Martins' goal gives Seattle the win over Houston Dynamo
SEATTLE (AP) — Obafemi Martins scored his third goal of the season, spinning around a defender to beat Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric, and the Seattle Sounders beat the Dynamo 1-0 on Saturday night despite playing the final 35 minutes with just 10 men.
Martins' goal came in the 39th minute as Seattle quickly countered off a Houston turnover. Martins took a pass from Clint Dempsey, did a 360-degree spin around Houston defender Jermaine Taylor and put enough power on the shot that Deric's deflection couldn't keep it out of the net.
Seattle went down a man in the 56th minute when Gonzalo Pineda was given a red card after catching Ricardo Clark in the stomach with his left foot. Even with the man advantage, Houston could not get any good chances against Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
Houston outshot Seattle, but the majority of the chances were wide of the goal. Nathan Sturgis' half-volley moments after Pineda's red card went just wide of the post and may have been the Dynamo's best scoring opportunity. Houston remained winless since its season-opening victory over Columbus and has gone 259 minutes without a goal.
Seattle welcomed back four key starters, with the return of Dempsey, Martins and defender Chad Marshall from injuries, and the season debut of midfielder Osvaldo Alonso following surgery.
Dempsey was called in for two U.S. national team matches in Europe but returned to Seattle before the first against Denmark with a slight hamstring injury. Martins suffered a quad injury in an exhibition match against Club Tijuana and Marshall had a neck strain. Dempsey, Martins and Marshall all missed last weekend's draw at FC Dallas with their injuries.
The decision to sit out against Dallas proved correct for all three, and Alonso was able to go 73 minutes in his first action of the season. Dempsey was subbed off in the 87th minute while Martins and Marshall went the entire way.
Martins and Dempsey have scored all six goals in Seattle's four MLS matches this season. Seattle lacked offense in last week's 0-0 at Dallas where neither team recorded a shot on goal for the first time in MLS history.
Despite being short-handed, Seattle missed a pair of chances to take a 2-0 lead. Alonso's run through the middle of the field was denied when his left-footed shot was blocked by Deric. With less than 20 minutes left, Martins dribbled around much of Houston's defense but when he finally got a clear look on goal put his shot over the crossbar.