VANCOUVER, BC - In the lone Major League Soccer match of the weekend, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-3L-4D) got off to a great start in the month of June with a 3-1 home win over Eastern Conference side Houston Dynamo (4W-4L-4D) on Sunday afternoon.
Darren Mattocks became the first Whitecaps FC player to score two goals in an MLS match this season, as the young Jamaican’s brace helped the Blue and White end a three-match winless run in MLS, and a five-match winless streak in all competitions, on Bell Pitch at BC Place. Though Dynamo substitute Macoumba Kandji pulled a goal back for Houston, the Texas club’s winless run on Canadian soil continued, as Jordan Harvey secured all three points for Vancouver with a late third goal. With Sunday’s victory, Whitecaps FC matched the total number of MLS wins that they achieved in all of their expansion season of 2011.
“We’re just happy to get the win,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “There were some great performances by some individuals today. We played well, we passed the ball well, and scoring three goals is always a great thing. We came up against a very strong team. Houston is a top team in MLS and they put us under a lot of pressure at the end of the first half and the start of the second half. One of the signs of improvement is we stood up to that and we came through in the end. I’m very pleased with how it went and it’s a great start for the month of June for us.”
Under an open BC Place roof, the 18,811 in attendance saw two sides use plenty of built-up energy in the first half following their extended breaks from league action. It was the home side that made the most of their spell of early pressure to take the lead on four minutes. With their first attack of the match, Young-Pyo Lee reached the Houston byline before playing an exquisite cross to a streaking Mattocks, who was the only change from the ‘Caps side that started the 1-1 draw at Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers on May 26. After eluding his marker, the young Jamaican steered the ball into the top corner of the net for the second MLS goal of his career and a 1-0 Vancouver lead.
The early goal gave the ‘Caps a boost and it reflected in the confidence of their passing and movement. Davide Chiumiento looked particularly in tune with his skill and trickery. Mattocks, meanwhile, went in search of his second goal near the midway point of the first half, but the highly-rated MLS SuperDraft pick saw two efforts sail high and wide of the target.
To their credit, the Dynamo offered as much to the first-half entertainment with good spells of pressure on their Canadian hosts. Brian Ching was presented with a fine chance to equalize off a poor Whitecaps FC clearance, but the Houston captain struck his shot wide of goal. On 41 minutes, ‘Caps goalkeeper Joe Cannon was at his shot-stopping best to deny Bobby Boswell after the Dynamo centre back got on the end of a Brad Davis cross. It meant Whitecaps FC took a one-goal lead into the halftime break.
The second half proved just as entertaining, with both sides keeping fans on the edge of their seats with plenty of attacking endeavor. The impressive Chiumiento rolled a shot across the face of Houston’s goal on 57 minutes, while Mattocks had several great sights at goal after the restart. Gershon Koffie also had his shooting boots on, with the Ghanaian youngster forcing Hall into an important save from his piledriver following a Chiumiento corner. At the other end, Houston’s Will Bruin had a pair of good chances to equalize for the visitors.
Whitecaps FC looked more assured with their possession and attack play after the break, and they were rewarded for their efforts with a splendidly-worked second goal on 66 minutes. Koffie took a pass from Jun Marques Davidson before finding the speedy Mattocks with a sublime through ball off the outside of his right foot. The Caribbean marksman strolled in and finished with aplomb for his second goal of the day and a 2-0 Vancouver lead.
Mattocks’ second goal created a festive mood around BC Place, but Houston kept pressing to find a breakthrough. It was two of the Dynamo’s substitutes that would spoil a ‘Caps clean sheet on 83 minutes, as Kandji struck home Brian Ownby’s cross from the right to make it 2-1.
While Houston’s reply made things a bit edgy for ‘Caps fans in the late stages, victory was sealed by the home side on 88 minutes. Koffie was the provider again with a cross from the right that struck Ownby in front of the Dynamo goal before falling kindly to Harvey. The defender/midfielder showed great composure to slot home his first Whitecaps FC goal and secure a 3-1 result for Whitecaps FC.
Vancouver will look to build on Sunday’s win when they host Western Conference rivals Colorado Rapids in the second game of their three-match home stand next Saturday afternoon. Having seen their four-match unbeaten streak come to an end in Vancouver, Houston return home to take on Texas rivals FC Dallas at their new BBVA Compass Stadium next Saturday.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Darren Mattocks
4’ - VAN – Darren Mattocks (Young-Pyo Lee, John Thorrington)
66’ - VAN – Darren Mattocks (Gershon Koffie)
83’ - HOU – Macoumba Kandji (Brian Ownby)
88’ - VAN – Jordan Harvey
Shots: Vancouver 15 – Houston 14
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 – Houston 4
Saves: Vancouver 3 - Houston 4
Fouls: Vancouver 8 – Houston 13
Offsides: Vancouver 1 – Houston 0
Corners: Vancouver 4 – Houston 5
68’ – VAN – Jun Marques Davidson
79’ – HOU – Brad Davis
86' – HOU – Calen Carr
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Joe Cannon; 12.Young-Pyo Lee, 15.Martin Bonjour, 6.Jay DeMerit, 4.Alain Rochat; 28.Gershon Koffie, 27.Jun Marques Davidson, 11.John Thorrington; 7.Sebastien Le Toux (13.Michael Nanchoff 90+1'), 22.Darren Mattocks (29.Eric Hassli 87'), 20.Davide Chiumiento (3.Jordan Harvey 78')
Substitutes not used: 18.Brad Knighton, 16.Matt Watson, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 37.Camilo Sanvezzo
1.Tally Hall; 5.Warren Creavalle, 32.Bobby Boswell, 6.Nathan Sturgis (22.Brian Ownby 78'), 26.Corey Ashe; 3.Calen Carr, 16.Adam Moffat, 17.Luiz Camargo (7.Colin Clark 71'), 11.Brad Davis; 25.Brian Ching (9.Macoumba Kandji 71'), 12.Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: 24.Tyler Deric, 14.Colin Rolfe, 15.Cam Weaver, 23.Oscar Recio