First-half goals from Erik Torres and Romell Quioto give the Dynamo all three points on opening weekend.
2016 was a season to forget for the Houston Dynamo, and one to remember for the Seattle Sounders.
Whilst Houston finished bottom of the Western Conference, Sounders went on to win the MLS Cup for the first time in their history.
The off-season has seen a lot of change- especially in the Dynamo camp. Wilmer Cabrera has taken over as Head Coach following Wade Barrett’s brief stint towards the second half of last year, as well as over a dozen new players.
Five of those, including goalscorer Quioto, made their debuts for the home side last night, and the team looked fresh and up for the task ahead. There was an energy around the Compass Arena that had been missing for some time.
Right from the first minute, Dynamo were on the front foot, with Sounders keeper Stefan Frei keeping the scoreline goalless with two good saves early on.
But Torres’ free-kick and Quioto’s superb curling effort from 20 yards gave the hosts a deserved 2-0 lead at half time.
The defending champions on the other hand just weren’t at the races during the opening half. Although on a positive note, it was good to see Clint Dempsey make his first competitive start since August, after he suffered a heart related issue last summer.
The former Fulham and Tottenham midfielder scored Seattle’s goal, in what was a much better second half performance, with a composed finish at the back post.
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer told Sounders after the game: “It was a good goal from Clint. I probably ran him out longer than I wanted too but we had discussed it and he felt ok to play.
“I told the players to be more patient with possession in the second half. We tried to play killer passes too quickly in the opening 45. When we got more patient we looked more of a threat.
“This was a good learning tool for us. The lesson here is that we cannot afford to let teams press us. We have a target on our backs.”
This was a cagey opening performance from the champions ahead of what will be one of the closest MLS seasons in history, and Sounders forward Jordan Morris said: “We are the champs. Teams are going to come at us and away from home they were going to be fired up.
“We need to learn from our mistakes ahead of next week. We’re all frustrated. We are better then that but hopefully we can turn it around next weekend.”
Elsewhere, FC Dallas won at LA Galaxy for the first time since 2009 as goals from Maximiliano Urruti and Kellyn Acosta helped the visitors to a 2-1 victory.
Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire drew 1-1 at the MAPFRE Stadium, DC United and Sporting Kansas City ended goalless and a Dominique Badji header saw off New England Revolution as Colorado Rapids made it a winning start to 2017.
Sebastian Giovinco missed a penalty as Toronto played out a 0-0 draw at Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes beat 10-man Montreal Impact thanks to an Anibal Godoy goal.