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By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Tally Hall is already one-third of the way to his shutout total from last season with the Houston Dynamo.
Hall and the Dynamo continue their lengthy road stretch to begin the season Friday night when they meet a Seattle Sounders team facing some hard decisions about how to replace injured midfielder Mauro Rosales.
Houston (2-0-0) is playing its first seven matches away from home before the opening of its new BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12 against D.C. United. The Dynamo have begun with two 1-0 victories, with Hall joining Kansas City's Jimmy Nielsen as the only goalkeepers with two shutouts.
Hall, who had six shutouts last year in his first campaign as the full-time starter, was the difference last Saturday as Houston was outshot 22-8 in a victory over San Jose.
"We asked him before the game to be a big body for us and come out and catch some balls and take pressure off the defense," coach Dominic Kinnear told the Dynamo's official website. "As the game wore on, he was becoming a better, imposing goalkeeper for us."
The defense in front of Hall will be stronger, with left back Corey Ashe set to return after missing the Earthquakes match with a hamstring strain.
"I'll be fine, ready for the game," Ashe said.
The same can't be said for Rosales, one of the Sounders' three designated players. The 2011 MLS newcomer of the year suffered a sprained right knee in last Saturday's 3-1 home win over Toronto FC.
Coach Sigi Schmid said Rosales will not play this week and may miss next week's game against San Jose. Schmid is playing it close to the vest on how he'll alter his lineup.
"Obviously, we'd rather have Mauro with the team at this stage, but it is what it is and we're very confident in the players we put on the field," Schmid told the Sounders' official website. "I know guys are going to be ready to play."
Schmid does have MLS player of the week David Estrada at his disposal after the midfielder recorded his first career hat trick last Saturday for Seattle (1-0-0). The coach knows, however, that breaking down Houston's airtight defense won't be easy.
"They keep it pretty to the basics in the back," Schmid said. "They keep it pretty simple and they're not going to beat themselves, so you've got to beat them."
Houston, meanwhile, is having trouble getting its attacking players to produce. Defender Andre Hainault has the Dynamo's lone goal from open play.
"Defensively we're getting shutouts and that's fantastic, but as far as game sharpness we can improve everywhere," captain Brian Ching said. "We haven't scored a lot of goals but we've done enough to win, and winning on the road is the most important thing. Yeah, I think we need to do better in the final third as a team."
Ching had two goals in a 3-1 home win over Seattle on July 30 after the teams drew 1-1 in Seattle earlier last season March 25. That draw was the first point Houston earned in three regular-season trips to CenturyLink Field.
Updated March 22, 2012