Ricardo Clark and Raul Rodriguez scored for Houston Dynamo (9W-10L-8D) as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (14W-10L-3D) lost a 2-0 decision after being reduced to nine men at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.
The loss of Kendall Waston and Matias Laba, after each was shown their second yellow cards midway through the second half, proved too much to overcome for the ‘Caps, who conclude a busy August that saw them play eight matches across three competitions.
Three days after an emotional win in the Amway Canadian Championship Final, head coach Carl Robinson made six changes to last Wednesday’s lineup, including the insertion of new acquisition Jordan Smith into the starting backline. The Costa Rican defender appeared to have settled into his role quickly, helping the Vancouver defence withstand pressure from the Dynamo attack in the opening minutes.
The speedy combination of Kekuta Manneh and Darren Mattocks repeatedly looked to capitalize on the high Houston line by combining to create opportunities, however the early chances were thwarted by Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric and Houston’s back four.
The home side opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Erick Torres got a heel flick on a Sheanon William cross and Clark slid into the picture to put the ball in the back of Vancouver’s net.
Mauro Rosales would earn the ‘Caps chances for a quick equalizer, beginning with a cross to the far post to a charging Mattocks, but Dynamo midfielder Alex was positioned well to head the ball out of bounds. On the ensuing corner kick, Rosales set up Waston for a header but the defender’s attempt was cleared off the line by Rodriguez.
Manneh continued his lively play when he blew past Rodriguez to feed Mattocks in front of goal but the Jamaican’s shot spun wide right of target just before halftime.
The ‘Caps kept their foot on the pedal in the opening minutes of the second half. Laba and Rosales played a neat give-and-goal exchange but Laba’s long-distance attempt sailed over the crossbar.
The match changed in the 56th minute when Waston was shown his second yellow card, this time for a tackle against a breaking Giles Barnes.
Laba would follow him not long after. A collision with Williams in the Vancouver attacking side resulted in a yellow card for the Argentinian, his second of the match. Laba received an earlier caution in the first half for a tackle at centre pitch.
As a result of the automatic red cards, both Waston and Laba will be suspended for the next Whitecaps FC match on September 9 versus Colorado Rapids. In addition, Laba will also miss the following MLS match against Seattle Sounders FC on September 19 for yellow card accumulation.
David Ousted did his part to stop the Dynamo attack against the undermanned Whitecaps FC backline, providing highlight-worthy saves versus Rodriguez and Nathan Sturgis. However, the two-man disadvantage would be difficult to overcome as Rodriguez punctuated the evening for the Dynamo with an 87th-minute insurance goal, heading in a cross from Brad Davis.
Despite the loss, it was still a successful month of August for Whitecaps FC overall. The ‘Caps, with 45 points, remain a point off the top of the MLS standings, second only to the LA Galaxy. Last Wednesday, the ‘Caps hoisted their first Voyageurs Cup after defeating Montreal Impact in the ACC Final.
Whitecaps FC will have a bye week after a grueling four-week schedule. The ‘Caps are back in action when they host Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, September 9 at BC Place.
The last time Whitecaps FC were reduced to nine men was back on April 6, 2011, a 1-1 draw against New England Revolution at Empire Field… Clark’s goal broke an eight-match streak in all competitions for Whitecaps FC wherein they scored the opening goal… Following tonight’s match, midfielder Russell Teibert and defender Sam Adekugbe leave for international duty as Canada plays in a two-leg series against Belize in the CONCACAF third round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifying. Mattocks is also set to join Jamaica as they get set to battle Nicaragua.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Mauro Rosales
Referee: Kevin Stott