MLS PLAYOFFS

Dynamo drop home opener 2-0, need huge effort in Seattle to advance

Mauro Manotas and the Dynamo were unable to get much going against Seattle. Michelle Watson

The Dynamo's hopes of reaching the MLS Cup took a serious blow Tuesday night when they lost to the Seattle Sounders 2-0 in the first leg of the two-part Western Conference Finals. 

Seattle got goals from Gustav Svensson and former Dynamo Will Bruin, and Houston was forced to play with 10 men for most of the match after Jalil Anibaba picked up a red card. The Dynamo created some chances late but could not overcome fatigue to get a goal. 

With the two road goals, Seattle is in prime shape to end the series next week and advance to the MLS Cup to face Toronto or Colombus. It will be a tall task for the Dynamo, who won one road game all season against D.C. United, one of the worst teams in the league. And Seattle has just one home loss all year, to Toronto FC, the team with the best record in the league.

The Dynamo and Sounders will play in Seattle on Thursday, Nov. 30, with Seattle holding a 2-0 aggregate lead, with two critical road goals.

 

 

 

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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

PROBABLE STARTERS

Thurs, Sept. 24 - HOU: Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33) vs. TEX: Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53)

Fri, Sept. 25 - HOU: Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78) vs. TEX: Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53)

Sat, Sept. 26 - HOU: TBD vs. TEX: Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87)

Sun, Sept. 27 - HOU: TBD vs. TEX: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07)

STORYLINES

Season finale - The Astros will wrap up their regular season with their four game set in Arlington at the new Globe Life Field. Houston's magic number rests at two, as the Angels still have a puncher's chance. With Houston's miserable 8-20 road record, the postseason is anything but clinched.

Where's the offense? - The Astros offense has left a lot to be desired over the last few weeks, scoring more than three runs just twice in their last ten games. The bats really need to get going, especially if the team expects to do anything in the playoffs. George Springer has been the only reliable bat of late, with the performances of Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and, most of all, Jose Altuve, leaving a lot to be desired.

Playoff seeding - If the playoffs started today, the Astros would face off with their division rivals in Oakland. There's an infinite number of possibilities over the next four games, but the Astros can see themselves finish anywhere from the fifth seed to out of the playoffs entirely. Any of Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Oakland, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland could be first round foes depending on how the cards fall.

PREDICTION

Lance Lynn has been one of the better pitchers in the game for a few years now, Kyle Cody is an intriguing young arm with good stuff, and Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson gave the Astros fits in Houston just last week. It isn't a recipe for success for Houston. The Astros win 1 of 4, which combined with the Angels and Mariners failing to take care of business, is enough to get Houston into the playoffs.

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