In Pictures: Sounders down Dynamo 4-1 with impressive team performance

Any fears of Seattle Sounders FC regressing to their early season scoring woes with Raul Ruidiaz off with the Peruvian National Team were quickly erased by his replacement Will Bruin in the 18th minute as Seattle opened the scoring against visitors Houston Dynamo en route to a 4-1 victory.

With the Dynamo needing to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Houston played aggressively and allowed the game to be an open and end-to-end affair. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, it was the Sounders who took advantage of the extra space and dominated much of the match despite losing the overall possession battle.

What stood out the most in the match was the incisive, accurate passing of Seattle especially in Houston’s end of the field as they were able to pass circles around the defense at times and set up some of the most stunning goals of Seattle’s season.

“When the players are engaged and the coaching is at a high level you get moments like this where the team really kinda comes together and they play well,” said coach Brian Schmetzer after the match. “I think the last two games I think we’ve played well, we’ve had some good moments and we’ll try and continue those.”

While Bruin’s opener was a beautiful finish with his weaker left foot, the second goal on a counter-attack was even more impressive as Nico Lodeiro made a near end-to-end run with the ball, drawing five defenders before finding Cristian Roldan wide open inside the box for the finish.

The second half was punctuated by a Victor Rodriguez brace as Seattle continued press the defense and create chances with their passing. Bruin made a very clever dummy on Kelvin Leerdam’s low cross into the box allowing Rodriguez to get a shot away that took a fortunate deflection for his first goal.

The second was the result of Sounders taking advantage of the Houston defense over committing men to the ball, allowing Seattle to make quick passes between defenders into open space. Handwalla Bwana, moments after coming into the match, would ultimately get the assist on the goal as he split two defenders with his short pass to Rodriguez who was then one-on-one with the keeper from about eight yards out.

With the convincing lead, Schmetzer elected to use his substitutions to bring Henry Wingo and Alex Roldan into the match in an attempt to get the young players some extra minutes knowing that Seattle will need to rotate the lineup some with a short turnaround between matches in Orlando and then Houston.

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The changes seemed to unsettle the Seattle defense and allowed Houston to pull back one goal in the 87th minute but by then the match was well out of reach and while the team was disappointed to give up the clean sheet, it was still an impressive performance that puts Seattle on the cusp of their 10th consecutive postseason appearance, which would tie the MLS record.

Perhaps just as important for Seattle is that the win also eliminates Houston from playoff contention and could provide the Sounders with a confidence boost knowing that all of the three teams they will face the rest of the regular season are already out of the playoffs.

Still don’t expect Seattle to overlook those opponents as Bruin said after the match, “midweek game, cross-country in Orlando, a team that you know guys are going to be playing for jobs so that’s always a tough environment to go play in… so we’re going to need to up our game to be able to get a good result.”

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Seattle Sounders staying calm ahead of crunch clash with Houston Dynamo

When attending Seattle Sounders FC training sessions during the week at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington the majority of the 12 outdoor fields are vacant and there is an overarching sense of calm mixed in with Brian Schmetzer’s practices. Save for the occasional passing train, there is little to hear other than players and coaches preparing for the upcoming match.

On Saturdays the complex comes to life as youth teams take over fields overlooked by the Sounders’ offices; the future of Seattle soccer on display in the shadow of it’s present.

The atmosphere for players during Saturday training is wildly different from the mostly unwatched weekday training sessions as fans get a chance to watch practice as well as get photos and autographs.

Jordan Morris signing autographs for Seattle Sounders fans. (Photo: John Marshall)

 

While it’s still business as usual for the team as they prepare for a Monday night game against Houston Dynamo, the increased fan presence is something defender Kelvin Leerdam welcomes.

“First of all I’m happy that the people are here,” said Leerdam after practice. “They are always supporting us in good and bad times. Now it’s going good so everybody’s happy but they’re also coming when we are on a bad run. So it always gives us a boost. If you see people happy you just want to play more and play harder and hopefully we can keep the stretch going.”

Houston provides a tough test for Sounders with a speedy attacking core coming off a US Open Cup victory over Philadelphia Union and a comeback win over San Jose Earthquakes as well. Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis lead the team in scoring with 15 and 11 goals respectively and Tomas Martinez serves as a dangerous playmaker in the attacking midfield role.

“They’re very explosive on the counter,” said Stefan Frei. “They have some pace; they’re not afraid to shoot from distance. I think their confidence is quite high up top… They have some guys up there that are very eager to score and don’t really care how its going to happen and that’s very dangerous.”

While Houston is still mathematically in the Western Conference playoff race it seems Dynamo need a miracle as they’ll have to take maximum points from their last four matches to have any hope of catching Real Salt Lake in the sixth and final playoff position. With two of Seattle’s next three matches against Houston, Frei dismissed the idea of treating the first match any different from the norm.

“No it doesn’t matter… We have to take it to [Houston] and we have to get three points at home,” said Frei. “It doesn’t really matter who we’re facing at this point. If we want to be ready for the playoffs, get into the playoffs, and then make a serious push then what you do at home is vital.

“All focus is on this home game and making sure that we take care of business.”

Seattle will play host to Houston this Monday night at 19:30 PT (03:30 GMT) as they look to secure their 10th-straight postseason appearance which would tie the Los Angeles Galaxy for longest streak of consecutive appearances in league history.

2018 Key Transfers: Houston Dynamo

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the main ins and outs for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Houston Dynamo’s key signings and departures and what they could mean for them in the 2018 MLS season…

Houston Dynamo bounced back in a big way last season. They finished bottom of the West in 2016 but responded with a major reshuffle and ended the 2017 campaign in fourth spot, making the playoffs for the first time in four years. They went all the way to the Conference Semifinal, where they were brushed aside by Seattle. But it was a positive season and the aim will now be to build on that. They’ve retained the services of key players such as Alberth Elis and Juan Cabezas on permanent deals. But they haven’t stopped there and have ensured changes have been made to keep them competitive in 2018…

Key Signings

Arturo Alvarez: Alvarez joins Houston from Chicago Fire, where he scored three goals and added two assists in 25 games last season. At 32, he brings key experience to the dressing room and should provide valuable depth in the final third. He will be entering the 13th MLS season of his career and should be a good addition for Wilmer Cabrera’s men.

Chris Seitz: One of the key positions for recruitment this offseason was the goalkeeping spot. And Houston wasted no time in dealing with it as they brought in the experienced Chris Seitz via free agency, following his release from FC Dallas. He is an MLS veteran, with 11 seasons behind him, but at 30 he is still young in goalkeeping terms. He enjoyed his best season in 2016, playing 28 games for Dallas as they won the Supporters’ Shield. But he had to play second fiddle to Jesse Gonzalez in 2017 and is now ready for a new challenge in Houston.

Darwin Ceren: The signing of Darwin Ceren should really solidify the Dynamo’s midfield. He joins the club from San Jose Earthquakes, who picked up around $175,000 in allocation money for his services. Ceren has played 75 regular season matches over the past three seasons, scoring two goals with six assists. He knows the league well enough now and should shore up the Dynamo’s midfield with his tenacious approach.

Alejandro Fuenmayor: The 21-year-old defender joins from Venezuelan top flight side Carabobo FC, where he made his debut at age 17 in 2013. Despite his young age, Fuenmayor is experienced and should shore up a Dynamo defence that had the sixth-best defence in 2017. He has already played over 70 professional matches in his homeland and helped Carabobo to boast the Venezuelan league’s best defence last year.

Notable Departures

Jalil Anibaba: Anibaba has left the Dynamo after two seasons and has since joined up with the New England Revolution. He is an MLS veteran and played 38 games for Houston over the past two seasons. However, only eight of those appearances came last term, so it’s clear that he was no longer needed. His departure does remove some key experience from the team’s backline though.

Ricardo Clark: Another experienced Dynamo player to depart is Ricardo Clark. The 34-year-old midfielder had been with Houston since the summer of 2012, playing 178 games over the past six seasons. He failed to score last season – the first time that’s happened in his 13-season MLS career – but did add two assists and his presence in the dressing room with no doubt be missed. He has since signed with the Columbus Crew via free agency.

Alex: After picking up 11 assists in 32 regular season games last season, Alex will more than likely be missed in 2018. The Dynamo had tried to agree terms to extend his stay with them beyond the 2017 campaign but an agreement couldn’t be reached. He has since moved to South Korea to join Suwon FC on a presumably bigger salary that the one being offered by Houston.

Erick Torres: Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres has returned to Liga MX with Pumas UNAM for an undisclosed fee, following three years in Houston. He led the team in goals last year with 14. But unfortunately, he was only able to find the net twice in his final ten games of the regular season. His goals will be missed and his presence in the attack will be difficult to replace. But the decision to move him on following the offer from Pumas makes sense.

Tyler Deric: Deric departed Houston in damaging circumstances, following his arrest and charge with domestic assault. He was suspended following the incident in November and understandably released following the 2017 season. Deric is currently not eligible to be signed by any MLS team until his league suspension is lifted.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Houston Dynamo

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

The Seattle Sounders welcome Houston Dynamo to CenturyLink Field on Thursday night for the second-leg of the 2017 Western Conference Final.

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.

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.

MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Final (1st Leg): Houston Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders

BBVA Compass Stadium – Tuesday, November 21 – 21:30 ET (02:30 GMT)

Match Odds: Houston 11/8 – Draw 2/1 – Seattle 2/1

Houston Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders: Preview

The defending MLS Cup champions are two games away from a return to the league’s showpiece event. Standing in the Seattle Sounders‘ way are the Houston Dynamo, who have surprised most people with their impressive run to the Western Conference Final.

The two sides will do battle over two legs, starting in Houston on Tuesday night before the second-leg in Seattle the following Thursday. The winner of the series will advance to the 2017 MLS Cup Final.

Houston have already seen off one Cascadia side as they beat Portland 2-1 on aggregate in the Western Conference Semifinals two weeks ago. Goals from Dylan Remick and Mauro Manotas were too much for the 2015 champions. And now Wilmer Cabrera’s men will be looking to get past the 2016 champs.

Houston have grown in confidence in recent months. They are unbeaten in two months and surged into the postseason after winning three of their last four games – all of which were at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Home advantage is vital for the Dynamo on Tuesday. They will be desperate to win the game, but will not want to allow the Sounders an away goal. They must get their approach right to ensure they stay in the contest ahead of the second-leg.

The Sounders have two key advantages. Firstly, they can play the second-leg at home. Secondly, they’ve got very recent experience at this stage of the season, having gone all the way 12 months ago.

Brian Schmetzer’s men got past Cascadia rivals Vancouver in the conference semi’s, winning 2-0 on aggregate. They drew the first leg 0-0 and may well be looking to earn a similar result on the road here. They’ve not won away in five and haven’t scored a goal in the latest four of them.

Oh, and the Sounders have yet to win a game in Houston in club history. They would love to change that record but will be more focused on the series, as opposed to just the 90 minutes at BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday.

This will be just the second ever playoff series matchup between the two sides. They met in the Western Conference semifinals in 2009, at the end of the Sounders’ inaugural MLS campaign. A 0-0 draw at CenturyLink Field was followed by a 1-0 extra-time win for the Dynamo at home in the second leg.

Houston Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders: Team News

Houston will be without suspended first-choice goalkeeper Tyler Deric so Joe Willis will continue between the sticks. George Malki, AJ DeLaGarza and Memo Rodriguez are all sidelined through injury. There are also concerns over the fitness of Honduran trio Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto and Boniek Garcia. All three travelled to Australia for the second leg of their unsuccessful World Cup playoff and might be fatigued as a result.

Seattle Sounders should welcome back Osvaldo Alonso to midfield for Tuesday’s crucial game. While Jordan Morris could also return after two months out with a hamstring strain. Victor Rodriguez and Chad Marshall are listed as questionable, along with Morris and Alonso but Seattle will be hopeful of getting all four players back on the field. Brad Evans is definitely out.

Houston Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders: Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/W/W/D/W

Seattle Sounders’ last five: L/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: It’s been 467 minutes (7 hours and 47 minutes) since the Seattle Sounders last conceded a playoff goal. That came in the first-leg of last season’s Western Conference Final matchup with the Colorado Rapids, which Seattle won 2-1.

Key Player: Stefan Frei – The Sounders keep enjoys playing in big occasions like this. He was the hero in last season’s final and has yet to concede in the playoffs this season. If he can keep that record going beyond the 90 minutes in Houston on Tuesday, the Sounders will feel they have one foot in the final.

Houston Dynamo vs Seattle Sounders: Prediction

Houston Dynamo 0-0 Seattle Sounders – It’s always difficult to predict how a first-leg in a series as important as this will go, but it looks certain to be cagey. Both sides drew 0-0 in the first-legs of their Western Conference Semifinal clashes and may well adopt the same gameplan here. Houston might feel they have to attack the Sounders but that would also leave them exposed on the counter. Expect a nervy contest but one that should set up an intriguing second leg next week.

Gallery: Exclusive images as Houston stun Portland to advance to Western Conference Final

The Houston Dynamo stunned the Portland Timbers with a 2-1 comeback win at Providence Park on Sunday night. The 2015 MLS Cup champions were eliminated on their own turf, with the Dynamo advancing to the Western Conference Final, where they’ll face the Seattle Sounders.

This time last year, Houston were the worst side in the Western Conference. Now, they are just two legs away from the 2017 MLS Cup Final. Their turnaround has been remarkable and they fully deserved their win at Portland on Sunday.

Dairon Asprilla gave the hosts the lead on 39 minutes, blasting the ball high and beyond Joe Willis. Asprilla’s task was made significantly easier by an unfortunate slip from Dynamo defender Dylan Remick.

However, Remick would soon atone for his error. Just four minutes later he volleyed the Dynamo level. That goal left the Houston in control, due to their away goal. Portland needed one more but couldn’t find it.

Then, in the 77th minute Mauro Manotas struck from distance and beat Jeff Attinella to put the game beyond Portland’s reach. The Dynamo advanced against the odds, leaving Portland players and fans stunned at the fact their season ended in such fashion.

Houston will face the Seattle Sounders over two legs in the Western Conference final, with the winner advancing to MLS Cup to take on either Toronto FC or Columbus Crew SC.

Check out exclusive pictures from Sunday night’s game, courtesy of MLSGB Photographer Denise McCooey.

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MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs: Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City

BBVA Compass Stadium – Thursday, October 26 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Houston 23/20 – Draw 9/4 – Sporting KC 23/10

Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Preview

Houston Dynamo take on Sporting Kansas City for the third time in two weeks on Thursday night. But this time, it’s in the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. This has all the makings of a classic Knockout Round clash, but only one side can make it through to the Western Conference semifinals.

The Dynamo leapfrogged SKC on Decision Day and earned home-field advantage for Thursday’s game as a result. They come into the playoffs in good form and are favourites to advance.

Houston have improved drastically from a year ago. They are unbeaten in six games – drawing at SKC and beating them 2-1 at home in that time – and only lost once at home during the regular season.

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They rounded off the regular season with a 3-0 home win over Chicago Fire. That result sets them up perfectly, but they did lose two players to injury. AJ DeLaGarza has been ruled out the playoffs but Romell Quioto could return for Thursday’s game, but his status isn’t yet known.

Sporting Kansas City will have to try and get the job done without Tim Melia. The goalkeeper has probably been their best player this season but hasn’t played in almost a month as a result of a hamstring injury.

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The visitors don’t have any kind of promising form to take into this game. They haven’t won in five and only picked up two roads wins all season. Peter Vermes’ men need to put in one hell of a performance if they’re to make the Conference Semifinals.

As mentioned, this will be the third meeting between the two sides in two weeks. Sporting KC won at Houston in the US Open Cup back in June on the way to their win in the competition. But they failed to win either of the two regular season clashes.

Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Team News

Houston will hope Romell Quioto is passed fit to play after leaving Sunday’s game with an injury. AJ DeLaGarza will miss the playoffs after tearing his ACL. George Malki and Memo Rodriguez remain sidelined, while Philippe Senderos is listed as ‘questionable’.

Sporting KC will be without Tim Melia once again. That means Andrew Dykstra will start in goal. Cameron Porter is the only other injury absence for the visitors

Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/W/W/D/W

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: L/D/L/D/L

Key Stat: Houston are unbeaten in eight regular season games against Sporting KC. They’ve won four and drawn four of those games, outscoring them 16-10.

Key Player: Romell Quioto – Houston will be desperate for the Honduran attacker to be fit. They’ve averaged 0.4 more points-per-game with him, than without him. If he plays, they’ll be the threat they have been so often this season.

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Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Prediction

Houston Dynamo 2-0 Sporting Kansas City – Form might not matter as much as usual during knockout football. But in the case of Thursday’s game, it’s hard to see how Sporting Kansas City can turn their fortunes around. They haven’t looked good in recent weeks. They’ve failed to beat Houston home or away. And they are struggling for goals. The Dynamo are strong at home and are riding high. They should make it through to the Conference Semifinals without too much trouble.

MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo

Major League Soccer: FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo

Toyota Stadium – Wednesday, August 23 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: Dallas 4/6 – Draw 11/4 – Houston 15/4

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Preview

FC Dallas welcome Houston Dynamo to Toyota Stadium as MLS Rivalry Week starts with the Texas Derby on Wednesday night. This will be the third Texas Derby of the season but both previous clashes have ended in a draw, so El Capitán is up for grabs here.

As things stand this season’s rivalry series between the two clubs means that Houston are in a position to retain El Capitán. But a win for either side on Wednesday would decide who ends the season with bragging rights.

Dallas are in a bad run of form. It’s the worst stage of the campaign for the wheels to be coming off, but they haven’t won in four, losing three of those. Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Sporting KC leaves them five points off the top.

They are only holding on to a top six spot by two points and know they need to beat Houston to get back on track. Victory on Wednesday would move Dallas back ahead of the Dynamo as we enter the final two months of the season.

Houston have quietly been putting together a good run of form. They’ve not been setting the world alight, but were unbeaten in six before Saturday’s 2-1 loss in Vancouver.

The Dynamo are just three points off league leaders Sporting KC and Seattle coming into Wednesday’s set of fixtures. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 but look well on course to do so this term.

 

The worry for the visitors is that they’ve struggled on the road at Dallas for the past six years. They haven’t won at Toyota Stadium since 2011.

The two sides have already drawn their two meetings this season. First playing out a 0-0 at Toyota Stadium back in May before a 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium a month later.

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Team News

FC Dallas have no injury worries ahead of Wednesday’s derby. Head coach Oscar Pareja is likely to make at least one change after watching his team lose at SKC on Saturday. Dallas also have a trip to Columbus to think about on Saturday.

Houston Dynamo remain without George Malki for the season. Other than that, they have no injury concerns. Alberth Elis will return to the side after serving a suspension at Vancouver on Saturday. Juan David Cabezas and AJ DeLaGarza are suspended as a result of yellow card accumulation. Houston play SKC at home on Saturday, so Wilmer Cabrera may have to rotate his side.

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: W/L/L/D/L

Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/D/D/W/L

Key Stat: Houston haven’t won away at their Texan Derby rivals in six years. FC Dallas have won four of the last six clashes at Toyota Stadium, outscoring the Dynamo 13-4 in that time.

Key Player: Maximiliano Urruti – The FC Dallas striker scored in the 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium back in June. He hasn’t scored in five but is still Dallas’ leading scorer with 11 this season. The hosts will look to Urruti for inspiration as they look to end their poor run of form.

FC Dallas vs Houston Dynamo: Prediction

FC Dallas 1-1 Houston Dynamo – It’s difficult to see where a winner is going to come from on Wednesday night. There is more pressure on Dallas than Houston here. But that should mean the Dynamo set up to stifle the home side, just as they did in the season’s first meeting back in May, which ended 0-0. FC Dallas have to win the game to take home this season’s El Capitán. But recent forms suggests they won’t have enough to do so.

Gallery: Exclusive photos from Seattle’s 1-0 win over Houston on Sunday

The Seattle Sounders made it three wins from four heading into the international break as they edged past the Houston Dynamo 1-0 on Sunday night, with former Dynamo man Will Bruin scoring the game’s only goal midway through the second half.

Seattle have now won three-straight home games by a 1-0 scoreline, and while they are struggling to convert chances, they are still picking up points when they need them most to keep hopes alive of retaining their MLS Cup title this year.

The Dynamo struggle to pick up anything on the road. They have just one point from seven road trips this season and will return from this weekend’s international break with a tough trip to LA Galaxy.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Date – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)
Match Odds: Houston 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver 3/1

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo welcome Vancouver Whitecaps to BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night with both sides looking to pick up where they left off last weekend.

Houston thumped Orlando 4-0 at home, while Vancouver picked up a valuable 1-0 win away at Colorado. This will be the Whitecaps’ third-straight road game and they’ll be looking to make it three wins from three.

The Dynamo have yet to lose a home game this season, winning five of their six games in front of their own fans so far. They have looked a real force in attack, whether it’s Erick Torres or Mauro Manotas leading the line, and will be expected to pick up three more points here.

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They are in fourth place and just two points off FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City at the top of the West coming into the weekend, with Vancouver three points further behind the Dynamo in sixth place.

Vancouver have really improved over the past two weeks though, picking up maximum points from tricky-looking trips to Montreal and Colorado. A third consecutive road win would really put them in a strong position.

This will be the 11th MLS meeting between the two sides. The home side has never lost the fixture, with Houston picking up three wins compared to Vancouver’s five.

Team News

Houston will be without George Malki and Eric Alexander, while Agus remains a doubt. The good news for the Dynamo is that Erick Torres has cleared the league’s concussion protocol and will be available to return to the starting lineup here.

Vancouver’s injury list just seems to worsen with each week. They now have eight players sidelined, as Brett Levis, Yordy Reyna, David Edgar, Erik Hurtado, Marco Bustos, Christian Dean, Cole Seiler and Kyle Greig are all out.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s form: L/D/W/L/W

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: Vancouver have never won an MLS game at BBVA Compass Stadium in four previous attempts. In fact, the away side has never won an MLS game in this fixture.

Key Player: Mauro Manotas – The Dynamo striker missed a penalty in last week’s win over Orlando before responding to score two second-half goals. He now has three this season, which is all the more impressive considering he’s only started four games. Erick Torres might start here, but expect Manotas to make a difference, even if it’s off the bench.

Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Vancouver’s form has stepped up in recent weeks, as they’ve won their last two on the road, but Houston are unbeaten at BBVA Compass Stadium this season and have scored six in their last two home games without conceding. They should prove too strong for the Whitecaps and keep Vancouver waiting another season for their first MLS win in Houston.