This victory wasn’t as high-flying or entertaining as previous Houston Dynamo home games, but it got the job done, as the Dynamo snuck by Vancouver 2-1 on Friday night to pick up their sixth home win and, for the moment, take first place in the Western Conference.
Alberth Elis grabbed the first goal in the 15th-minute on a Romell Quioto cross. The Dynamo relied much more on balls into the box against the scrappy Whitecaps, a team that is more willing to sit back and concede possession. This was one of the few that produced a legitimate scoring chance.
Elis limped off holding his hamstring in the 31st-minute, to be replaced by Erick Torres, who was benched in favor of Mauro Manotas from the beginning. Manotas would have to swing wide to replace Elis due to this early injury. Quioto had troubles with his right angle after multiple heavy challenges in the first half, but appeared healthy going into halftime.
The second half brought a number of golden chances for Manotas that went begging, allowing Vancouver to hang around long enough to threaten Houston, who could not afford dropped points at home to a lower-tier conference opponent. The Colombian was able to draw a (questionable) penalty in the 68th-minute, though, which Torres finished to bring his season tally to eight and take the league lead in goal-scoring.
With the score at 2-0, Vancouver pushed more numbers forward and mostly relied on their ability to draw set pieces from the foul-happy Dynamo. They eventually converted one in the 85th-minute courtesy of substitute attacker Brek Shea.
Despite the efforts of Vancouver’s 16-year old super-sub, Alphonso Davies, Shea’s goal was as far as the Caps would get to mounting a comeback, as the score finished 2-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Next up for Houston is a mid-week road game against the Philadelphia Union.