HOUSTON – Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer would not call the Sounders’ dominant first leg win on Tuesday night a statement.
“I think it’s just who we are,” Schmetzer said.
The Sounders are 90 minutes from the MLS Cup championship game.
Gustav Svensson and Will Bruin scored in the first half, and Seattle Sounders FC beat the 10-man Houston Dynamo 2-0 in the first leg of the Western Conference championship.
The second leg is Nov. 30 in Seattle.
“We tried to dictate tempo throughout our strengths,” Schmetzer said. “It just manifested itself in a good way for us.”
Svensson gave the defending MLS Cup champion Sounders a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute, heading a Nicolas Lodeiro corner kick just right of the middle from eight yards out.
“It feels like in the first half that we played with a little bit more attacking, but that’s our goal from the outset,” Schmetzer said. “Home or away, we feel that we have a good enough team to score on our opponents.”
Bruin upped the lead to 2-0 in the 42nd minute, heading a Joevin Jones crossing pass into the left net from just right of the middle eight yards out.
“That one felt great,” Bruin, who played for the Dynamo his first six seasons, said. “I started to peel back post, and me and Joevin had made eye contact. I knew he was going to put it up there. It’s my job to go back across the grain because it freezes the goalie. That’s what happened.”
Seattle has yet to concede a goal through three games this postseason, outscoring its opponents 4-0 and missed opportunities to extend the lead further in the second half.
“We will take the 2-0 result for sure after tonight’s performance, especially in the second half, but if we are going to win the MLS Cup, we have to be better,” Seattle forward Cristian Roldan said.
Lodeiro missed a chance to extend the lead to 2-0 in the 28th minute as his penalty kick was saved by Joe Willis, who dove to his left and batted it outside the near post.
Seattle was awarded the penalty kick in the 27th minute after Jones was pulled down from behind in the box by Jalil Anibaba, who was given a straight red card.
Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis refused to put blame on the officiating for the loss.
“I think it’s hard to put blame on the ref for anything,” Willis said. “It was tough, I think the goal killed our momentum initially, and from there, it was an uphill battle.”
Houston, making its first appearance in a conference finals since losing in the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 to Sporting KC, had several chances early, highlighted by Tomas Martinez’s shot from the upper box that was easily saved by Tyler Miller in the 12th minute. However, the Dynamo had few opportunities thereafter.
Trailing 2-0 headed into the second leg, Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said nothing is impossible, and his team has nothing to lose.
“We are going to go with the mentality that we can win that game,” Cabrera said. “We have a good team. We can be dangerous. We can defend better, we have to defend better. It’s going to be a tough game, but we have to have a better mentality. We are going to take risks over there because that is the only option.”
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.