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


[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
U.S. under-20 national team wins semifinal thriller    
[DALLAS CUP] Rubio Rubin scored his second goal of the game on a rebound of his ...
What They're Saying    
"Miami's greatness is about the interaction of a vibrant culture and the water. We will earn ...
Strikers will test measure of progress at Carolina    
[NASL: Week 2] The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, seventh and fifth in the NASL's two half-seasons, will ...
Chelsea takes on its U-8s    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Chelsea's John Terry, David Luiz, Frank Lampard et al took on ...
Collins John slapped with three-game suspension    
[USL PRO: Week 5] The USL PRO career of Collins John, the Liberian-born Dutch international who ...
What They're Saying    
"There is no problem. Tensions are a bit high; I have no problem with that. They ...
Chivas USA's McNamara faces knee surgery    
[MLS INJURY REPORT] Rookie Thomas McNamara, who had started every game for Chivas USA until being ...
Road to Rio begins for Tab Ramos' group    
[USA UNDER-21 MEN] The road to Rio begins for the U.S. men's Olympic team begins with ...
New-look Thorns aim for two in a row on road    
[NWSL: Week 2] The defending champion Portland Thorns FC remain on the road for the second ...
Lack of playing time worrying for bubble players    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] With only four weeks at most for most players before the end of their ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives