Preview: Houston seek first road win of '11 in Vancouver
EMPIRE FIELD, Vancouver, B.C.
7 p.m. ET (TSN2; KHOU/Azteca; watch LIVE online)
August 27, 2011 (WEEK 24; MLS Game 237)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Houston Dynamo meet for the second time this season when the clubs face off Saturday afternoon at Empire Field. Whitecaps FC return home after a 2-1 loss at fellow expansion side Portland last weekend. The Dynamo extended their unbeaten streak in dramatic fashion last weekend, a last-gasp 3-2 win against Real Salt Lake at home.
REFEREE: Niko Bratsis. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Ricardo Salazar
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 24.6; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 0; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC — OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); MF Russell Teibert (R rib contusion); GK Brian Sylvestre (L knee strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Alexandre Morfaw (L hamstring strain); MF Michael Nanchoff (R hip flexor); MF Jeb Brovsky (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Eric Hassli (back strain) ... HOUSTON DYNAMO — DOUBTFUL: FW Will Bruin (L knee surgery); MF Danny Cruz (R quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: VAN: Camilo (caution accumulation; through Aug. 28)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Jordan Harvey, Alain Rochat ... HOU: Bobby Boswell
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Michael Boxall, Jeb Brovsky, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Leathers ... HOU: Danny Cruz, Brad Davis, Hunter Freeman, Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson, Cam Weaver
- ALL-TIME: Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal ... Dynamo 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 1
- Cam Weaver, Bobby Boswell and Will Bruin all scored as the Dynamo eased to a 3-1 win, April 10 at Robertson Stadium, in the first meeting ever between the clubs.
- Coaches record: Tom Soehn v HOU: P6 W2 L3 D1 ... Dominic Kinnear vs. VAN: P1 W1 L0 D0
- 4/10: HOU 3, VAN 1 (Weaver 37, Boswell 42, Bruin 76 — Camilo 38
- The game burst into life late in the first half with three goals in a five-minute span. The Dynamo took the lead in the 37th minute when Cam Weaver pounced on a Brad Davis corner kick that Bobby Boswell had flicked on.
- Whitecaps FC pulled even barely a minute later. Winger Davide Chiumiento slipped a ball through to Camilo after spinning away from the Dynamo defense. The Brazilian striker put a point blank shot over Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall's right shoulder.
- Boswell restored the Dynamo margin in the 42nd minute. After a corner kick was cleared, Danny Cruz's cross found the center back behind the pulled-up Vancouver back line and he knocked a shot past 'keeper Jay Nolly.
- Houston finished off the match in the the 76th minute. Rookie Will Bruin beat Nolly to a through ball as the 'keeper raced off his line, skipping around him and sliding the ball into the back of the net for his first professional goal.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe - Lovel Palmer - Danny Cruz, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis (Colin Clark 92+) - Cam Weaver (Jason Garey 84), Will Bruin.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly - Jonathan Leathers, Michael Boxall, Jay DeMerit (Russell Teibert 46), Blake Wagner - Davide Chiumiento, Jeb Brovsky, Alain Rochat, Nizar Khalfan (Mouloud Akloul 79) - Atiba Harris, Camilo (Omar Salgado 84)
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC suffered a second consecutive loss on the road, falling 2-1 to the Portland Timbers in the first meeting of the expansion teams, Saturday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. Whitecaps FC have 18 points from 25 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.
- The Timbers opened the scoring with the earliest goal in their MLS history. From a turnover in midfield, Jack Jewsbury played forward to Jorge Perlaza, who then slipped it to Diego Chara in the area. He then fired a shot into the top corner of the goal past a diving Joe Cannon.
- Portland then doubled their lead just after the half-hour. A Jewsbury free kick found defender Mamadou Danso in the area. His header deflected off a Vancouver defender -- but fell perfectly for Perlaza, who chipped home neatly from the spot.
- Whitecaps FC pulled a goal back in the 88th minute on a wonderful effort from Camilo. Receiving a pass from Jordan Harvey in the area, he cut back away from his marker and curled a sublime right-footed shot inside the far right post.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made two changes to the team that lost 4-0 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Jeb Brovsky came in at fullback for Jonathan Leathers, and Davide Chiumiento came into the midfield for Shea Salinas.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Jeb Brovsky, Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey - John Thorrington, Peter Vagenas (Mustapha Jarju 51), Gershon Koffie, Davide Chiumiento (Shea Salinas 63) - Eric Hassli (Omar Salgado 84), Camilo.
- Whitecaps FC remain one of three teams winless away from home, with an 0-10-4 record away from Empire Field, along with Toronto FC (0-8-6) — and the Dynamo (0-4-8).
- "The way we started out, giving a goal that early, so disappointing. We knew the first 15 [minutes] were going to be energetic from them, but we lost the first half in that regard so much as competing," said Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn. "Second half we did a much better job but ultimately the stat that counts is the 2-1."
- Three teams in MLS history have finished the season without a road win: the 2003 LA Galaxy (0-9-6), New York in 2009 (0-13-2), and expansion Real Salt Lake in 2005 (0-14-2).
- "On the road it's always difficult, we still generated a lot of set pieces but we also talked about on both sides of set pieces we have to be aggressive," Soehn said. "Whatever corners we had, we have to get on the end of them I don't think we were very dangerous and those are quality opportunities that we're passing up."
- Camilo scored a third goal in the last six games for Whitecaps FC in the 2-1 loss at Portland; with eight, he is two behind team leader Eric Hassli, who is tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot standings.
- For the second time in five games, rookie Jeb Brovsky played right back. The 19th overall selection in the 2011 SuperDraft out of Notre Dame, who had figured primarily as a midfielder, first started in the back line July 20 vs. San Jose.
- "I think it's a work in progress; there's no excuse if I make a mistake, but I obviously need to learn the role quicker than most," Brovsky said. "Some people grow up in that position, but I have full confidence in my tactical ability that I can learn it."
- With two games remaining in the Cascadia Cup — both at home — Whitecaps FC are in third place with one point from two games. Seattle Sounders FC lead with five points from three games; the Timbers now have four points from three games.
- "That was obviously one of our goals that we set out at the beginning of the season and it's still very much alive. We've got the Cascadia Cup at home so it's in our hands and we've got to pick ourselves up for it," said defender Michael Boxall.
The Houston Dynamo again provided late drama in extending their unbeaten streak to five games, scoring the game-winner in stoppage time in a 3-2 defeat of Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have 35 points from 26 games on the season, moving into third place in the Eastern Conference.
- Real opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Fabian Espíndola latched on to a deflected pass and beat Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall to the far post with an angled shot from the right side of the area.
- But the home side pulled even two minutes after the second-half restart. Carlo Costly laid a deft pass off to Davis at the top of the box, who fought through two defenders to square a ball to the Brian Ching, who then poked a shot out of goalkeeper Nick Rimando's reach.
- Yet on the hour, RSL again nosed in front. Luis Gil split defenders Hunter Freeman and Bobby Boswell to latch onto an Espíndola cross from the right flank and head home.
- The Dynamo again evened terms nine minutes later. Brad Davis found Bobby Boswell at the near post on a corner kick, and the center back floated a curling header that landed inside the far-side netting.
- Then in stoppage time, a cross was cleared out only as far as Alex Dixon on the right. He corralled the ball and cut onto his left foot, unleashing a sterling strike that sailed past Rimando's despairing dive inside the far post.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that came back for a late 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Corey Ashe came in at fullback for Jermaine Taylor, Colin Clark started in place of the suspended Adam Moffat, and Carlo Costly started up top for Cam Weaver.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Je-Vaughn Watson - Colin Clark (Alex Dixon 81), Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Brian Ching (Calen Carr 92+), Carlo Costly (Cam Weaver 84).
- The Dynamo won for a third consecutive game at Robertson Stadium — and extended their unbeaten streak to five games — with the win against Real Salt Lake.
- "I just think everyone's playing better," said head coach Dominic Kinnear. "At the beginning of the year, we were just treading water. We were going good but not busting through, but now everyone has upped their game. Plus they're having fun. They're undefeated in five and have only one loss in the last 10. I think anytime you get a point and play well, it gives you confidence ó and the mistakes don't bug them because that confidence is there."
- Home Grown Player Alex Dixon, who graduated from Atascocita H.S. in nearby Humble, Texas and was signed out of the University of North Carolina during preseason, scored his first professional goal in his seventh league appearance, all as a substitute.
- "He is learning how to become a professional. It is only one goal, so we have to take it easy, but it certainly came at the right time, and it capped off a good week for us," said Kinnear. "I'm happy for him. Sometimes the criticism from the older players and myself can be harsh and honest, but he kept his chin up, and I always tell him that we will give you a chance to play on the field because we have confidence that you can help this team at any particular time."
- Brad Davis extended his lead in the MLS assists race with a pair of helpers in the win against RSL. Now with 13 assists on the season, Davis has four assists in the last five games.
- "We were moving the ball well. We found Brad a lot in the last half-an-hour," said Brian Ching. "When Brad gets the ball, it's always a dangerous situation. We had a lot of chances, as did they, and I thought Nick Rimando made a lot of good saves. The more times you try and put the ball in the box, it puts pressure on the defense, and you hope to get something out of it."
- Ching scored his fourth goal in his last five appearances, and has taken over the Dynamo lead with five goals. The Dynamo are undefeated in the 10 games Ching has started this year.
- The Dynamo finally have midfielder Luiz Camargo available after receiving his P-1 visa. While the Dynamo midfield is particularly deep, the Brazilian, last with Paran· Clube, is ready to make his mark.
- "I'm pretty sure this team has more than eight games left," Camargo said. "I'm sure they're going to qualify [for the playoffs] and I'm ready to help in this squad any way I can."