Match Preview: Dynamo-Whitecaps

Houston looks for first win of the season at home on Sunday

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Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo and Vancouver Whitecaps will meet for the first time Sunday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo are coming off a midweek Open Cup loss to Sporting KC and are looking for their first victory of the MLS season after a 1-1 draw at New York last Saturday. After a remarkable stoppage-time comeback last weekend, the Whitecaps fell victim to one on Wednesday, with New England coming back for a share of the points in a 1-1 draw at home.

TICKET INFORMATION

BROADCAST INFORMATION
Galavision - 6 p.m.
KHOU 11.2 - 6 p.m.
FOX Sports Houston - 6 p.m.
SportsTalk 790 - 5:30 p.m.
La Ranchera 850 - 5:30 p.m.

REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Allen Chapman
Marrufo MLS Career: 109 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 28; pens: 40

INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); DF Jermaine Taylor (R foot sprain); DOUBTFUL: FW Brian Ching (L rib separation); QUESTIONABLE: MF Brad Davis (L hamstring strain); 

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS – OUT: MF Michael Nanchoff (groin strain); DF Greg Janicki (R hip contusion); MF Terry Dunfield (groin strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Shea Salinas (R knee sprain); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain); PROBABLE: DF Jay DeMerit (groin strain)

SUSPENDED: VAN: Gershon Koffie (through April 10); Eric Hassli (through April 10)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 8/27: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo, 6 p.m. CT
Coaches record: Teitur Thordarson v HOU: First game … Dominic Kinnear vs. VAN: First game

MORE: Dynamo want to make homestand count

HOUSTON DYNAMO

  • The Houston Dynamo reached a draw for a second consecutive week on the road, settling for a 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Dynamo have 2 points from 3 games on the season, sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Coming off the bench at halftime for the Red Bulls, newly acquired Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario quickly made his mark. De Rosario sliced a ball from the middle of the field to Dane Richards, who freed himself with a cutback and fired past goalkeeper Tally Hall in the 47th minute.
  • Houston responded with a goal of their own just three minutes later. Will Bruin flicked a header over the top of the Red Bulls defense, and as New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul came off his line, Cam Weaver lofted the ball over Coundoul's head.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field. Danny Cruz and Brian Ching both came into the starting lineup, in place of Kofi Sarkodie and Jason Garey.

TEAM NEWS

  • Unlike the opening match of the season, where the Dynamo fell behind after just five minutes and could not hit for an equalizer, in New York it took the Dynamo just three minutes to respond.
  • “The response was perfect, because being down a goal is tough,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “They've got good players, they can possess the ball, so to get that response gave us a lift, and I think it kind of shocked them a bit.”
  • The Dynamo now open a stretch where they play four of the next five games at home, after coming away with points from back-to-back road games.
  • “In the beginning of the season, when the team is still trying to find its groove,” said midfielder Geoff Cameron, “it just shows the character of the team this year, compared to last year, where we could have lost this point (vs. New York). And I think that's a good step in the right direction.”
  • After making six saves from 26 total shots in the 1-1 draw with Seattle, goalkeeper Tally Hall had another standout performance, making a career-high eight saves from 24 total Red Bulls attempts.
  • “We played a good team that was attacking us very hard,” said Hall. “So coming out of here with a point is not something we’re disappointed about, but we’re still looking for that first win.”
  • Brian Ching was forced off before the conclusion of the first half after suffering a costochondral separation in his ribcage. He was able to return to full training during the week and still hopes to be available for the Vancouver match.
  • "He's taken his fill of pain medication shots to play, sacrifices himself for the good of the team and we've been successful for his play and his sacrifice," Kinnear said to the Houston Chronicle. "We'll wait and see, but his attitude is of one for always wanting to play, hurt or not. I think he does know when you can and can't play, but his desire to play is inspiring."
  • On Wednesday, the Dynamo were knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 extra time loss to Sporting Kansas City in College Station, Texas. The game’s lone goal came on an impressive curling effort from rookie C.J. Sapong, three minutes into the first overtime period.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

Coming off a remarkable stoppage-time comeback, the Vancouver Whitecaps saw one go the other way, after giving up a late goal in a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution on Wednesday at Empire Field. The Whitecaps have 5 points from 4 matches, fourth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • A match full of incident burst to life just before the halftime break, when the home side cleared a shot off the line, then were reduced to 10 men when Gershon Koffie was sent off with a straight red card.
  • Then after New England’s Zak Boggs brought down Camilo in the penalty box, halftime substitute Eric Hassli stepped to the spot and converted a penalty. But Hassli removed his shirt in celebration – his second caution after coming on – and referee Baldomero Toledo sent off, leaving Vancouver with nine men.
  • The Revolution then were lowered to 10 men when A.J. Soares was shown a straight red card in the 75th minute.
  • But in stoppage time, the visitors hit for a dramatic equalizer when Pat Phelan’s cross was knocked down by Zack Schilawski in the box and Ilija Stolica blasted it into the roof of the goal.
  • Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson made one change to the team that came back for a 3-3 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Empire Field. Nizar Khalfan came into the team, with Greg Janicki injured.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly – Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall, Blake Wagner – Wes Knight (Eric Hassli 46; sent off 56), Gershon Koffie (sent off 44), Terry Dunfield (John Thorrington 38), Nizar Khalfan – Atiba Harris, Camilo (Kevin Harmse 67).

TEAM NEWS

  • Even playing a man down for much of the second half and having seen another dramatic added-time result, Whitecaps FC remained unbeaten in front of their Empire Field home crowd.
  • "It's a different feeling than the last time, but it's a point," said Thordarson. "I thought the effort was terrific. I just felt it was amazing how good we were in that situation."
  • In the first MLS game for Whitecaps FC, Eric Hassli scored two goals. He was sent off in the next game, then after sitting his suspension, came off the bench to reclaim top-scoring honors with his third goal for the club. But he also received a second red card in three games.
  • "It was a mistake, we know that," said Thordarson. "Having said that, he brought us 1-0 up and that was a great boost for us. But what happened after that was a big mistake and it shouldn't have happened."
  • Even with Hassli again available, Thordarson maintained the strike pair of Camilo and Atiba Harris. “Our two strikers did very well [against Sporting KC] and they deserved to start again.”
  • After Gershon Koffie was sent off, Thordarson reshaped his team to start the second half, leaving Hassli as a lone striker and putting Camilo and Harris into wide midfield roles.
  • With both first-choice center backs, Jay DeMerit and Greg Janicki, out to injury, Alain Rochat was again moved into a central defense position with Blake Wagner shifting back to left back. "He was extremely strong," Thordarson said of Rochat. "He really stepped up."
  • Veteran John Thorrington, who has battled a quadriceps injury through the early days of the season, made his Vancouver debut, coming on late in the first half for Terry Dunfield. Midfielder Kevin Harmse, a native of nearby Coquitlam, B.C., also made his Whitecaps FC debut.