HOUSTON, TX – The Texas slump is over.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-8L-6D) picked up their first-ever point in the Lone Star State on a scorching hot Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, earning a scoreless draw with Houston Dynamo (4W-9L-7D).
Budweiser Man of the Match David Ousted made four saves on the night, including a pair of fantastic reaction stops late in each half, to help the ‘Caps keep the clean sheet and extend their unbeaten streak to four matches.
Previously, Whitecaps FC had lost all 10 of their visits to Houston and FC Dallas.
In the build-up to Saturday’s match, the ‘Caps spoke about the importance of keeping the ball – rather than chasing it – to help combat the Texas heat. It felt like 38 degrees Celsius at kickoff, forcing a pair of hydration breaks. So you can understand why that was a focus.
For the most part, the ‘Caps executed their game plan well – particularly in the first 45 minutes.
They controlled 57 per cent of possession in the first half and showed some promise in the attacking third. Nicolas Mezquida and Masato Kudo combined well once again, Christian Bolaños looked lively down the right flank, and Pedro Morales saw a lot of the ball and distributed it well, completing the most passes of any player on either team from his left wing position.
Cole Seiler, making his MLS debut at right back, also whipped in a few good balls.
The ‘Caps defended well, too – centre back Kendall Waston, who is headed to the MLS All-Star Game, finished the match with a game-high 13 clearances – but Houston still had their chances.
Their best ones came off the foot of Will Bruin at the end of the half. First, he curled a low strike from the top of the box, forcing a diving save from Ousted. Then, Bruin did well to get on the end of an Alex cross, but Ousted came up big again – this time with a fantastic reaction save.
Houston kept coming after the break and nearly opened the scoring in the 71st minute.
After a Bruin dummy, Boniek Garcia fired a lovely left-footed strike from the top of the box that rattled off the far post. Then, in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, Ousted heroically denied a David Horst header to keep the score level.
The ‘Caps didn’t create much in the second half, but they too came close to scoring a late winner as substitute Erik Hurtado tucked one in past Joe Willis after controlling a long ball from Morales. However, the goal was called back due to what was deemed to be a Hurtado handball.
In the end, the ‘Caps and Dynamo shared the spoils – and it was probably a fair result.
Whitecaps FC return to the Texas heat next weekend, this time to face rival and Western Conference-leader FC Dallas on Sunday at 3 p.m. PT (TSN2 and TSN 1040), before kicking off their 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League campaign on August 2 in Trinidad and Tobago.
Budweiser Man of the Match: David Ousted
Referee: Jaime Herrera
Possession: Houston 47.6 % – Vancouver 52.4 %
Shots: Houston 17 – Vancouver 9
Shots on Goal: Houston 4 – Vancouver 4
Saves: Houston 4 – Vancouver 4
Fouls: Houston 12 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: Houston 2 – Vancouver 1
Corners: Houston 6 – Vancouver 4
62’ – HOU – Andrew Wenger
84’ – VAN – Erik Hurtado
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 14.Cole Seiler, 4.Kendall Waston, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 17.Andrew Jacobson, 15.Matías Laba; 7.Christian Bolaños, 11.Nicolás Mezquida (27.Blas Pérez 67’), 77.Pedro Morales © (13.Cristian Techera 85’); 9.Masato Kudo (19.Erik Hurtado 74’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 6.Jordan Smith, 8.Fraser Aird, 33.Marcel de Jong
31.Joe Willis; 22.Sheanon Williams, 18.David Horst, 5.Raul Rodriguez (20.Abdoulie Mansally 13’), 2.Jalil Anibaba; 11.Andrew Wenger (8.Cristian Maidana 67’), 14.Alex, 26.Collen Warner (10.Giles Barnes 80’), 27.Boniek Garcia ©; 12.Will Bruin, 9.Erik Torres
Substitutes not used
24.Calle Brown, 13.Ricardo Clark, 19.Mauro Manotas
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