Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Why Seattle has edge in playoff opener
by Ridge Mahoney, October 29th, 2009 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PREDICTION] All the strategies and matchups and tactical nuances for the first leg of the Western Conference semifinal series between Seattle and Houston Thursday at Qwest Field might be tweaked somewhat if the conditions come up wet and windy. Whatever the weather, a seething atmosphere generated by a crowd of 36,000 should make for a memorable spectacle.

THURSDAY
SEATTLE (12-11-7) vs. HOUSTON (13-8-9), 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes

One point apart in the standings and in goal difference during the regular season, this is in every way a tossup between the second- and third-place teams in the Western Conference. Seattle won a regular season meeting and a U.S. Open Cup match by 2-1 scores at home; in Houston, the teams tied, 1-1. Both conceded 29 goals during the regular season and are excellent in the nets, potent up front, secure in midfield, and well-stocked with experience.

The dazzling speed and interplay Seattle has exhibited at times this season on its artificial surface could be accelerated if the field is slippery fast, yet a saturated surface would slow down pacy rookie winger Steve Zakuani, whose runs are hit and miss but always threatening, and livewire forward Fredy Montero. Instead, balls may be played to 6-foot-3 Nate Jaqua to knock down for Montero and Freddie Ljungberg. And watch out for rugged, driving midfielder Brad Evans, who scored the winner against Dallas Saturday with a superb first-time flick, and the serves of left back Leo Gonzalez.

At the other end, mid-summer acquisitions Dominic Oduro and Abe Thompson have injected more pace into the Houston attack; Brian Ching and Cam Weaver offer size and heft. Adding to the intrigue is the sprained knee of Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark, whose quickness and range can buttress the center behind Stuart Holden, who hasn't registered a goal or assist in league play for two months, and Brad Davis, co-league leader in assists with 12.

Houston's Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell have played strongly in central defense, yet Adrian Hainault has been a very underrated but very consistent performer on the outside. Might the relatively untested left back Mike Chabala get tested, and perhaps toasted, if he plays?
Prediction: Seattle 1, Houston 0.

RIDGE MAHONEY'S 2009 PREDICTION RECORD.
Last weekend:
2-5. Regular season: 104-121 (46.2 percent).

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Business Reporter: Union teams up with Dogfish Head    
The Philadelphia Union will open to a new destination beer garden with Dogfish Head Brewery at ...
Columbus switches USL PRO affiliations    
The Columbus Crew will team up with the Austin Aztex to send players from its first ...
Lee Nguyen: Sitting back is not in Revs' DNA    
The New England Revolution tied an MLS record when it scored nine goals in its first ...
What They're Saying: Jerome Valcke    
"It is easy to destroy a reputation, it takes one second, it takes years to build ...
Champions League scenarios: 11 teams for five spots    
Eleven teams have qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League, and 11 more teams, ...
Video Pick: Bend it like Uesato    
Our favorite free kick goal of the week comes from J-League 2, where Consadole Sapporo's Kazumasa ...
Breaking down the NCAA Division I women's quarterfinals    
The NCAA Division I Women's Tournament moves into the quarterfinals with three games on Friday and ...
A back-heel sombrero from Greek boy     
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Greek youth soccer, in a game between AO Ioannina and Agia Eleousa, delivers ...
What They're Saying: Jose Mourinho    
"Obviously they must be very sad with the result but when we lose against a team ...
Report: W-League champion Pali Blues are folding    
The LA Blues won W-League titles as the Pali Blues in 2009, 2009 and 2013 and ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives