VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4W-5L-1D) host Houston Dynamo (3W-3L-2D) on Friday night in the first of back-to-back matches at BC Place in the span of five days.
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Here are the key storylines to watch.
Counter vs. counter: The 'Caps and Dynamo possess two of the most lethal counter-attacks in MLS, thanks largely to the play of their outside midfielders. The likes of Alphonso Davies and Brek Shea have been extremely effective on the counter this season for Vancouver, while Hondurans Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto play an integral role for Houston on the wings, having recorded a combined six goals and eight assists on the season.
Houston, you have a problem: The ‘Caps have never lost to the Dynamo in Vancouver, having posted a 6W-0L-1D record at BC Place and Empire Field. They also defeated the Dynamo 2-1 in Houston earlier this season thanks to a goal and an assist from Kei Kamara and a breakaway tally from Shea.
Kamara returns: After missing three straight matches with an adductor strain, Kamara returned to action as a sub last weekend against Minnesota United FC, playing the final 27 minutes. Carl Robinson said that Kamara still has “a little bit of work to do” to get back to full fitness, but you can certainly expect the striker to be involved on Friday.
Back-to-back: This is the first time in 2018 Whitecaps FC will play back-to-back matches at BC Place, facing Houston on Friday and San Jose on Wednesday in a pair of Western Conference fixtures. The ‘Caps currently sit third in the West with 13 points, which is the same point haul they had after 10 matches in 2017.
Yordy Reyna (M) vs. Darwin Cerén (M): On his day, Yordy Reyna can be an electrifying talent, as we saw last season when the Peruvian had six goals and four assists in 11 starts down the stretch, including a Goal of the Week strike vs. Houston at BC Place. Reyna will be looking to rekindle that form on Friday in a match where he’ll likely be matched up against Darwin Cerén, who leads the Dynamo in touches, tackles, interceptions, and successful passes this season.
“We’re playing at home. We have the fans, and we’re going to do everything we have in our power to be better than last game. We know it’s going to be tough, but we need to be mentally strong and ready for anything that comes.” – Felipe