Seattle Sounders (6-3-7, 25 points)
Houston Dynamo (9-3-4, 31 points)
Saturday, July 11th, Qwest Field, 1pm.
Photo from OHA
Theoretically, there are four or five teams in the MLS that should pose us a serious challenge: Chivas, DC, Chicago, Columbus, and Houston.
So far, Chivas is the only one to really school us (and twice); we managed a tie with DC, Chicago and Columbus due to various quirks and despite being outplayed.
This Saturday we play the last remaining serious contender, current league tops: Houston Dynamo.
In the three short years since the old San Jose Earthquakes moved to Houston to become the Dynamo expansion team, they've won two MLS Cups and played in both the CONCACAF Champions League and the SuperLiga, losing in the semis of both tournaments to Pachuca from Mexico.
That's a lot of top-level experience for a young team.
So far, they're sitting with 31 points on top of the Western Standings, a game ahead of Chivas and two games ahead of us. They ended an eleven-game winning streak last week in one of those odd losses to bottom-feeders, LA Galaxy.
The good news/bad news is that they're without starting forward and US National star (and former USL Sounder) Brian Ching, who's off playing in the Gold Cup with fellow Dynamos Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark. (By the way, Ching during his stay in town over the 4th, reportedly told Coach Sigi he would like to come back to Seattle , which would be nice because he'd be teaming back up with Jaqua and Ianni, who also came over from from the Dynamos.)
Anyway, the fact that Ching and Holden and Clark aren't playing is "good news" because Houston will be weaker without them, but ultimately bad news because we're not playing them at full strength, a situation that may come back to bite us when we play them again with much higher-stakes.