The Houston Dynamo dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Forward Alberth Elis netted his first goal of the season, scoring late in the first half, but a goal shortly after halftime gave Vancouver the winning margin despite several scoring chances for the Dynamo over the game’s final 40 minutes, as Vancouver’s defensive unit did just enough to keep Houston out of the net in the second half.
Vancouver got on the board first through a penalty. In the 28th minute, Vancouver forward Kei Kamara was awarded a penalty after defender Philippe Senderos was whistled for a foul in the penalty area. Kamara stepped up to the penalty spot and placed his shot on the bottom left corner. The goal snapped a 355-minute shutout streak in regular-season play for the Dynamo, dating back to Oct. 11, 2017 when Sporting Kansas City midfielder Jimmy Medranda scored in the 33rd minute of a 2-1 Dynamo victory.
The Dynamo tied up the score late in the half. In the 39th minute, midfielder Eric Alexander played a through ball to midfielder Tomás Martínez at the top of the box and the young Argentine immediately played the ball to forward Alberth Elis on the left side of the box. La Pantera took a couple of touches to create space for himself and drilled right-footed shot past Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.
Vancouver came out of halftime and quickly regained the lead. In the 49th minute, Kamara sprung midfielder Brek Shea down the left flank into a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Shea took a left-footed shot from the left side of the box and into the bottom left corner.
Despite the scoreline, the Dynamo were dangerous throughout the contest, outshooting Vancouver 21-7 and earning 15 corner kicks; and La Naranja dominated possession on the night, holding the ball for 67.2 percent of the match.
Houston created the first dangerous chance of the game just minutes in, when Elis found forward Mauro Manotas at the six-yard box, but the Colombian’s header went over the crossbar. Elis created another chance minutes later when he found forward Andrew Wenger in nearly the same spot, but again the headed shot just missed the mark.
Houston continued to press the issue in the second half. In the 56th minute, forward Romell Quioto, who came on just three minutes earlier, played a low cross to Elis in the middle of the box. Elis turned and fired a low right-footed shot toward the bottom right corner, but Marinovic got down quickly to push the shot just wide. In the 62nd minute, defender Kevin Garcia gave a pass from the right flank to Wenger in the middle of the box. Wenger’s left-footed shot was saved looked destined for the far corner of the net before Marinovic dove to deny the home team one more time.
The Dynamo will hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to the nation’s capital next week to face D.C. United on Saturday, March 17 at Maryland SoccerPlex. The match will kick off at 12:30 p.m. CDT and will be televised live in Houston on KUBE 57.
Houston Dynamo (1-1-0; 3 pts.) 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-0-0, 6 pts.)
MLS Week 2
Saturday, March 10, 2018 – BBVA Compass Stadium -- Houston, Texas
VAN: Kei Kamara 2 (penalty kick) 28
HOU: Alberth Elis 1 (Tomás Martínez 1, Eric Alexander 2) 39
VAN: Brek Shea 1 (Kei Kamara 1) 49
Houston Dynamo: Chris Seitz; Adolfo Machado, Philippe Senderos (Kevin Garcia 46), Leonardo, DaMarcus Beasley ©; Eric Alexander, Darwin Cerén; Andrew Wenger, Tomás Martínez (Arturo Alvarez 68), Alberth Elis; Mauro Manotas (Romell Quioto 55)
Unused subs: Joe Willis, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Boniek García, Memo Rodriguez
Total shots: 21 (Alberth Elis 7); Shots on goal: 7 (Alberth Elis 4); Fouls: 9 (Darwin Cerén 4); Offside: 3 (Leonardo, Tomás Martínez, Andrew Wenger 1); Corner kicks: 15 (Eric Alexander 7); Saves: 1 (Chris Seitz 1)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Stefan Marinovic; Marcel de Jong (Brek Shea 36), Aaron Maund, Kendall Waston (C), Jakob Nerwinski; Russell Teibert (Jordon Mutch 70); Alphonso Davies, Felipe, Efraín Juárez, Yordy Reyna; Kei Kamara (Anthony Blondell 58)
Unused subs: Brian Rowe, José Aja, Nicolás Mezquida, Cristian Techera
Total shots: 7 (Kei Kamara, Anthony Blondell 2); Shots on goal: 3 (Kei Kamara, Brek Shea, Anthony Blondell 1); Fouls: 10 (Felipe, Kei Kamara, Anthony Blondell 2); Offside: 1 (Brek Shea 1); Corner kicks: 4 (Felipe 3); Saves: 6 (Stefan Marinovic 6)
VAN: Russell Teibert (caution; dissent) 12
VAN: Kei Kamara (caution; foul) 24
HOU: Philippe Senderos (caution; dissent) 29
HOU: Darwin Cerén (caution; foul) 65
VAN: Stefan Marinovic (caution; time wasting) 88
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referee 1: Jeffrey Greeson
Assistant Referee 2: Cameron Blanchard
Fourth Official: Marcos de Oliveira
VAR: Ricardo Salazar