2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Final (2nd Leg): Seattle Sounders vs Houston Dynamo
CenturyLink Field – Thursday, November 30 – 22:30 ET (03:30 GMT)
Match Odds: Seattle 3/4 – Draw 5/2 – Houston 7/2
Seattle Sounders vs Houston Dynamo: Preview
Many felt the Dynamo had nothing to lose heading into last week’s first-leg. But it seems whatever they did have to lose was lost on the night as the Sounders ran out 2-0 winners against a Houston side that had 10 men for more than an hour.
Jalil Anibaba’s 28th-minute red card left the Dynamo with a mountain to climb. Joe Willis may have saved the resulting penalty kick from Nicolas Lodeiro but they were already 1-0 down and that lead was doubled when Will Bruin fired in before halftime.
The Sounders had plenty more chances to put the game – and probably the tie – to bed but the Dynamo held on to somehow retain some form of optimistic hope ahead of Thursday’s second leg.
But make no mistake about it, Seattle have taken one giant stride into the MLS Cup Final. They have two crucial away goal and are well on track to have a chance at retaining their championship on December 9.
The Dynamo have to score at least two goals to have any chance at turning the tie around on Thursday night. But the Sounders have only conceded more than one goal at home on two occasions this season. And didn’t lose either of those games.
Seattle are unbeaten in 15 at home. They don’t need to attack Houston and should be able to wait for opportunities to attack on the counter. The odds of Houston advancing are slim but it should set up an exciting game as they have no choice but to go for it.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 25, 2017
Seattle Sounders vs Houston Dynamo: Team News
The Seattle Sounders won’t be able to call on the services of powerful defender Roman Torres. The Panamanian is suspended as a result of yellow card accumulation but will be back for the MLS Cup Final, should Seattle advance. Stefan Frei missed the first leg with a hamstring strain and could return here, although his status isn’t yet confirmed. Brad Evans and Jordan Morris are ruled out with ongoing injury problems. Osvaldo Alonso is listed as questionable but could be in line to return.
The Dynamo will be without Jalil Anibaba, following his red card in last week’s first leg. Alberth Elis is also suspended as a result of yellow card accumulation. Tyler Deric is suspended as a result of off-field conduct. George Malki, AJ DeLaGarza and Memo Rodriguez remain their only injury absentees.
Seattle Sounders vs Houston Dynamo: Key Points
Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/W/D/W/W
Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/W/D/W/L
Key Stat: Fortress – Seattle Sounders have won their last four home games (including playoffs) by a combined score of 12-0. It’s been almost seven months since they lost at CenturyLink Field.
Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The veteran attacker scored twice in the Western Conference Semifinal win over Vancouver at home and will be looking to help the hosts through here. He is playing with extra hunger after missing last season’s run to the title and will be looking to exploit a Houston defence that will undoubtedly leave gaps as they chase a comeback.
Seattle Sounders vs Houston Dynamo: Prediction
Seattle Sounders 2-1 Houston Dynamo – The Dynamo have to go for it. They have enough attacking options to hurt the Sounders backline, particularly given the absence of Roman Torres. But the problem is, the more they attack, the more open they will be to the Sounders’ ruthless attack. The likes of Lodeiro and Dempsey will be looking to be clinical and put the tie to bed. Expect both sides to score, but the Sounders are surely sailing through to the final.