The Houston Dynamo will make their way to BC Place in Vancouver, BC. The last time these two sides met they fought to a 2-1 win in Houston earlier this year. The Dynamo currently sit on a six game unbeaten run with three of those coming on the road, but they’ve never been able to capture a win in Vancouver which will make this a difficult test for a hot team.
In our preview of the match we discussed the importance Alex returning and Alberth Elis missing out, but we wanted to know about our opponents so we spoke with Andrew Bahl at Eighty Six Forever to discuss the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Dynamo Theory: Last year the Vancouver Whitecaps failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs after two straight appearances. What has the club done to push them into the playoff conversation? If they haven’t done enough, what does the club need to become more than a mid-table side?
Eighty Six Forever: The biggest struggles for the Whitecaps always seems to be finishing chances and scoring goals. That’s why the signing of striker Fredy Montero was a big deal for us in the offseason. It was a sign, after a couple failed DP strikers, that the front office was ready to commit to a big name forward with MLS experience. Now, it has not been a perfect season for Fredy and he’s endured some long goal-scoring droughts. But in my mind this team will go as far as its forwards allow it to. We’ve gotten an unsustainable amount of goals from our center midfield and defense, which probably won’t continue. Montero, as well as guys like Yordy Reyna and Brek Shea, will need to step up offensively if the Whitecaps want to capitalize on their strong start and make the playoffs.
DT: The Whitecaps’ defense is among the best in the Western Conference in terms of goals conceded. How can the Dynamo hope to break this team down?
Eighty Six Forever: After an uncharacteristically disastrous year in defense last year, the Whitecaps have nicely settled down and both Tim Parker and Kendall Waston are more and more resembling the pairing that anchored the Caps a couple seasons ago. Parker in particular has improved and is developing into a top-tier MLS defender. Yet he is still prone to getting caught ball watching and probably the best way to beat the Caps is off of crosses and long balls into the box. Tony Tchani and Andrew Jacobson make it tough to play through the center of the park and force teams to play out wide. I’m still worried about the ability of a Alberth Ellis to latch onto a cross and I think that’s probably the most effective way to beat Parker and Waston.
[Note: Elis will be unavailable, but Quioto can do that just the same]
DT: Who are some Vancouver players that Dynamo fans should keep an eye on throughout the match?
Eighty Six Forever: Manager Carl Robinson will probably use this match as a chance to rotate a bit ahead of a big rivalry game against Seattle Sounders on Wednesday. Therefore it’s a little tough to predict the starting XI. I would guess we’ll see rookie right back Jake Nerwinski starting, however, and he’s one to watch. I don’t think many Caps fans thought he was going to look this comfortable getting significant MLS minutes but he has really shone when he’s gotten a run out so far this season. He is a very intelligent player with good passing and will be a nice piece that Houston fans will probably see for years to come. I also am a big fan of Yordy Reyna, a Peruvian international in his first year with the club. His flair and dribbling makes him a treat to watch and he has added some much needed energy to the Vancouver attack. The attacking midfielder has a chance to become a real fan favorite for the Whitecaps.
Projected Lineup: GK: Stefan Marinovic—Marcel de Jong, Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, Jake Nerwinski—Andrew Jacobson—Cristian Techera, Tony Tchani, Alphonso Davies, Christian Bolanos—Fredy Montero
Predicted Outcome: 1-1 draw
For my answers to Andrew’s excellent questions check them out at Eighty Six Forever!