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Stefan Frei gets another shutout as Sounders blank Dynamo

Stefan Frei

The Seattle Sounders defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 on Saturday night, with Albert Rusnak scoring and Stefan Frei recording his MLS-leading 11th shutout of the season.

Frei made two saves, the last in second-half stoppage time on Thorleifur Ulfarsson’s header, as the Sounders (9-7-5, 32 points) stopped a five-match winless slide (0-2-3) and earned their first victory since May 27.

The Dynamo (8-9-3, 27 points) dropped their second consecutive match and wasted an opportunity to move over Seattle and into third place in the Western Conference. Houston played the last 28 minutes with 10 men after defender Micael was sent off after receiving yellow cards in the 61st and 62nd minutes.

Rusnak scored in the 67th minute on a cross from Leo Chu, who exchanged passes with Nicolas Lodeiro in the penalty area. Chu grabbed the ball near the end line and found the trailing Rusnak wide open just outside the top of the 6-yard box, with Raul Ruidiaz rushing toward the net. Rusnak’s left-footed shot found the back of the net.

The game was reminiscent of the clubs’ first encounter of the season, which took place on May 13 in Houston. After a pair of red cards, the Dynamo concluded the game with nine players, with the Sounders’ Paul Rothrock scoring the lone goal in the 87th minute.

Early in the second half, both teams came close to breaking the scoreless deadlock.

Houston defenders misplayed a cross at the top of the 6-yard box in the 47th minute. Erik Sviatchenko made a sliding tackle to knock the ball out of bounds after Lodeiro appeared to have a clear shot on goal.

In the 49th minute, Artur of the Dynamo hit the right post with a shot from outside the penalty area.

In the first half, the Sounders outshot the Dynamo 5-3, with a 3-1 advantage in shots on goal.

Clark’s three saves before the break came in the first 15 minutes. In the sixth and ninth minutes, he easily blocked long-range tries from Ruidiaz and Rusnak. In the 13th minute, Clark also cradled Nouhou Tolo’s header off a Lodeiro corner.

Frei’s lone stop in the first half came in the fourth minute on a shot from outside the penalty area by Nelson Quinones.