Surprised it ended a scoreless draw.

  105. WK says:

    i’m ready for the houston era to be over. holden and rico overseas, and ching to retire. come on seattle.

  106. madmax says:

    Houston could easily have been cited 30 times in this match, a foul every three minutes. MLS coaches call this disrupting play, Freddy Ljungberg calls it Rugy. I think he may skedaddle after this year.

  107. Thats whats up... says:

    I disagree, Freddy seems to relish the city of Seattle and I think he likes playing in the US. Finally, I think he is excited about the league’s expansion and growing reputation. He also knows that after the World Cup there will be some exciting new international signings that will boost the league as well.

  108. Sterlinho says:

    “84th Minute- Wow, the speed difference between Oduro and Landin is stunning. You half expect a little red cross to appear above Landin’s head.”

    That red cross comment has got to be the greatest line you’ve ever written, Ives. It made me laugh out loud.

  109. The contact made was deliberate and with intent. It was stupid, unnecessary and should have resulted in a red card. Was it as bad as Wick’s stomp on Fredy? No. But it still should have resulted in an ejection.

  110. madmax says:

    “…Oh and the Clark high kick was not intentional…”

    A foul, or even a carded foul does not have to be intentional. EPL announcers created this myth.

  111. advocat says:

    Message to MLS: please stop the hack-fest that is the Dynamo. The won a few trophies- well, great for them. But enough is enough. The league is destroying any possibility of quality soccer. 40k people came out to watch Houston hack and intimidate their opponent. Will this produce better soccer? Nope. Will it produce more interest in soccer?More profits? Not a chance. The league must send a message: play soccer or you are out of our league. If you want big crowds- then produce big soccer.

  112. The entire lineup was awful in that Chicago game, but he didn’t really affect the team negatively. Last night, he did. He really should have been pulled at the half.

  113. DL says:

    yeah he Holden is getting looks but no one seems to know specifics. Although rumors normally do not work out. Some here think he may sign a one year deal to keep playing through the world cup and move after that. IMO that would be the smartest move for him and Clark both. Why risk getting reserve minutes in Europe and potentially hurting your chances against guys like Feilhaber, Torres, Edu and Jones (they play instantly when they come back) respectively.

  114. PeterJH says:

    It’s funny reading your comments on Landin. I was watching him last night, also noted how slow he looked, and was thinking, “They let Kamara and Akinbiyi go, paid all that DP money, and this is what they got?” After Landin’s signing, wasn’t Houston telling everyone how they used their DP slot is the way it really should be done?

  115. DL says:

    Actually Landin is not making alot of money. I think his actual salary is around the 250k mark but his loan fee put him into the DP category (I think it is around 500k total). So saying they paid “all that money” is probably overstating alittle. Not saying the guy is a speed demon but he is playing on a bum knee. As far as Ade goes, he never adjusted. Kamara talked himself out of Houston. He was becoming a cancer in the locker room and that does not fly with Kinnear. Plus, the team and him were FAR apart on contract talks.

  116. Darkman says:

    What this game proved is that both teams are beatable.

    As for the sounders “supporters” they just proved quantity will never take the place of quality.

    ACES

  117. PeterJH says:

    Some of that is useful to know, thanks. I don’t entirely swallow the argument he’s only technically a DP, not after the hype given with his signing.

    I think there’s more going on than his knee regarding his speed. To be kind, he looked out of shape. There’s no excuse for a pro athlete to let his “conditioning” go, there are ways to maintain cardio even with knee injuries.

  118. sammysounder says:

    Enought whining about the fouls. I’m a Sounders fan at the match and thought the ref did fine. He let some really physical play go, but did so both way.

    I saw it as a lack of playoff experience on our part as we didn’t adjust quickly enough. If the ref lets that go then we need to man up and bash back.