Houston Dynamo FC were hoping to come back following a disastrous 6-0 defeat on the road to the Philadelphia Union as they continued their road trip, this time on the opposite coast as they headed north of the border to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. Even with a lead for the vast majority of the game, a late push by Vancouver resulted in the 2-1 loss for the Dynamo.
Early into the game the Dynamo did well to win the ball and transition it higher up the field, but the execution to hold up possession and create was lacking while Vancouver took possession back and pushed the ball into wide areas to find opportunities from crosses and the wings.
Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark, starting after coming off last week with an injured shoulder, punted a ball deep to Thorleifur Úlfarsson who promptly won a corner. After the Whitecaps struggled to clear the ball from danger, eventually it fell to Sam Junqua who floated a ball into the far corner that somehow Fafà Picault managed a touch on to get the game’s opening goal early on the road.
With the clock ticking on Houston seemed to control the rhythm of the game more with the visitors holding more possession, but both sides were very reliant on quick counters after regaining the ball. The Dynamo eventually would thoroughly dominant possession later, but the ‘Caps seemed more determined following the concession of a goal to the away side.
Vancouver appeared to have played their way back into the game after having a stretch of increased possession which allowed them to build up play and have a few chances to equalize. The Dynamo nearly doubled their lead though after some very good combination play. After advantage was played for a foul on Darwin Quintero, Quintero received the ball in a great position and played Picault in on goal. Picault took his shot near post forcing a brilliant save by Whitecaps’ goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
The visitors retook momentum employing a high press which helped them gain a 69% possession advantage. The midfield in particular did a good job of forcing Vancouver to play wide with the midfield led by Héctor Herrera winning the ball and helping to control the center of the park, The Whitecaps had some late first half chances, but the game would go into halftime with a 1-0 Dynamo lead.
Both sides came out aggressively to start the second half. Houston had some struggles with their passing as it appeared they were trying to play quickly to set up a second goal on the road, but the passing was too forced and Vancouver regained possession. Each side had some quality moments with Ryan Raposo expertly bringing a long cross down before crossing it. Houston had a great cross with Thor sending the ball in, but the overhead kick was swung and missed by Darwin Quintero on the other end of the field.
Following a giveaway by Zarek Valentin, the Whitecaps had a golden opportunity to equalize the game after some great combination play between Ryan Gauld and Ryan Raposo to set up Lucas Cavallini, but he pulled his shot wide. Not long after Thor nearly made it 2-0 for the Dynamo. He had the confidence to take a touch to cut inside across his defender, but his shot was somehow saved by Cropper to keep the game at 1-0.
With the game in the final stretches Dynamo Head Coach Paulo Nagamura adjusted his tactics to a more defensive posture to see the game out with the 1-0 lead. However, the move backfired as they conceded swaths of the midfield that weren’t there for the home side before allowing the Whitecaps to suddenly increase their possession and pressure which helped get them a late equalizer. Ali Ahmed found himself space inside the box to shoot, but his effort was deflected to the young Simon Becher who tied the game up.
However, Vancouver weren’t satisfied with a draw as they came back to steal the game at the death. A corner that wasn’t properly cleared set up Lucas Cavallini who had space and earned the game winner. Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark may have done better to make the save, but the increased pressure late was enough to put the game away for the home team.
After 90 minutes, Houston would fall again. It was a shame after a largely promising performance, but late tactical shifts, and likely some tired legs going coast to coast allowed Vancouver to recapture the game late.
The Dynamo will return to PNC Stadium next Saturday, August 13th to take on CF Montréal at 8:00 PM CT.
6’ HOU: Fafà Picault (assisted by Sam Junqua)
88’ VAN: Simon Becher
90’+2’ VAN: Lucas Cavallini (assisted by Ranko Veselinović)
53’ HOU: Héctor Herrera (yellow card)
78’ VAN: Lucas Cavallini (yellow card)
81’ VAN: Ryan Gauld (yellow card)
72’ Griffin Dorsey on, Darwin Quintero off
72’ Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla on, Sebastián Ferreira off
83’ Ethan Bartlow on, Thorleifur Úlfarsson off
83’ Zeca on, Zarek Valentin off
57’ Michael Baldisimo on, Leonard Owusu off
57’ Lucas Cavallini on, Pedro Vite off
69’ Ali Ahmed on, Russell Teibert off
69’ Jake Nerwinski on, Tristan Blackmon off
82’ Simon Becher on, Javain Brown off