The Seattle Sounders jumped all over the Houston Dynamo from the opening moments of a rain-soaked Monday night matchup ripe with playoff implications.
A brace from Victor Rodriguez, goals from Cristian Roldan and Will Bruin, and more sustained brilliance from Nicolas Lodeiro propelled the hosts to a 4-1 romp in front of 39,518 fans at CenturyLink Field.
The victory puts the Sounders (15-11-5, 50 points) just a point behind the Portland Timbers for the fourth seed in the Western Conference with a game in hand.
Meanwhile, the loss eliminated the Dynamo (9-14-8, 35 points) from playoff contention. They have never won a road match against the Sounders (0-7-2) and have still just won just a single road match this season (1-9-5).
It took only 18 minutes for Bruin — a longtime Dynamo striker — to open the scoring for the hosts. Roldan found Bruin near the penalty spot before the burly forward turned and bested goalkeeper Joe Willis with a left-footed shot into the upper left corner.
It was the fourth time Bruin has scored against his former team since joining the Sounders before the 2017 season, and his eighth goal of the season. Roldan recorded his eighth assist of the campaign on the play.
Roldan doubled the lead himself in the 34th minute, scoring his fourth goal of the year to put the Sounders up 2-0. Lodeiro recorded his 12th assist of the year on the play, slaloming some 50 yards through the heart of the pitch before laying off a pass as Roldan charged into the penalty area and easily beat Willis inside the far post.
Rodriguez put the match away in the 63rd minute, sending a deflected shot off defender Adolfo Machado and past Willis for the 3-0 lead. Bruin nicely dummied a Kelvin Leerdam cross to free up Rodriguez on the play. It was the third goal of the season for Rodriguez, and the fourth assist of the campaign for Leerdam.
Late substitute Handwalla Bwana found Rodriguez for the Sounders’ fourth and final goal of the night in the 73rd minute, laying off a nifty little through ball that split a pair of Dynamo defenders and left Rodriguez alone at the edge of the 6-yard box. The Spanish midfielder sent a first-timed shot past Willis for the 4-0 lead.
DaMarcus Beasley pulled one back for the visitors in the 87th minute, stepping into a pass from Alvarez and coolly burying his first goal of the season past goalkeeper Stefan Frei and into the far-side netting.
Both teams were missing key players to international duty. Romell Quioto (Honduras) and Alberth Elis (Honduras) were absent for the Dynamo, while the Sounders were without Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and Raul Ruidiaz (Peru). Ronaldo Pena was also a late injury scratch for the Dynamo. Head coach Wilmer Cabrera turned to Arturo Alvarez to replace the Venezuelan forward.
Looking ahead, the Dynamo visit LAFC on Friday, while the Sounders are off until visiting Orlando City on October 17.
Man of the Match
Victor Rodriguez was expected to play a vital role in the Sounders’ attack this season, but he struggled to make an impact for much of the year as he battled multiple injuries. Finally healthy and jelling with Nicolas Lodeiro, he has his club looking far more predatory in attack.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
The second goal of the night for the Sounders. Whatever fight the visitors mustered over the first 34 minutes seemed to evaporate after ceding a second goal.
MATCH TO FORGET
Adolfo Machado. Take your pick from a back line that conceded four goals.