CHARLESTON, SC - A first-half goal from Corey Hertzog gave Vancouver Whitecaps FC the lead, however a pair of second-half strikes from Houston Dynamo in quick succession saw the 'Caps fall 2-1 in their first defeat of preseason.
Head coach Martin Rennie dressed a young squad for Wednesday’s tilt, with many players given the opportunity to prove they belong on the first team squad come opening day next Saturday, March 2. The Blue and White played as a strong cohesive unit for the first half, but the young ‘Caps were unable to rebound from seeing the tables during a two-minute span in the second half.
Overall, Rennie was pleased by the performance despite the defeat.
"Overall, I was very encouraged about the match," remarked Rennie. "For most of the match we were doing well. We were in the lead up until the end. Obviously, we're disapointed we lost as close as we did given that we hardly gave up any chances throughout the match."
Ten minutes in, Dynamo striker Cam Weaver had a great chance in close to give Houston the lead, but ‘Caps goalkeeper Brad Knighton was there to make the save.
Minutes later, Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell made a cross over to midfielder Giles Barnes, who shot wide and missed another opportunity for the Dynamo to open the scoring.
The ‘Caps had their first solid chance to go ahead in the 17th minute when midfielder Russell Teibert hit the post on a left-footed shot from the top of the box. A few minutes later, it was Camilo with the chance to give the ‘Caps the lead with a long run down the right side of the field and a shot that fell wide.
Whitecaps FC kept pressing and finally went up 1-0 on 27 minutes when striker Corey Hertzog intercepted a poor back pass and slid it home past goalkeeper Tally Hall. The play was eerily reminiscent of Hertzog's first goal of preseason at the start of the month when he also picked off a backwards pass and scored against this same Houston team.
Early in the second half, Alex Dixon nearly leveled the match, but his shot went just wide and the match remained 1-0 in favour of Whitecaps FC.
The ‘Caps and Dynamo each had chances midway through the half, but neither team was able to capitalize. Later in the match, Whitecaps FC were given four consecutive corner kicks but were again unable to convert the opportunities.
With 15 minutes to go, fortunes changed for Rennie's side. In the 75th minute, Dynamo midfielder Brian Ching found striker Will Bruin for an equalizer, leaving the match at 1-1. Barely two minutes later, the men in Orange took the lead with an Adam Moffat bomb from 40-plus yards out.
Despite a frantic final ten minutes, the match ended with a score of 2-1 in favour of Houston.
Whitecaps FC will look to rebound against Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon in their final match of preseason. Should the 'Caps come out victorious, they will give themselves a chance to claim their first Carolina Challenge Cup trophy.
Following Saturday's match, Whitecaps FC will return to Vancouver to prepare for their MLS season opener next Saturday, March 2, at BC Place against Canadian rivals Toronto FC. Tickets remain available but fans are encouraged to act now to ensure their place at the match. For tickets to the home opener, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
27' - VAN - Corey Hertzog
75' - HOU - Will Bruin (Brad Davis)
77' - HOU - Adam Moffat (Brian Ching)
55' - HOU - Anthony Arena
79' - HOU - Jimmy Nealis
89' - VAN - Tommy Heinemann
89' - VAN - Carlyle Mitchell
1.Tally Hall; 8.Kofi Sarkodie (Anthony Arena 45), 32.Bobby Boswell (Mike Chabala 45), 4.Jermaine Taylor (Eric Brunner 45), 26.Corey Ashe (Jimmy Nealis 45); 27.Boniek Garcia (Brian Ownby 45), 5.Warren Creavalle (Adam Moffat 74), 23.Giles Barnes (Luiz Camargo 45), 19.Alex Dixon (Brad Davis 74); 14.Jason Johnson (Will Bruin 74), 15.Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 45)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Brad Knighton; 43.Ethen Sampson, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 33.Adam Clement, 32.Greg Klazura; 16.Erik Hurtado (8.Matt Watson 45), 27.Jun Marques Davidson (35.Crispin Olando 80), 31.Russell Teibert, 22.Paulo Jr. (37.Emmanuel Adjetey 80); 7.Camilo Sanvezzo (29.Tommy Heinemann 77), 26.Corey Hertzog (42.Dever Orgill 71)