The Seattle Sounders FC (13-5-2) did just enough to beat the Houston Dynamo(6-12-4) in one of the ugliest game in MLS this season. The 50,276 fans at the Xbox Pitch at Century Link Field and a national television audience saw two teams primed for battle come hell or high water. The gloves were off from the beginning.
Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda each scored a gaol within six minutes of each other to give Sounders FC a gutty 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo in a tough physical game that resembled more NFL football than MLS Football. The teams combined for 34 fouls and two penalties and one red card.
Pappa gave Sounders FC the lead in the 69 minute off a beautiful juke and turn shot that deflected off Houston Dynamo defender David Horst into the back of the Houston net. Obefami Martins was fouled by Houston's Ricardo Clark inside the penalty box during a FC Sounders free kick and Seattle was awarded a penalty kick. Pineda stepped and his left footed boot bounced of the gloves of Houston goal keeper Tally Hall to give Seattle the 2-0 lead they never relinquished.
Obefami Martins was given his second yellow of the game in the 86 minute and Seattle played 10 on 11 for the remainder of the game. The much needed win and hard fought shut out was due to a Sounders FC defense that was missing right back De Andre Yedlin due to unfinished contract business but saw the return of Djimi Traore, Chad Marshal and Leo Gonzales who teamed up with Captain Brad Evans. Man of the match Seattle goal keeper Stefan Frei made a penalty save to keep Sounders in the game early in the fist half .
Oscar Garcia right footed shot was blocked by a sliding Djimi Traore who was called for hand ball and penalty awarded.Houston's Brad Davis stepped up to take the penalty kick and took what seemed to be a gizzilion stutter steps before taking a dribbler of a shot that Frei quickly gobbled up for the spot kick save " The save was huge for us," Sounder FC defender Chad Marshall said after the game, "they go up one goal pack themselves in the middle of the field and we find ourselves running up hill all night".
The game had a choppy first half that was more reminiscent of an NFL football game. Both teams made rash challenges at the ball and shoulder to shoulder tackles were aggressive and physical in nature. The rough and tumble play prevented Sounders FC from creating multi pass offensive plays. Seattle's two shot on goal came from against the run of play. Houston had the lone penalty shot on goal.
The second half was more of the same, rough, ugly tackles that bordered on cheap and dirty. Imagine a baseball game where pitchers from both team continually throw at the batters head and no warning are given. In NFL terms it's continual late hit's on the opponents quarterback with no roughing the passer or late hit penalties being called. The lack of consistent calls by the ref made for it difficult for the players to find and type of offensive rhythm.
Sounders FC did make one half time adjustment. Seattle pushed the ball up field using the width off the field in an attempt to spread the Houston defense. " We felt if we could find some success offensively if we were able to spread their midfield and defense by using the width of the field," Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid said after the game. " It was not a pretty win but sometime times it's just about getting a result." With the win Sounders FC Sigi Schmid becomes the first coach in MLS history to win 200 games.