Houston entered the match #1, more or less, in MLS. With two shutout wins against Eastern Conference foes, the Houston Dynamo looked primed for more success heading into the match with Vancouver. The Whitecaps, similarly, entered this match undefeated after three.
Houston started the match on the front foot, with Giles Barnes the catalyst early on. His first touch nearly led to a goal in the opening sequence, and an early header forced a fine save from Ousted. The Canadians, on the other hand, seemed comfortable attacking on the counter, with the speedy Mattocks and Miller leading the attack.
Despite the early possession, Houston managed only one shot on goal in the opening period.
This lack of decisiveness was punished by the Whitecaps. After a set-piece situation, a long cross was headed back across the goal for the streaking Harvey, who stabbed the ball past a stranded Tally Hall. The main culprit, if there was any, was Will Bruin who lost Harvey as he made his run into the box.
Will, it turns out, is not a good defender.
The rest of the first half was notable only for a small amount of controversy. A cross into the box seemed destined for Brad Davis, only for Teiber to bring him down in the box. No foul was called, and five minutes of all of our lives was wasted as Tieber writhed on the ground in faux-agony.
Sidenote: Vancouver has the worst hair in MLS. Hands down.
The second half was a story of missed opportunities and frustrating Vancouver possession. Despite early pressure yet again, the Dynamo could offer little moving forward. And like a carbon-copy of the first half, the Whitecaps took advantage. A counter attack resulted in a showdown between Mattocks and Sarkodie. The Jamaican cut back and forth, leaving Kofi sprawling to the ground as the ball met his outstretched arm.
Kenny Miller didn't make a mistake (twice, after a penalty for early entry), and the score was 2-0 early in the second half. It remained that way for 20 frustrating minutes. Dynamo attacks were all bark and no bite, and Vancouver was comfortable wasting time.
That is, until a set-piece came Houston's way. Brad Davis sent a 40-yard cross into the box. Rico met it and, as smooth as Suave, nodded it into the bottom corner. 2-1, and a glimmer of hope for the Dynamo.
Ownby, Sherrod, and Cummings were brought on later in the match in search of an equalizer. Despite their inclusion, little more attacking pressure was placed on the Vancouver goal.
The last 20 minutes of the match were filled with frustration and complacency by Houston. Despite being down 2-1, Houston seemed comfortable watching Vancouver play. And, as every long speculative ball into the attacking third met a Whitecaps player, Houston showed little ingenuity changing their attacking plan.
The match ended 2-1 in favor of Vancouver, with Houston suffering their first loss of the 2014 campaign. In total, some promising moments were seen, as Houston once again hit gold with a set piece. However, with substitutions adding little to the match, and Andrew Driver showing how inconsistent he can be, there is much to improve on next week against FC Frisco.