Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Why Seattle has edge in playoff opener
by Ridge Mahoney, October 29th, 2009 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

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
What They're Saying: Leonardo Santiago    
"We have the MLS rights throughout central and north Florida, so any discussion of another franchise ...
MLS Cup Countdown: 'Amazing night' expected    
Saturday's MLS Cup shapes up as one of the best in league history with arguably the ...
Coaching: New NSCAA course on LGBT Inclusion     
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) has launched a free online course to help ...
What They're Saying: Don Garber    
"If you could wave a magic wand and not have to address things like: What do ...
MLS Moves: 'Caps re-sign Hurtado, renew 11 options     
A day after announcing it had declined the option on midfielder Pedro Morales, Vancouver finalized its ...
TV: Fox Sports will air MLS Cup in VR    
For the first time since its launch in 1996, MLS will not air its final on ...
Video Pick: Bundesliga goalkeeper bloopers    
As part of its annual advent calendar series, Bundesliga YouTube presents the Top 10 most "catastrophic" ...
U.S. Abroad: Bob Bradley to critics: 'Hit the road'    
With just one win and five points in seven games as Swansea City's manager, Bob Bradley ...
Soccer in December in Toronto -- who'd have thought?    
It may surprise a lot of people to realize that Seattle is farther north than Toronto. ...
Tab Ramos names U-20 roster for Costa Rica friendlies     
Coach Tab Ramos' 20-player U.S. U-20 national team roster for friendlies at Costa Rica Dec. 17 ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives