The Vancouver Whitecaps returned to BC Place and earned a come-from-behind 1-1 draw against the low-flying Houston Dynamo on Saturday. After dismissing their head coach Owen Coyle on Wednesday, the Texan team picked up their first road point of the season.
The Blue and White started the game positively by controlling and distributing the ball to the flanks creating chances early on. Captain Pedro Morales was close to opening the scoreboard at the 13th minute with a half-turn shot on goal that required a low-diving save by Tyler Deric in order to keep the ball out of his net.
It was the Houston Dynamo who drew blood first, after yet another defensive breakdown by the Whitecaps that allowed former US international DaMarcus Beasley to waltz into the box, calmly sidestep a lunging Tim Parker, and slot the ball away from a sprawling David Ousted.
And now, here’s three kicks:
1. Red cards
Things got hostile just before the half as Chilean maestro Pedro Morales and Houston midfielder Alex got tangled in a shoving match after a spirited battle for the ball. Referee Drew Fischer showed a shocking lack of game management skills in dealing with the situation and showed each player a red card.
“I think that red cards spoil games,” said a displeased Carl Robinson post-match. “They change the dynamic of the game and it did again today.”
However, Robinson argues that the red card served the purpose of galvanizing his team and improving their overall performance, especially in the second half.
“Pedro says that he didn’t touch [Alex] in the face. If he pushed him in the face, deservedly a red card, but if he didn’t push him in the face, then I am not sure.”
There was more contact in the House of Commons last week https://t.co/tCNOE4w3N9
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) May 28, 2016
2. The Rivero renaissance?
With his second goal of the season in as many starts, Octavio Rivero continues to show signs that he is ready to start turning his season around.
The Uruguayan also earned the penalty kick that gave his team their second goal last weekend in his substitute appearance against Portland. Granted, it was a losing cause but the point is that the Designated Player has directly contributed to goals by the Blue and White in back to back games.
“It was a good finish by him,” said Robinson, pleased with his striker’s play. “More important than the goal, it was his performance. I thought he was excellent. He held the ball, he was a problem for their central backs who are good players. He was a platform for our team to build from. I put him in the team because he trained well. He has been putting a number of balls in the back of the net in training and doing extra work because he wants to get better, and that showed in his performance today.”
3. Jordan Smith
Few players have received more criticism this season than Jordan Smith.
After a nightmare match at Sporting Kansas City that saw him sent off before halftime, the imposing Tico has seen only a couple of appearances. Robinson introduced Smith back into the lineup and the Costa Rican responded with what has perhaps been his best game as a Whitecap.
— Shoe Thief (@StuckontheSofa) May 29, 2016
“I thought he was very strong in his performance,” his coach said after the match. “Jordan has not played as many times as he probably would like due to Fraser Aird coming in and settling in very well but when you have an opportunity you have to take it and he certainly took it today. He was very positive, especially in the second half. He was quite brave in his decisions and he put a number of good balls in the box.”
The Whitecaps can see this game as two points lost or one point earned. What they hope is that come October they don’t look back to this game and identify it as one that could have made a key difference in the standings.
For now, the Whitecaps head out to Ottawa to face the Fury on Wednesday night in the first leg of the Canadian Championship semifinal as they enter a three-week hiatus from MLS action due to the Copa America Centenario.
Man of the Match: Octavio Rivero
Referee: Drew Fischer
20’ – HOU – DaMarcus Beasley (Alex, Boniek Garcia)
52’ – VAN – Octavio Rivero
Possession: Vancouver 56.3 % – Houston 43.7 %
Shots: Vancouver 14 – Houston 8
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 – Houston 2
Saves: Vancouver 1 – Houston 6
Fouls: Vancouver 18 – Houston 14
Offsides: Vancouver 0 – Houston 0
Corners: Vancouver 7 – Houston 3
22’ – VAN – Jordan Smith
40’ – VAN – Russell Teibert
51’ – HOU – Boniek Garcia
67’ – VAN – Matias Laba
69’ – HOU – Andrew Wenger
42’ – HOU – Alex
42’ – VAN – Pedro Morales
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 6.Jordan Smith, 17.Andrew Jacobson, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 13.Cristian Techera (19.Erik Hurtado 79’), 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert (38.Kianz Froese 90’), 77.Pedro Morales ©; 23.Kekuta Manneh (11.Nicolás Mezquida 90’); 29.Octavio Rivero
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 14.Cole Seiler, 32.Marco Bustos
1.Tyler Deric; 22.Sheanon Williams, 18.David Horst, 5.Raul Rodriguez, 7.DaMarcus Beasley ©; 11.Andrew Wenger, 13.Ricardo Clark, 26.Collen Warner, 27.Boniek Garcia (33.Lionel Miranda 73’), 14.Alex; 12.Will Bruin (19.Mauro Manotas 61’)
Substitutes not used
31.Joe Willis, 2.Jalil Anibaba, 4.Agus, 6.David Rocha, 8.Cristian Maidana