By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
HOUSTON — The Seattle Sounders took responsibility for their 3-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at sold out BBVA Compass Stadium.
But they also saw it as one of those games that they might have lost by a much higher score — or they might not have lost it at all.
There were chances in both directions, and on this night it was Houston that made the most of them, boosted along by forward Giles Barnes, who handed the Dynamo a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes.
“Obviously, we gave up some goals early,” coach Sigi Schmid. “… After that I thought we were in as much of the game as they were. It’s easily a game that could’ve been 3-3 or 4-4 based on the chances we had.”
Seattle outshot the Dynamo, 20-16, and earned nine corner kicks to Houston’s four.
However, Houston (10-7-6) broke through in the 17th minute. Will Bruin made a run into the penalty area past DeAndre Yedlin. Once near the end line, he sent a pass back to Barnes, who cut inside of Djimi Traore and fired to the far post, beating goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who had rush the other way to deal with the Bruin threat.
Four minutes later, the Sounders lost the ball around midfield, and Brad Davis quickly slipped a ball to Barnes, who turned, took one touch and let loose a shot that beat Gspurning from 30 yards.
“The second one was also a nice strike,” Gspurning said. “… I tried everything, but I wasn’t able to reach it.”
Seattle halved the lead in the 65th minute when Marc Burch sent a free kick into a crowd in front of the goal, and Shalrie Joseph headed it past Houston keeper Tally Hall, a SeaTac native.
“I got good contact on it and it took a nice bounce and went in,” Joseph said. “It felt great. Unfortunately for us, the result didn’t go the way we wanted tonight. Offensively, we played great, we created a lot of chances and we got what we wanted. Defensively, we just have to be better, forward to the midfield to the defense.”
Searching for the equalizer, the Sounders increasingly pushed forward. That caught up with them in the 74th minute when a flurry of Dynamo chances ended with Bruin sending in the final goal.
“Obviously, their third goal took a little bit of the wind out of the sails,” Schmid said. “I still thought we continued to fight and battle. … Lamar (Neagle) hit the post and (Brad) Evans has an open header that he hits wide from inside the box. We continued to create chances, so I don’t think we hung our heads.”
The three goals were the most Seattle had surrendered since May, and it happened to come on Gspurning’s return to the starting lineup for the first time since suffering a forearm injury at San Jose on July 13.
Schmid credited the quality of the goals and said his keeper was “OK.”
Gspurning said he felt physically fine. However, he took his share of the blame for the result that ended a three-game winning streak for Seattle (10-8-4).
“Everybody can do something better,” he said. “It starts with me, and it ends with the strikers. We had a lot of chances to score more goals. We didn’t have a good game tonight and we have to move forward.”
The game also marked the first Sounders start for designated player Clint Dempsey, who was back playing in his home state.
Dempsey went 90 minutes, took a team-high five shots and put two of them on goal.
Like many of his teammates, he thought he could have done better.
“I thought we created enough chances tonight that we should have scored more goals,” he said. “I had some good looks. I might should have put one away. But we had chances, so I’m not frustrated with that aspect.”