Shorthanded 'Caps host Houston on Saturday in final match before Copa break

VANCOUVER, BC – It’s been a memorable month of May for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

And they’re looking to close it out in style.

The ‘Caps (6W-6L-2D) return to BC Place on Saturday to host Houston Dynamo (3W-7L-2D) in their final MLS match before the league’s two-week break for the Copa América Centenario.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the match.

PRE-MATCH
INTERVIEWS:
 

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

The ‘Caps are 3W-1L-0D in the month of May thus far.

They opened the month with three straight wins over Portland Timbers, Chicago Fire, and Toronto FC, before falling 4-2 to the Timbers last weekend at Providence Park. Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson spoke this week about the importance of eliminating key “individual errors” after “gifting” the Timbers with all four of their goals.  

“We’ve conceded 24 goals in 14 games," Robinson told reporters. "If you actually look at individual errors, [there are] far, far too many, so we need to cut them out. If we cut them out, then we’ve got half a chance.”

At the other end of the pitch, the ‘Caps are now the third highest scoring team in MLS with 22 goals in 14 matches. They're also undefeated in six straight matches at BC Place. 

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Dynamo enter Saturday’s contest at the bottom of the Western Conference table with a 3W-7L-2D record. Most of their struggles have come on the road, where they are 0W-6L-0D.

Most recently, Houston fell 1-0 to Chicago Fire last weekend in Illinois.

Also of note, the Dynamo and now former head coach Owen Coyle agreed to part ways on Wednesday, so it will be interesting to see how the team responds come Saturday. 

"You don’t know what’s going to happen," said Whitecaps FC midfielder Andrew Jacobson. "You don’t know how they’re going to show up, how those players are going to deal with it. I think you prepare for them to come out flying with really not a lot to lose at this point. So it’s very dangerous. I get the feeling they’re going to be very motivated."

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES

The ‘Caps will be without three key pieces on Saturday with centre back Kendall Waston, midfielder Christian Bolaños, and striker Blas Pérez having joined their national teams ahead of the Copa América Centenario.

"There’s no point crying over spilled milk," Robinson said. "Players that aren’t here. It just sounds like a broken record. We’re missing players, but it is what is. Every team goes through it. We’ll just deal with it. I’ve built a squad here for a reason and one of those reasons is Saturday’s game."

Houston will also be missing an important piece in Jamaican midfielder Giles Barnes, who leads the team with four goals and two assists.

KEY MATCHUPS

Tim Parker (CB) vs. Will Bruin (F): Bruin leads the line for Houston – and he does it quite well. His work rate and hold-up play makes him a handful for opposing defenders, and he also has three goals and two assists. Expect Bruin and Parker to see a lot of each other. Parker is tied for the league-lead with 72 clearances.

Kekuta Manneh (LW/F) vs. Sheanon Williams (RB): Manneh has been on a tear as of late, recording three goals and two assists in his last three matches. Can he keep things going against the Dynamo?

Pedro Morales (M) vs. Ricardo Clark (M): It’s also been a big month for Morales, who has two goals and two assists in his last three matches. The ‘Caps captain has been playing as a box-to-box midfielder as of late – the same role Clark plays for Houston.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This will be the second of three meetings between Vancouver and Houston this season.

The ‘Caps won the first one 1-0 on March 26 at BC Place thanks to a 23rd-minute Morales PK. Coincidentally, the ‘Caps were shorthanded for that encounter too with Waston and Parker both away on international duty.

Vancouver’s all-time record against Houston is 5W-3L-0D – the home team has won every game. Surely, the ‘Caps will be hoping that trend continues on Saturday.

MILESTONE MATCH

Goalkeeper David Ousted will make his 100th appearance in a Whitecaps FC uniform, including the playoffs and Amway Canadian Championship, in Saturday's match. 

NEXT UP

Following Saturday’s match, Whitecaps FC don’t return to MLS action until June 18 vs. New England Revolution as the league breaks for the upcoming Copa América Centenario.

However, the ‘Caps are set to kick off their defence of the Voyageurs Cup with a pair of matches vs. Ottawa Fury FC in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal. The first leg will be played on Wednesday, June 1 in Ottawa (4:30 p.m. PT on TSN1), before the series shifts to BC Place for the second leg on Wednesday, June 8 (7 p.m. PT – tickets still available). 

Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.