TUCSON, Arizona – The Houston Dynamo completed their preseason trip to Tucson with a 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Tuesday night at Kino Sports Complex. Jermaine Taylor scored the winning goal as the Dynamo left Arizona with two wins and a draw in the Desert Friendlies.
In the last of three friendly matches in Arizona, the Dynamo met a third consecutive Western Conference rival, and head coach Owen Coyle used 24 players, the most he has played in a game this preseason. Coyle also gave goalkeeper Joe Willis his first start and deployed defender Raul Rodriguez at right back for the first time.
In a match featuring three 30-minute periods, the first stage saw few chances for both teams, with set pieces providing the best chances for each club. Coyle made four changes after 30 minutes, with Tyler Deric, Corey Ashe, Nathan Sturgis and Will Bruin entering the match.
Deric made the first big save of the night in the 44th minute, reacting quickly as Nicolas Mezquida snuck behind the defense and sliding to parry the Uruguayan’s low shot from ten yards.
The Dynamo came to life five minutes later, breaking down the right side as trialist George Malki let the ball run to an overlapping Kofi Sarkodie, who whipped in a quality cross, but Vancouver cleared the danger.
Deric remained steady in the 51st minute, tracking Kekuta Manneh’s low shot through traffic and smothering without a rebound.
The save resulted in a corner kick that led to the winning goal. Davis’ ensuing restart was cleared by Vancouver but collected by Ashe, who lofted a long cross into a crowded area where Clark pressured Ousted as he tried to clear the danger with a punch. The ball hit a Vancouver teammate before falling to Taylor, and the Jamaican international tapped into an empty net from eight yards for the decisive goal.
On the club’s fifth goal of preseason, Taylor became the fifth different Dynamo player to score. It was also Houston’s third goal this preseason that began on a set piece.
Deric continued his strong 30-minute shift with another important save in the 56th minute, moving quickly to his right to punch away Mauro Rosales’ free kick at the right post after it swerved over the wall from 25 yards.
Houston nearly doubled its advantage moments before the second intermission. Another buildup down the right channel resulted in Sarkodie’s cross and Davis settled with his chest before Diego Rodriguez blocked his shot from ten yards.
Whitecaps FC threatened in the 73rd minute as a delivery from the right was contested by substitute goalkeeper Michael Lisch, and Robert Earnshaw’s resulting bicycle kick flashed wide of the far post.
Vancouver continued to push for the equalizer and created chances for Rodriguez from a corner kick and Darren Mattocks at the near post, but the Dynamo held off the charge through the final whistle.
The Dynamo return to Houston on Wednesday and will next face the Dynamo Academy Under-18s on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Houston Sports Park. The scrimmage is open to the public. The Academy U-18s are currently 11-2-1 in the U.S. Development Academy and in first place in the Frontier Division of the Central Conference.
Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
February 10, 2015 – Kino Sports Complex – Tucson, Arizona
HOU: Jermaine Taylor 1 (unassisted) 52
Houston Dynamo – Joe Willis (Tyler Deric 31; Michael Lisch 61); Raul Rodriguez (Kofi Sarkodie 47), David Horst (AJ Cochran 61), Jermaine Taylor (*Oumar Ballo 61), DaMarcus Beasley (Corey Ashe 31); Leonel Miranda (*George Malki 45), Ricardo Clark (Memo Rodriguez 61), Zach Steinberger (Nathan Sturgis 31; *Taylor Hunter 78), Brad Davis (Alex Lopez 61, *Rob Lovejoy (Chandler Hoffman 47); Jason Johnson (Will Bruin 31)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – David Ousted; Tim Parker (Ethen Sampson 45), Kendall Waston (Diego Rodriguez 45), Pa-Modou Kah (Christian Dean 60), Jordan Harvey (Sam Adekugbe 60); Matias Laba (Ben McKendry 60), Russell Teibert (Kianz Froese 60); Mauro Rosales (Erik Hurtado 60), Nicolas Mezquida (Robert Earnshaw 60), Kekuta Manneh (Marco Bustos 60); Octavio Rivero (Darren Mattocks 45)
Houston: Raul Rodriguez (caution) 17
Houston: David Horst (caution) 29
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Referee’s assistants: Ian Anderson and Frank Anderson