Dynamo-Sounders Preview

The Seattle Sounders’ second year in MLS has taken a positive

turn recently. They’ll try to defeat the team that ended its

inaugural season.

Seattle looks to win its franchise-record fourth straight match

Sunday when it faces a Houston Dynamo team going for its first

victory since late May.

The Sounders’ 2009 season was highlighted by an impressive 7-2-6

home record, but their run in the MLS Cup playoffs ended in Houston

on Nov. 8, when Brian Ching scored six minutes into overtime to

give the Dynamo a 1-0 victory and a berth in the Western Conference

finals.

A 1-5-0 stretch that ended July 4 put a major dent in Seattle’s

hopes of making a second straight playoff appearance, but the

Sounders (7-8-4) are 3-0-1 in their last four league matches.

The play of Fredy Montero has been key to the surge. Named the

league’s player of the month for July earlier this week, the

Colombian forward has points in eight consecutive league matches,

and has scored or assisted on 12 of the team’s last 15 goals.

Montero’s header in the 26th minute helped the visiting Sounders

win their third straight, 1-0 at San Jose on July 31.

“It’s everybody, it’s not just me,” Montero told the team’s

official website. “It’s everybody working together on the field

like it was tonight.”

Seattle looks for continued contributions from designated

players Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez. Nkufo, a Swiss striker

who joined the Sounders last month, has looked comfortable playing

alongside Montero, while Fernandez already feels at home with his

new teammates after signing last week.

The Uruguayan midfielder, who saw his first MLS action against

San Jose, scored off a header in the 74th minute Tuesday in El

Salvador as Seattle played to a 1-all draw with Isidro Metapin and

advanced to the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

“Since I’ve gotten here, the team has treated me fantastically.

I feel like I’m part of the team even though I’ve only been here

for a week,” Fernandez said.

Houston (5-8-5) is 0-4-4 since a 2-0 victory versus DC United on

May 22. The Dynamo, who play six of their next nine on the road,

are 0-4-1 away from Robertson Stadium after a 2-0 win over Chivas

USA on May 8.

Midfielder Geoff Cameron is hoping to give Houston a boost in

this matchup after playing 20 minutes in Thursday’s 1-0 loss to

visiting Monaracas Morelia. It was his first action since rupturing

a right knee ligament April 24 against Chicago.

“No problems whatsoever, which is great,” Cameron told the

Dynamo’s official website. “I just have a sore body from running

hard, so I am looking forward to this weekend.”

Ching, who missed six games this season with a left hamstring

injury, could also see limited time on Qwest Field’s artificial

surface.