Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo reprised their meeting in 2011’s Eastern Conference Championship game on Friday night at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla. Both teams walked away with plenty of positives, but no goals to show for their endeavor, producing a scrappy 0-0 draw.
For Houston, the big story on the night was the return of MVP runner-up Brad Davis, who tore his right quadriceps in that Championship game four months ago. The left midfielder entered with just under 20 minutes left, and managed to serve in several dangerous corners in his brief run out.
On the Sporting side, Peter Vermes will take heart from the way his team forced the pace of the game, consistently getting the ball to the flanks and creating room in which Kei Kamara and Bobby Convey could operate. The final product was lacking, but such is often the case in preseason matchups.
In the second match of the night, the Vancouver Whitecaps took control of the game and ran away with it, posting a 3-0 victory over their Canadian counterparts Montreal Impact.
Big French forward Eric Hassli tipped the match in favor of the Whitecaps in the 38th minute. Defender Martin Bonjour slid a pass to Hassli, and the striker unleashed a left-footed shot fromt he edge of the box towards the far post and just out of the reach of Impact 'keeper Donovan Ricketts.
Tempers flared shortly after, when Whitecaps attacker Camilo slid in on Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier. A small shoving match ensued, but didn't escalate beyond a trio of yellow cards.
The match quieted down for much of the second half, and with Montreal looking to get on the board, head coach Jesse Marsch brought in Andrew Wenger, the No. 1 pick in this year's SuperDraft.
However, it was Darren Mattocks, the man Vancouver took with the second pick in the draft, that made his mark when, in the 70th minute, he took the ball at the top of the box, dribbled in, and fired a powerful shot past Ricketts to give the 'Caps a 2-0 lead.
Vancouver kept pushing for a third and were rewarded when forward Long Tan drew a penalty with 10 minutes remaining. Offseason pick-up Sebastién Le Toux stepped up to the spot and whipped it down the middle to put the nail in the coffin and seal a 3-0 victory.
The Whitecaps, however, didn't walk out unscathed, as both John Thorrington and Davide Chiumiento came off the field with injuries.
All four teams are in action again on Sunday, with Houston facing Vancouver and Sporting KC taking on Montreal.