The Houston Dynamo aimed to find their form on the road in their 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. After going 0-1-2 on the road, the Dynamo struggled to defend against a determined Whitecaps side, but they were able to find some chances of their own.
The Dynamo were without their Captain and usual left back DaMarcus Beasley which shifted Andrew Wenger over to the left side of defense with Leonardo and Alejandro Fuenmayor in central defense and Adolfo Machado on the right.
Kei Kamara would get an early chance for the Vancouver Whitecaps early on as he was able to find space behind center back Fuenmayor, but his header following a cross went well over the top and out of danger. Not long after Kamara’s missed header, a poor pass by Fuenmayor, and equally poor shielding and trapping by Darwin Cerén, led to a counter by the Whitecaps. A nice through ball to Anthony Blondell saw him in on goal, but Andrew Wenger helped slow the run and Joe Willis was able to pounce on the ball at the top of the 18 yard box to keep the game level 0-0.
Darwin Cerén was injured on the play that led to Vancouver’s counter attack. He was taken off the field and returned briefly before being subbed off for Oscar Boniek García
About halfway through the first half it looked to be the Whitecaps in control as they kept taking advantage of poor passing by the Dynamo. The Whitecaps applied a lot of pressure which forced Houston into making hasty passes that often led to a turnover. Houston would get a chance in the 21st minute as Tomás Martínez found Andrew Wenger streaking down the left side and placed a perfect ball for the left back. Wenger one touched a pass into the box, but the run by Mauro Manotas was slow and ‘Caps goalkeeper Brian Rowe was quick to stop the danger.
Another poor turnover led to a chance for Blondell as the Whitecaps quickly transitioned a bad pass near their own defensive third into a shot at Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis. Despite getting his defender turned and the ball lined up, Blondell sent his shot well over Willis and the goal.
Alberth Elis would make a run down the right side of the field and cut in on goal in the 31st minute for Houston. Although the defense closed in, he was able to get something off, but it was smothered by Brian Rowe before any Dynamo player could make contact with it.
Despite Vancouver largely controlling the game, Houston would be the first to strike the back of the net as Alberth Elis got free on the right and squared a pass to Tomás Martínez. Martínez calmly took one touch and placed a nice ball in the lower left corner of the net to put the visitors up 1-0.
A foul by Leonardo positioned Vancouver for an equalizer. Kendall Waston was screaming for the free kick to be taken quickly to him and he was able to get passed Manotas and somehow send in a pass to José Aja. Aja put the ball in point blank from the corner of the six yard box that meets the end line and beat Joe Willis to tie the game up 1-1. The ball by Waston looked like it may have crossed the end line, but no VAR was used and the game went on.
Both teams would go into their locker rooms at halftime locked at 1-1. Vancouver had come out the better team and pressed Houston into turning the ball over, but after Houston got the opening goal they looked more comfortable going forward. They did not defend Waston well at all on the set piece as he caught the team napping and Aja somehow found the back of the net.
The second half got back to where the first left off with Vancouver pressuring high and getting some chances, but without getting the ball in the back of the net. The Dynamo looked comfortable going forward on the counter with Romell Quioto, Oscar Boniek García, Tomás Martínez, and Alberth Elis connecting well with each other.
Bernie Ibini-Isei wove through traffic and over a sliding Boniek as he was able to get a low curled shot on the Dynamo, but Joe Willis was quick to react and parried the ball away. The ball would eventually find its way to Kei Kamara who made a reckless challenge on Andrew Wenger earning the former Dynamo player a yellow card.
The Dynamo nearly took the lead again as some combination play found Alberth Elis with a chance. Elis did well to fake his defenders out to open up a shot, but the effort went right to the Whitecaps goalkeeper.
A perfect ball to Kendall Waston, who headed the ball towards goal, was met by a diving Joe Willis. Just a few minutes later Willis was at it again with the Whitecaps on the counter, but Willis was there to make a fantastic grab to stop the run inside the 18 yard box.
Not long later Felipe sent in a great ball towards Waston and Aja with Waston making contact with it and headed it into the crossbar, but Waston was called offside. The Dynamo were lucky again to not concede a goal again with Yordy Reyna making a run down our right side of the field. Reyna got loose and was looking for Kei Kamara, but Willis again was able to make the grab.
Romell Quioto tried to answer Vancouver’s chances with one of his own. He crossed in a ball looking for the head of Arturo Álvarez, but it was over hit and went out for a goal kick.
The Dynamo were bailed out twice again as the ball just didn’t want to go in for Vancouver. Yordy Reyna got free down the right side of the field and sent in a ball for Brek Shea to tap in, but his first touch betrayed him and Willis was able to make some contact on the ball and Leonardo cleared the ball out for a corner. On the following corner kick the ball again looked goal bound, but Alejandro Fuenmayor made a goal line clearance to stop waves of offense by the home team.
Once again as it was in the first half, despite a dominant Vancouver showing, the Dynamo were able to get a goal late. This time it was a poor turnover by the Whitecaps as Luis Gil and Álvarez combined well to get Álvarez free on the right. He launched a shot that was deflected, but it fell to Mauro Manotas. Manotas slotted the ball into the net which put the Dynamo up 2-1 at BC Place.
In the final minute of stoppage time an unlucky foul by Leonardo on Reyna helped get the home team an equalizer. Felipe sent a ball in which Kei Kamara headed on to Kendall Waston who put it in the back of the net. Despite some confusion about whether Kamara or Waston were offside, the goal stood and the final whistle blew shortly after.
The game ended 2-2 and while the final minutes took Dynamo fans in many directions emotionally, a draw was probably a fair result. After Martínez and Elis were subbed off Vancouver found a lot of room to counter and push the ball up to create chances. They could have scored many times, but they only got one late in the end and after we got one on them.
The Dynamo next play the Chicago Fire on the road Sunday May 20th at 3 PM CT.
35’ HOU: Tomás Martínez. Assisted By: Alberth Elis, Oscar Boniek García
44’ VAN: José Aja. Assisted By: Kendall Waston, Felipe
90’ HOU: Mauro Manotas
90’+4’ VAN: Kendall Waston. Assisted by Kei Kamara, Felipe
61’ VAN: Kei Kamara (yellow card)
64’ HOU: Oscar Boniek García (yellow card)
88’ HOU: Arturo Álvarez (yellow card)
90’ HOU: Tomás Martínez (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; Andrew Wenger, Leonardo, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Adolfo Machado; Darwin Cerén (14’ Oscar Boniek García), Tomás Martínez (71’ Luis Gil), Eric Alexander; Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, Alberth Elis (73’ Arturo Álvarez)
Vancouver Whitecaps (4-4-2): Brian Rowe, Marcel de Jong, José Aja, Kendall Waston, Sean Franklin; Alphonso Davies, Felipe, Aly Ghazal (66’ Efraín Juárez), Bernie Ibini-Isei (83’ Brek Shea); Kei Kamara, Anthony Blondell (69’ Yordy Reyna)