Shalrie Joseph scored his first goal for Seattle Sounders FC (10-8-4, 34 points) but a first-half brace from Dynamo striker Giles Barnes led Houston (10-7-6, 36 points) to a 3-1 win in front of a sellout crowd of 22,289 at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night.
Clint Dempsey made his first start for Sounders FC, playing 90 minutes with a team-high four shots.
Barnes struck twice in four minutes to give the Dynamo the early lead. In the 17th minute, Will Bruin got behind the Seattle defense and passed back to Barnes, who cut inside and blasted a shot inside the far corner.
Four minutes later, Barnes added a second tally when he collected a ball from Brad Davis, turned and rocketed a 30-yard shot to the upper corner.
Seattle pulled one goal back in the 65th minute when Marc Burch’s free kick found Joseph in the box. Joseph hammered a header that bounced over Tally Hall and into the open net.
Houston added a third tally in the 74th minute when Davis headed a rebound to Bruin, who turned and fired a low shot for the final 3-1 score line.
Sounders FC had several chances to equalize in the second half. In the 53rd minute, Dempsey found Burch with a back-heel pass but his shot was pushed over the crossbar. Second-half substitute Brad Evans sent a low cross into the box in the 81st minute but Neagle’s flick bounced off the post to Hall.
Both sides were active in the attack throughout the opening 45 minutes, combining for 15 total shots.
Houston nearly scored in the 31st minute when Barnes’ shot was blocked by the Seattle defense and Davis’ rebound attempt was parried wide by a diving Michael Gspurning.
Neagle’s header from a Mauro Rosales corner in the 24th minute bounced wide. Seattle had a pair of chances 10 minutes later when Dempsey’s shot was saved by Hall and Rosales’ diving header landed wide.
Djimi Traore left the match in the 82nd minute and was replaced by Zach Scott. Houston’s Ricardo Clark was replaced by Warren Creavalle in the 39th minute.
Sounders FC hosts Cascadia Cup rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday, August 25. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
HOU – Giles Barnes (Will Bruin) 17′
HOU – Giles Barnes (Brad Davis) 21′
SEA – Shalrie Joseph (Marc Burch) 65′
HOU – Will Bruin (Brad Davis) 74′