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3 Kicks: Scrappy Whitecaps FC earn a draw in the Houston heat

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Mark Dailey Jul 23, 2016 5:43 pm

Six years after joining Major League Soccer the Vancouver Whitecaps finally have a brought home a point from a match in Texas.

Despite a shaky start to the match the Whitecaps (W8-L6-D8, 30 pts – 5th Western Conference) battled hard in the Texas heat to earn a 0-0 draw against the Houston Dynamo.

1. By the skin of their teeth

The Whitecaps have had a very bad habit of giving up late goals recently. These late goals have cost the ‘Caps the Voyageur’s Cup and plenty of valuable MLS points as well.

Tonight the Whitecaps battled hard through 90-minutes of the brutal Texas heat, and brought home a point for their efforts.

Houston came at the ‘Caps right from the very first kick of the ball. The Dynamo had several early chances, the best of which came in the 8th minute when an unmarked Andrew Wenger put his shot over the Vancouver goal.

The match ended in very much the same manner in which it began. The Dynamo pressed hard in the four minutes of second half injury time, and David Horst came very close to scoring a winning goal for the Dynamo.

With literally seconds left in the match, Horst connected with a cross that was whipped into the box from the left flank by Abdoulie Mansally. David Ousted, who had already made several big stops during the match for Vancouver, rose to the occasion once again, this time by punching the ball out of play to preserve the nil-all score.

2. A point in Texas. Finally!

The Lone Star State has been a tough, tough place for the Whitecaps to play over the years. While it may not have been a pretty match to watch, the ‘Caps stuck to their game plan and deserved the point they took home.

While Ousted’s heroics between the sticks drew most of the attention, defender Kendall Waston did his fair share of defensive work with 13 clearances.

At the other end of the pitch Vancouver rarely threatened Joe Willis in the Houston goal. Vancouver substitute Erik Hurtado came closest to scoring for the ‘Caps with less than ten minutes to play. Hurtado’s goal, however, was disallowed when the officials ruled that he controlled the ball with his upper arm prior to taking his shot.

It may have taken 5-and-1/2 years, 192 matches and 10 losses to the Texas MLS teams, but finally the Whitecaps brought home a point.

It’s a start.

3. Cole Seiler makes his Whitecaps MLS debut

The Whitecaps’ right back position has been under intense scrutiny all year after veteran Steven Beitashour left for Toronto FC last winter. Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson is not afraid to give his young players their chance at playing in MLS, and tonight it was rookie defender Cole Seiler’s turn as Robinson continues to search for a solution to the right back conundrum.

Robinson’s solution, or so it seemed, was to replace Beitashour with the young and unproven duo of Fraser Aird and Jordan Smith. While both players have played well at times, the position has been exploited by savvy MLS attackers all season long.

Seiler, 22, attended Georgetown University, and was picked 16th overall by the Whitecaps in 2016 MLS SuperDraft. While Seiler did play for the Whitecaps earlier in the week in the friendly match against Crystal Palace FC, he has spent the entire season playing for the Whitecaps USL team, WFC2.

Did Seiler do enough to impress Robinson and make a claim on the right back position? That’s hard to say, but the rookie certainly had a solid debut and did not look out of place in his first MLS match.

Early on Seiler was caught out by Houston’s attackers on a couple of occasions, but his confidence grew during the game. Whether or not Seiler has done enough to bump Aird or Smith down the depth chart remains to be seen, but at the very least he’s given Robinson something to think about.

4. Bonus Kick: Is Espíndola on the move?

Earlier this week the Whitecaps announced they had acquired striker Fabián Espíndola from D.C. United in exchange for allocation money. The Argentine has 4 months remaining on his contract, and is widely considered to be a ‘rental player’ for the Whitecaps.

The ink may still be drying on the trade paperwork, but that hasn’t stopped some pundits from speculating that Espíndola will not be coming to play in Vancouver after all.

It would be highly unusual for the Whitecaps to trade a player they only just acquired. It is also possible that the ‘Caps have something else in the works and Espíndola is just a piece in a puzzle. It is also conceivable that Espíndola may be considering other options, and does not want to play in Vancouver for the remainder of his MLS contract. During the television broadcast of the match, TSN reported that Espíndola was left in Vancouver to ‘acclimatize’ and to spend time with his family.

See also

Earlier this season Galarcep also reported that former Whitecap Darren Mattocks was on the verge of joining a Chinese club, and that the Whitecaps and Crew SC had arranged a deal to swap forwards Kei Kamara and Octavio Rivero.

Ultimately, Mattocks moved to the Portland Timbers, Kamara was traded to the New England Revolution, and Rivero was transferred to Colo Colo in Chile.

MATCH DETAILS

Man of the Match: David Ousted
Referee: Jaime Herrera
Attendance: 16,465

Scoring Summary
None

Stats
Possession: Houston 47.6 % – Vancouver 52.4 %
Shots: Houston 17 – Vancouver 9
Shots on Goal: Houston 4 – Vancouver 4
Saves: Houston 4 – Vancouver 4
Fouls: Houston 12 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: Houston 2 – Vancouver 1
Corners: Houston 6 – Vancouver 4

Cautions
62’ – HOU – Andrew Wenger
84’ – VAN – Erik Hurtado

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 14.Cole Seiler, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 17.Andrew Jacobson, 15.Matías Laba; 7.Christian Bolaños, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (27.Blas Pérez 67’), 77.Pedro Morales © (13.Cristian Techera 85’); 9.Masato Kudo (19.Erik Hurtado 74’)

Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 6.Jordan Smith, 8.Fraser Aird, 33.Marcel de Jong

Houston Dynamo
31.Joe Willis; 22.Sheanon Williams, 18.David Horst, 5.Raul Rodriguez (20.Abdoulie Mansally 13’), 2.Jalil Anibaba; 11.Andrew Wenger (8.Cristian Maidana 67’), 14.Alex, 26.Collen Warner (10.Giles Barnes 80’), 27.Boniek Garcia ©; 12.Will Bruin, 9.Erik Torres

Substitutes not used
24.Calle Brown, 13.Ricardo Clark, 19.Mauro Manotas


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Mark Dailey
I am a lifelong sports fan, and have a passion for soccer, rugby, Formula 1 and gridiron football. When I'm not watching sports you can usually find me with a cup of coffee and reading a good book. I also co-host the From the Backline and Scuderia Formula 1 podcasts. Have a story idea? Email me at [email protected]

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