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Houston Dynamo 2-1 Seattle Sounders, HT: Sloppy Defending, Lack Of Creativity Hamper Sounders

Headed goals from Colin Clark (7th minute) and Brian Ching (23rd minute) put Seattle in an early hole, but a penalty won by Fredy Montero and converted by Alvaro Fernandez brought the Sounders back to within a goal at the break. Houston's game-plan has clearly been to harass and stifle Seattle's creative players with tough (but clean) physical play, and they've executed it to perfection. In the other phase of the game, sloppy defending from Seattle led to Clark and Ching's goals, both players left unmarked in the box and able to head past Keller. Ching's goal came from a fantastic ball in from Geoff Cameron, but to allow a player of Ching's ability in the air so much space in front of goal is a fairly massive failure on the part of Seattle's defense.

As the half has gone on the game has become progressively chippier, with both teams committing some very silly fouls and jawing matches between players taking place with regularity. That's not the kind of thing Seattle can afford to get bogged down in-especially trailing as they are-and if anything they should expect even more physical play from the home side in the second half, as it was clearly quite effective in the first. Much of the quality is there for the Sounders, but in the final third it's gone missing. Seattle needs to find a way to unlock the Dynamo's defense, because a loss to Houston is quite simply not good enough-especially with the Galaxy well on their way to a victory over Vancouver.