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Hoping a return to the Pacific Northwest helps provide some traction, the Seattle Sounders look to stay unbeaten at home Saturday night when they host the Houston Dynamo.
Seattle (5-1-4) has played to three consecutive draws after a 1-1 stalemate at Minnesota last Saturday. Cristian Roldan made the most of the Sounders' lone shot on target, sending a searing 25-yard volley into the lower right corner in the 42nd minute to cancel out Ike Opara's goal.
It could fall on Will Bruin to jolt Seattle's offense into form as he faces his former team once more. The attacking midfielder has four goals and an assist in four matches across all competitions versus the Dynamo since joining the Sounders in 2017.
Uruguay international Nicolas Lodeiro has also given Houston fits in attack, recording four assists in Seattle's two wins last year. He assisted on all three goals in the most recent meeting, a 3-2 victory Oct. 21, and two of them came on set pieces.
Seattle likely will field a different first XI for the seventh straight match as Kelvin Leerdam is available for selection. The Dutch right back served a one-match ban for his red card in a 1-1 draw versus Los Angeles FC on April 28. The Sounders also bolstered their back line ahead of the transfer deadline, signing center back Xavier Arreaga from Barcelona SC in Ecuador as a Designated Player.
"We added a center back in what we view as a long-term signing," Sounders general manager Garth Lagerway told the club's official website regarding Arreaga. "It was the oldest position group in the club, and we feel like we wanted to bring a little bit more balance there. This deal popped up and it was a player that we've been tracking for a long time, so we thought we could get a reasonable value at his time."
Houston (6-1-1) is seeking a third consecutive victory after a 2-1 Texas Derby home win over FC Dallas last Saturday. Mauro Manotas had a brace on either side of halftime, converting a penalty in the 21st minute after Alberth Ellis drew a foul and then adding his second just before the hour.
The Dynamo were fortunate to escape with all three points, conceding one goal late and having a potential Hoops equalizer in stoppage time chalked off by an offside call.
"Solid game overall for the team," coach Wilmer Cabrera told the Houston Chronicle. "I'm really happy with the functioning of the team, the shape. They didn't find possibilities to penetrate with any easy situations. We won well, we had better options and everyone was focused and concentrated."
Manotas reclaimed the Dynamo goal-scoring lead from Ellis and Memo Rodriguez, and the trio has accounted for 13 of Houston's 17 goals. Tomas Martinez is the only other Dynamo player to have found the back of the net, scoring twice, and opponents' own goals account for the remaining two.
Seattle has never lost to the Dynamo at home, going 8-0-3 in all competitions while outscoring them 18-3. The Sounders have also won five straight overall versus Houston since a 2-1 loss in 2017.
Updated May 9, 2019