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Sounders, Dynamo play short-handed

Country before team.

That's always been the pledge in the sport of soccer and it will put the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders in another tough spot when they host the Houston Dynamo on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle forwards Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris are with the U.S. national team, as is Dynamo defender DeMarcus Beasley, ahead of a World Cup qualifier on Thursday against Trinidad & Tobago.

Without Dempsey and Morris on Wednesday, the Sounders (4-6-4) had their two-game winning streak snapped with a 3-0 defeat at Columbus.

Sedi Adekoya made his first MLS start at striker in that match.

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said he spoke with U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena about having either Dempsey or Morris returned before the Columbus match, to no avail.

The U.S. also had a friendly Saturday against Venezuela.

"We're supportive of the national team," Jordan told the Seattle Times. "We're supportive of Clint and Jordan. ... This is an unusual circumstance with (the U.S. team) calling guys in early.

"But sure, it would have been nice to have our guys. For sure."

To make matters more frustrating for the Sounders, the U.S. team loaned defender Matt Besler to Sporting Kansas City, which has a shortage of center backs because of injuries, on an emergency basis for Saturday's match against Minnesota United.

"Maybe they have a different relationship," Schmetzer told the Times, referring to Sporting KC and the U.S. team. "Who knows if (Besler) is going to figure in any of the (national team) matches? There are a lot of details I'm not aware of. ... So, I couldn't really comment on what KC has done."

The Dynamo (7-5-2), which was atop the Western Conference and tied for the MLS lead with 27 goals entering the weekend, has made a dramatic turnaround under new coach Wilmer Cabrera after finishing last in the conference in 2016.

Houston still is seeking its first road win, however, with a 0-5-1 mark away from home.

The Dynamo, which beat the Sounders 2-1 in Houston in the season opener, has never won in Seattle, going 0-5-2.

"We're not really paying much attention to the standings," Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric told MLSSoccer.com after Wednesday's 5-1 home victory against Real Salt Lake.

"We're just looking at Seattle. We know they're a good team, especially in Seattle. It's a tough place to play. So all our focus right now is to figure out how we can set ourselves up to get the best result we can and to get three points in Seattle."

Updated June 3, 2017

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