Preview: Seattle Sounders host Houston Dynamo in close conference match

Will Bruin Seattle Sounders
PHOTO: Will Bruin got some minutes against Minnesota United FC last weekend. With some goal-scoring history against the Houston Dynamo, could those minutes turn into a start for Bruin? Photo courtesy of Rich Moll/Seattle Sounders FC.

Seattle, Washington (May 10, 2019) — It’s way too early in the MLS season to take a hard look at the standings. However, for teams that sit toward the top, it’s a battle to keep their positions. Meanwhile, for teams at the bottom, it’s all about digging themselves out of a hole.

The Seattle Sounders FC and Houston Dynamo don’t need to worry about the latter. Instead, both teams are in the top six of the Western Conference. Currently, the Dynamo are sitting ahead of Seattle in third place. The Sounders take fourth place.

Preview: Seattle Sounders host Houston Dynamo in close conference match

However, there is only a goal difference separating the two. Each side has 19 points on the standings, but Houston has allowed fewer goals than the Sounders. Houston has only let nine goals past them, while the Sounders have allowed 13 goals past Stefan Frei.

If the season were to end today, the Sounders and Dynamo would make the playoffs. However, the end of the season is a long way to go. Right now, the Sounders and Dynamo will fight to keep third place or, in the Sounders’ case, move up a slot.

Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo
2019 MLS Regular Season
CenturyLink Field
May 11, 2019 — 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET
Stream: ESPN+

What to Watch For

Who starts at forward for the Sounders?

The return of Joevin Jones to the Sounders is going to be great, but the bigger excitement is waiting to see who will start up top for the Sounders. As of right now, Raúl Ruidíaz is off the Sounders injury list. Meanwhile, Will Bruin is also off that list, too.

There’s no question that Ruidíaz would be the starter over the two. However, Bruin had a really good showing in Ruidíaz’ absence. Plus, Bruin has some history over the Houston Dynamo — we’ll get to that later — that could help the Sounders.

In soccer, it’s all about consistency.

Ruidíaz has been a force this season for the Sounders, but after missing a month of action he might not be as quick on the ball. Saturday’s match will be a great test for Ruidíaz to get some confidence back.

The Injury Report 

Seattle Sounders FC

Good news for Sounders fans. The injury list is much shorter now than it was two weeks ago. Only two names take hold on the injury list. Gustav Svensson has been ruled out with a left hamstring strain. Meanwhile, defender Nouhou is questionable with a left ankle sprain.

Houston Dynamo

The Sounders won’t see historic U.S. Soccer defender DaMarcus Beasley on Saturday. The veteran defender is out with a left knee injury. He received surgery on March 20 and has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks.

Meanwhile, also out are midfielders Eric Bird and Marlos Hairston. Bird is suffering with a left ankle injury, while Hairston is attempting to overcome a right hip injury. Forward Ronaldo Peña is also out with a left knee injury. He does not need surgery for his knee, like his defensive teammate.

Last Meeting: October 2018

Last year, the Sounders met up with Houston late in the season. In both matches, the Houston defense had some moves put on them by Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee and Nicolas Lodeiro.

In both matches, the Sounders caught victory, compiling seven goals in the two matches. Out of the seven goals, six were scored by different players. Víctor Rodríguez was the only person to score two goals and did so on Oct. 8 in Seattle.

Prediction: Seattle 3, Houston 1

It might not be a clean sheet for Stefan Frei, but it should be a win. Houston has a talented team this season and Wílmer Cabrera is a fantastic coach. However, with the amount of injuries Houston has over Seattle, that may come back to hurt the Dynamo.

Being on the road doesn’t help.

Houston hasn’t been tested on the road much this season. In two road trips, the Dynamo caught a victory against the Colorado Rapids and fell to the LA Galaxy. Houston was blessed with a large supply of home matches to start out the season. However, in the middle and end of the season, the road trips will be long.

This Sounders match will be a good indication to what Houston is really like on the road.

PHOTO: Will Bruin got some minutes against Minnesota United FC last weekend. With some goal-scoring history against the Houston Dynamo, could those minutes turn into a start for Bruin? Photo courtesy of Rich Moll/Seattle Sounders FC.

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