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Houston Dynamo vs Vancouver Whitecaps: What to watch for

The Dynamo open a home stretch looking for their first goal and win of 2022.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo return home to PNC Stadium this weekend to welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to town. The Dynamo are coming off a 1-0 loss in Kansas City while Vancouver are on the heels of a 0-0 draw with New York City FC in their home opener last weekend. Both Houston and Vancouver have yet to find the back of the net in 2022. Can someone get score their first goal this season?

Rico returns

Club legend Ricardo Clark will be back on the sidelines in Houston. The former midfielder is now an assistant coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Clark ranks second in club history in apperances, starts, and minutes played. He joined the Whitecaps staff last season after previously serving as a coach in the Dynamo Academy for the U16 and U19 teams.

Defense staying strong

The Dynamo currently have the fourth best defense in Major League Soccer based on expected goals against (xGA). Houston has 0.50 xGA through the first two games according to data from Second Spectrum. Tim Parker and Daniel Steres have been solid in the center of defense and Adam Lundkvist has had a strong start to the season at left back. Right back has now seen three players get minutes in Griffin Dorsey, Zarek Valentin, and new arrival Zeca. Teenage Hadebe will be looking to crack the starting lineup soon, but regardless, whoever is on the back four along with Steve Clark will need to keep up the solid play to keep Houston in matches with a chance to win.

Points at PNC

This evening’s match begins a stretch for the Dynamo with four of their next five matches at home. If Houston is going to make a playoff run they are going to need to get maximum points at PNC Stadium, especially with their road woes over the last few years. Three of the four home matches in this stretch are against 2021 playoff teams. This run of games will serve as a benchmark for the 2022 Dynamo and perhaps propel them in to the middle of the season in good form (when Hector Herrera comes to town).

Availability report

Houston Dynamo - none listed

Vancouver Whitecaps - Out: Caio Alexandre (fitness/left foot), Erik Godoy (left foot), Brian White (calf)

Predicted lineup