Vancouver Whitecaps FC find themselves in a quick turnaround for Tuesday evening’s match against Houston Dynamo, with less than 72 hours to reset following Saturday’s win over LA Galaxy.
Houston on the other hand will be heading into Tuesday’s match after having 10 days off. Head coach Marc Dos Santos noted the pros and cons of the difference in game preparation time between the two clubs.
“We maybe have rhythm in us [following Saturday’s win] that they don’t have, and maybe they’re a little fresher in some areas that we’re not,” he said during Monday’s media availability.
The ‘Caps will be looking to start their first win streak of the season, but playing their second of three games in just eight days, the club is well aware of the challenges ahead.
“It’s a quick turnaround so recovery for us is important to focus on for [the game against] Houston,” said goalkeeper Thomas Hasal.
On Saturday, Hasal was in goal for the second time this season as Maxime Crépeau remains fulfilling national duties for team Canada in the Concacaf Gold Cup.
“The three points for us last game were important, it’s been a rough patch for the team but now getting this win was important for us in the standings,” he said.
“We realize what we did well and what led us to success. I think that’s the most important thing for us leading into Houston now; looking at that, seeing what we can take away from it, seeing what we can build upon.”
The ‘Caps last faced Houston back on May 22 at BBVA Compass Stadium, where they lost 2-1. Hasal discussed the team’s approach to come out of Tuesday’s match with three points.
“We know Houston is a team that likes to play on transition. We want to keep the ball [and] we want to press them,” he said.
“There’s specific players [and] specific plays that we looked at from the last time we played Houston, and then more recent games that we want to make sure we’re ready for.”
Both Dos Santos and Hasal also emphasized the team’s need for more consistent first half efforts.
“Our last four games, our run is positive. The problem is prior to that, we had five losses in a row,” said MDS. “When you’re in that kind of environment, there’s this fear of losing. Maybe we came in, in the first halves of the game with a fear of losing, but it’s not consistent.”
Unsurprisingly, ensuring the team does not give up the first goal is what’s on the goalkeeper’s mind.
“We don’t want to concede early to start the game, and we’re looking to come into [the game versus] Houston being focused on the first minute,” said Hasal.
With the ‘Caps and Houston both currently sitting under the seven-spot cut off in the Western Conference standings, Dos Santos highlights that both teams will be bringing their best efforts for Tuesday’s match.
“Things could change extremely fast in MLS. With two, three wins, things change,” he said.
“We expect a very difficult game, a game where teams are going to try not to do a lot of mistakes [and] are going to try to be as organized and compact as possible. It’s going to be a game where the team that wants to be the closest to that seventh spot is going to be the team that’s going to win the game.”
Tune in to Vancouver Whitecaps FC versus Houston Dynamo FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday, July 20 at 7 p.m. on TSN 1/4 (pregame at 6:30 p.m.) and AM730 (pregame at 6 p.m.). All times in PT.