SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

For Sounders, hot Houston is a problem

Jul 29, 2011, 9:03 AM | Updated: 10:34 am

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96 degrees for a high. 76 degrees for the low. It’s downright hot in Houston, Texas.

Seattle Sounders FC will try to stay cool and beat the Houston Dynamo for the first time ever on Saturday night.

It’s been a long, very warm week for our soccer boys from the Pacific Northwest. Sounders FC traveled to Panama for Tuesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League Match where Seattle lost to San Francisco FC 1-0. The second leg of that series is Wednesday, August 3rd at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

So how have the “rave green” been handling the heat, humidity, long plane rides, and hotels?

“We’re holding up all right,” Sigi Schmid told me in the coaches corner interview. “When you train in cooler temperatures most of the season, and play in a warmer climate, it takes a while to adjust to it. The length of this trip means we’ve had a little more time to adjust.”

The Dynamo earned a 1-1 draw against Seattle in late March thanks to the fine work of goalkeeper Tally Hall, a native of Gig Harbor.

“Tally had a great game against us in that first match,” said an impressed Schmid. “I thought we played well, but didn’t finish our opportunities. This game, I’d probably take us not playing as well, but finishing our chances, that would make it better.”

Schmid is concerned about Houston’s size, especially on set pieces. All-Star midfielder Brad Davis has a very accurate left foot service, whereas F Brian Ching and MF Geoff Cameron are capable of burning the defense.

Seattle’s own goalkeeping situation is a bit muddled heading into the match.

Kasey Keller needs rest after participating in the MLS All-Star game, while backup Terry Boss remains in Seattle recovering from a concussion he sustained early in the second half in the 7-0 loss to Manchester United.

“We have Josh Ford on the trip,” said Schmid of Boss’ replacement. “Josh has been with us all season long, and trained well. Kasey Keller is still the guy starting for us. He’s a veteran and knows how to handle the travel situation, so he should be ready.”

The coach had some encouraging news about two starting defenders.

Tyson Wahl will return to the left side. “We were trying to be careful with his hamstring down in Panama because the field was heavy,” Schmid said.

Jhon Kennedy Hurtado has missed the past few games after spraining his knee ligament. “Kennedy is making great progress back in Seattle. We hope, fingers crossed, maybe [he’ll return] Wednesday. But for sure against Kansas City, we think he should be able to return.”

Matt Johnson hosts the pre-game coverage this Saturday at 5 p.m. Arlo White picks up the play-by-play at 5:30 when Sounders FC play Houston Dynamo on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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Sounders fans can rest easy. Sigi Schmid will not be leaving to become head coach of the U.S. national team. Former Germany World Cup star Juergen Klinsmann will replace Bob Bradley as the U.S. men’s national team head coach.

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