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Sounders FC shuts out visiting Houston, 2-0
David Estrada scores another game-winner, his MLS-leading fourth goal of the season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
San Jose Earthquakes @ Sounders FC, 7 p.m., KONG
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When it's going good, it's going good.
Sounders FC forward David Estrada got a fortunate bounce to score his MLS-leading fourth goal of the season, and Brad Evans converted a penalty kick to lead Seattle to a 2-0 win Friday against the MLS Cup runner-up Houston Dynamo.
The Sounders continued their perfect home form in front of 38,304 at CenturyLink Field and improved to 2-0 in league for the first time since 2009.
Once again, the game-winner came from Estrada.
Last week's hat-trick hero put Seattle ahead for good in the 23rd minute, when his shot from 24 yards deflected off Houston's Geoff Cameron and into the net past wrong-footed goalkeeper Tally Hall.
"Everything that I hit is going in," Estrada said with a laugh.
The scoring play initially ruled Estrada's goal by an in-house scoring crew was changed to an own goal a few minutes later by Opta (the league's stat provider), then changed back to Estrada's late in the second half after a review by MLS officials.
"I was a little bit bummed when I came in at halftime and I heard it was an own goal," he said. "Thankfully they reviewed it and gave it to me. I'll take it."
Estrada said luck was a factor, but coach Sigi Schmid is convinced there's more to it than that.
"When you work really hard, you get rewarded," Schmid said.
The Sounders quickly doubled their lead off a penalty kick in the 27th minute, a play set up when Patrick Ianni was shoved in the back by Cameron in the penalty box. Evans, who was 3 for 3 on penalty kicks last season, calmly finished to the right past Hall.
"It's just confidence and stepping up," said Evans. "Pick your spot and take it."
Houston (2-1) led in most of the first-half stats — 5-4 in shots, 3-2 in corners, 53.2 percent duels won and 54.2 percent possession — but couldn't turn those numbers into many scoring chances. The Dynamo's best opportunity came in the 17th minute, when Brian Ching set up forward partner Will Bruin for a shot, but Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning just tipped it over the cross bar.
With the lead, the Sounders still had the best looks in the second half, narrowly missing on chances by Roger Levesque and Alvaro Fernandez in the 53rd and 79th minutes, respectively.
Gspurning had two saves to record his first shutout.
Seattle made two changes to its opening-day lineup, both due to injury. Levesque started in place of midfielder Mauro Rosales (knee sprain), and defender Zach Scott filled in for Adam Johansson (hamstring).
Curiously, Schmid kept Ianni and defender Marc Burch in the starting lineup in place of Jeff Parke and Leo Gonzalez. The latter two had started both games of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexico's Santos Laguna, but were rested in Saturday's 3-1 win against Toronto FC. When asked about it, Schmid said he wanted continuity from last week's season opener.
He got it.
"I was pleased with the way our team came in and battled and the character they showed today," Schmid said.
• Sounders FC next plays against San Jose at 7 p.m. March 31 to conclude a three-game homestand.
• Houston has several connections to the Pacific Northwest: Coach Dominic Kinnear played for the Sounders' 1995 A-League championship team; Ching went to Gonzaga and is another former A-League Sounder; Hall is from Gig Harbor; midfielder Nathan Sturgis played here in 2009-10; and forward Cam Weaver went to Seattle University and played for the USL Sounders.
• Sounders forward Fredy Montero assumed captain's duties, normally handled by Rosales.
• Sounders academy defender Jalen Markey, a Renton native, and Crossfire Premier defender Jose Ocampo, from Bothell, have been called in by the U.S. U-18 men's national team for training camp in Carson, Calif., from March 25 to April 1.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter: @joshuamayers
|Houston||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||2 0 — 2|
Houston — Tally Hall, Andre Hainault (Jermaine Taylor, 46th), Corey Ashe, Bobby Boswell, Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Camargo, 67th), Adam Moffat, Geoff Cameron, Colin Clark, Brad Davis, Will Bruin, Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji, 76th).
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Marc Burch, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott, Alvaro Fernandez, David Estrada, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco, 61st), Osvaldo Alonso, Roger Levesque (Leo Gonzalez, 81st), Fredy Montero (Christian Sivebaek, 90th+).
|Sounders FC has gotten off to a very different start in MLS play compared to 2011:|
|2011||1||L, 1-0 vs. L.A. Galaxy|
|2011||2||L, 1-0 at N.Y. Red Bulls|
|2012||1||W, 3-1 vs. Toronto FC|
|2012||2||W, 2-0 vs. Houston|