TUCSON, AZ – Make it three for three.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Tuesday night to conclude their Tucson training camp with a perfect 3W-0L-0D record.
After picking up an assist in his preseason debut on Saturday, Whitecaps FC Residency graduate Marco Bustos scored the eventual winner in the 98th minute and the ‘Caps added insurance just before the final whistle after a Fraser Aird cross led to a Dynamo own goal.
It was another encouraging performance from the Blue and White, who hit a post and three crossbars over the 120 minutes – the match was divided into four, 30-minute quarters.
For the first two quarters, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson started a lineup consisting of David Ousted in goal, Jordan Smith, Kendall Waston, Christian Dean, and Sam Adekugbe on the back line, and Matias Laba and Russell Teibert in midfield.
Nicolas Mezquida, Blas Perez, Cristian Techera and Masato Kudo formed the attacking four, with the Uruguayans on the wings and Perez playing underneath Kudo.
Neither side managed to find the back of the net in the opening hour, but it wasn’t for a lack of chances.
Houston threatened a bit early, forcing Ousted into a third-minute save off a Raul Rodriguez header. Waston also came up big in the early going with a well-timed sliding block and a few clearances.
For the most part, however, the ‘Caps were on the attack.
Robinson’s side hit the woodwork twice in the first two quarters, including in the 13th minute when Kudo hit the post from close range after some nice work from Techera and Perez. The latter two were involved again in the 43rd minute.
This time, Perez played the ball out wide to Techera, who fired a deflected strike from the top of the box that Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric tipped off the crossbar.
The ‘Caps had a few more chances in the second quarter, but the score remained level heading into the third quarter – at which point both teams made wholesale changes. Notably, newcomer Christian Bolaños, captain Pedro Morales, and defender Tim Parker all drew into the Whitecaps FC lineup to make their first appearances of the preseason.
Houston’s Erik Torres had a few half-chances in the early stages of the third quarter, but the ‘Caps once again looked the more likely side to score. And they nearly did in the 73rd minute, when Aird made a fantastic run down the right before missing just wide from the top of the box.
Then, in the 83rd minute, Morales nearly scored a wonder goal after catching Deric off his line and hitting the crossbar on a 40-yard strike.
It looked like it was going to be one of those nights for Vancouver.
But then in the 98th minute, Aird and 15-year-old Whitecaps FC Residency forward Alphonso Davies forced a turnover in midfield, which led to a 'Caps counter. Davies eventually slipped in a little throughball to Bustos, who opened the scoring with a tidy finish from inside the box.
After a few more quality chances from Octavio Rivero, 2016 MLS SuperDraft pick Thomas Sanner, and Bustos, who hit Vancouver’s third crossbar of the night, the ‘Caps doubled their lead just before the final whistle after an Aird cross was deflected into the goal by Dynamo defender Sebastien Ibeagha.
Tuesday’s match concludes Whitecaps FC’s 10-day training camp in Tucson. The ‘Caps return to Vancouver on Wednesday for a week of training before heading to Portland for the annual Simple Invitational from February 19 to 27. The ‘Caps open the 2016 MLS regular season on March 6 against Montreal Impact (2:30 p.m. PT at BC Place).
98’ - VAN - Marco Bustos (Alphonso Davies)
118’ - VAN - Sebastien Ibeagha (own goal)
6’ - HOU - Andrew Wenger
33’ - HOU - Sheanon Williams
76’ - HOU - Rasheed Olabiyi
94’ -VAN - Kianz Froese
96' - VAN - Marco Bustos
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
First 60’: 1.David Ousted; 6.Jordan Smith, 4.Kendall Waston, 22.Christian Dean, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert; 9.Nicolás Mezquida, 35.Blas Pérez* (38.Kianz Froese 46'), 13.Cristian Techera; 36.Masato Kudo
Second 60’: 24.Marco Carducci; 8.Fraser Aird, 14.Cole Seiler, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 20.Deybi Flores, 38.Kianz Froese; 7.Christian Bolaños (67.Alfonso Davies^ 90'), 77.Pedro Morales (32.Marco Bustos 90'), 23.Kekuta Manneh (27.Christopher Hellmann* 106’); 29.Octavio Rivero (33.Thomas Sanner* 106’)
^ WFC 2 or WFC Residency player
* Unsigned draft selection or preseason guest player
First 60’: 1.Tyler Deric; 22.Sheanon Williams, 18.David Horst, 5. Raul Rodriguez, 7.DaMarcus Beasley; 11.Andrew Wenger, 14.Alex Lima, 27.Boniek Garcia, 4.Leonel Miranda; 10.Giles Barnes, 12.Will Bruin
Second 60’: 1.Tyler Deric (24.Calle Brown 90'); 30.Bradley Bourgeois (23.Taylor Hunter 104'), 2.Jalil Anibaba, 34.Sebastien Ibeagha, 26.Ivan Magalhaes; 28.Memo Rodriguez, 20.Rasheed Olabiyi (55.Dzenan Vatic 104'), 21.Zach Steinberger, 32.TJ Casner (29.Christian Lucatero^ 104'); 19.Mauro Manotas, 9.Erick Torres (35.Charly Flores 115’)
^ Rio Grand Valley player
* Unsigned draft selection or preseason guest player
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