Playing three matches in eight days isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. Add in injuries and suspensions, and the schedule finally caught up to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
After two exhausting efforts in their past two matches – a three-goal comeback against Sporting Kansas City and a nine-man draw against New England Revolution, the ‘Caps simply didn't have the energy to get a result. They ended up dropping a 3-1 decision in Houston to the Dynamo.
“I thought we did well in the first half,” said head coach Teitur Thordarson. “The second half, we struggled for a little bit. I think three games in a week have been very hard, and they have all been tough for us. There is nothing wrong with the fighting spirit of the group, but obviously, we ran out of gas.”
The visitor’s line-up was further decimated late in the first half. The ‘Caps went down a goal in the 37th minute but quickly responded with one of their own from Camilo, knotting the score at 1-1. Minutes later, though, Jay DeMerit aggravated his groin, making him slow to react on a cross and keeping onrushing Bobby Boswell onside for an easy finish to take a 2-1 lead into the break.
DeMerit came off at halftime.
“I felt like with all the changes, we still worked hard and gave a good effort,” said goalkeeper Jay Nolly. “We just couldn’t break through.”
Without Hassli up top to keep possession, Vancouver couldn’t muster much in the second half as fatigue set in, leading to the third insurance goal for Houston to put the game out of reach.
The third new face was Omar Salgado, the first overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. His inaugural appearance for the ‘Caps was brief, as he came on in the 84th minute. The native of El Paso, Texas, saw his first minutes in front of a number of family and friends in his home state.
“I think Omar did well when he came on,” said Thordarson. “He didn’t have too many goal situations, but he gets into the team and works very hard.”