HOUSTON, TX - A first half goal from Darren Mattocks was not enough on Saturday as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-1L-0D) fell to a 2-1 defeat against Houston Dynamo (2W-1L-0D) at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Highlights: Houston Dynamo 2 - 1 Whitecaps FC
Mattocks opened the scoring with a superb strike, but Houston rallied back in the second half with two goals in quick succession to wrap-up the win and hand the 'Caps their first defeat of the season.
With striker Kenny Miller away on international duty with Scotland, head coach Martin Rennie handed the captain’s armband to midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. Miller’s place in the starting lineup went to rookie winger Erik Hurtado, making his first professional start for Whitecaps FC.
Three minutes into the match there was a hairy moment for Whitecaps FC as goalkeeper Joe Cannon tried to shepherd the ball out of play, but he was robbed by Andrew Driver. The ball then fell for Young-Pyo Lee to clear but the Korean fullback could only hit the ball against the referee as it dropped kindly for Houston’s Adam Moffat whose first time effort was well off target with the goal unattended.
Houston continued to press with a series of corners and close-range opportunities, but on each occasion they were turned away by the 'Caps.
After a good spell of possession, Whitecaps FC took the lead on 36 minutes as Hurtado split the Houston defence with a pass to Mattocks. The Jamaican striker rolled the defender before launching an unstoppable strike from the edge of the area high past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
The home team came back with a huge chance on 42 minutes as Driver took the ball into the Vancouver area. The Dynamo winger then found Will Bruin, who in turn laid the ball off to a wide open Warren Creavalle, but Creavalle skied the ball over the net as the 'Caps went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes after halftime, a deep cross from Lee was narrowly missed by the head of Hurtado as the ball eventually fell for Mattocks. The goalscorer kept his composure and tried a deft chip into the top right corner, but Hall hustled into position to catch the ball.
On 53 minutes, a Houston free kick was picked up by Daigo Kobayashi who found Mattocks breaking away. With Hurtado in support, Mattocks ran the length of the pitch before cutting inside to find himself with a shot on net, but the Jamaican's low strike was kept out by Hall.
Three minutes later the Dynamo leveled the score as some good work down the right flank created space for Clark who delivered a dangerous cross into the six-yard box which was headed in by Giles Barnes to even the score at 1-1.
Seven minutes later the home side had another. The 'Caps were unable to clear a corner kick sent in by Adam Moffat, allowing Creavalle to tap it in from close range on 62 minutes.
With 15 minutes remaining, the ‘Caps almost had an equalizer. A quickly taken free kick from Reo-Coker found Alain Rochat storming into the Dynamo area. The left back then cut the ball back, but no one was on the other end as the ball was picked off by Houston and cleared.
Vancouver continued to search for a leveler and on 77 minutes Rochat found Mattocks racing down the left flank but the Jamaican's one-time effort was struck narrowly wide.
On 82 minutes Whitecaps FC earned themselves a free kick when substitute Camilo was upended by Brunner 25 yards from net. The Brazilian took the free kick himself and hit a sweet strike that agonizingly hit the crossbar and far post before being cleared to safety.
Despite the late pressure from Vancouver, the Dynamo defence stood firm as the Orange held on for the 2-1 win, handing Vancouver their first defeat of the season and saw their home unbeaten streak improve to 33 matches in all competitions.
After the match Rennie saw the positives in his team's performance despite the final result.
Whitecaps FC return to action next Saturday when they travel to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. PT.
36' - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado)
55' - HOU - Giles Barnes (Ricardo Clark)
62' - HOU - Warren Creavalle (Adam Moffat)
Shots: Houston 17 - Vancouver 10
Shots on Goal: Houston 4 - Vancouver 6
Saves: Houston 5 - Vancouver 2
Fouls: Houston 14 - Vancouver 4
Offsides: Houston 0 - Vancouver 2
Corners: Houston 11 - Vancouver 2
52' - VAN - Nigel Reo-Coker
61' - HOU - Adam Moffat
1.Tally Hall; 8.Kofi Sarkodie, 32.Bobby Boswell, 2.Eric Brunner, 26.Corey Ashe; 5.Warren Creavalle (7.Omar Cummings 90'), 16.Adam Moffat, 13.Ricardo Clark, 20.Andrew Driver; 23.Giles Barnes (17.Luiz Camargo 81'), 12.Will Bruin (15.Cam Weaver 79')
Substitutes not used:
24.Tyler Deric, 6.Mike Chabala, 19.Alex Dixon, 25.Brian Ching
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 3.Brad Rusin, 40.Andy O'Brien (26.Corey Hertzog 90'+1), 4.Alain Rochat; 13.Nigel Reo-Coker ©, 27.Jun Marques Davidson; 19.Eric Hurtado (7.Camilo Sanvezzo 71'), 28.Gershon Koffie (23.Kekuta Manneh 79'), 14.Daigo Kobayashi; 11.Darren Mattocks
Substitutes not used:
18.Brad Knighton, 2.Jordan Harvey, 8.Matt Watson, 31.Russell Teibert