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Final

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
March 29, 2014 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #29)
4 p.m. PT (TSN2; CSN-Hou+)

A pair of clubs which have gotten off to good starts meet on Saturday afternoon when Vancouver Whitecaps FC take on the Houston Dynamo at BC Place. Whitecaps FC return home off an undefeated road swing, reaching a scoreless draw at the New England Revolution last weekend. The Dynamo return to action and hit the road for the first time after making it two wins from two starts in their last match, a 1-0 home win against the Montreal Impact.

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REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Felisha Mariscal; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 244 games; FC/gm: 25.6; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 60; pens: 55

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Dynamo 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 0
AT VANCOUVER (2 meetings): Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 4 goals … Dynamo 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/23: HOU 2, VAN 1 (Barnes 55; Creavalle 62 – Mattocks 36)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • In four meetings all-time between the clubs, the home team has won each. Whitecaps FC won 3-1 at BC Place in 2012, the last meeting in Vancouver; the Dynamo took a 2-1 win at BBVA Compass Stadium last year.
  • Coaches record: Carl Robinson vs. HOU: first game … Dominic Kinnear vs. VAN: P4 W2 L2 T0

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC remained undefeated to open the 2014 season, playing to a scoreless draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Whitecaps FC sit in a tie for third place the Western Conference with five points from three games.

LAST MATCH

  • Real chances were few and far between for most of the afternoon for both sides. Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted made a reflex stop on a fifth-minute corner for the best of this three saves on the day.
  • Vancouver mustered just seven shots and didn’t serious threaten Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth during the match, who was called upon to make two stops.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made two changes to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Johnny Leveron came into central defense in place of Jay DeMerit, and Sebastian Fernandez started in midfield for Pedro Morales.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour, Johnny Leveron, Andy O'Brien, Jordan Harvey - Nigel Reo-Coker (Gershon Koffie 70), Matias Laba - Russell Teibert (Kekuta Manneh 67), Kenny Miller, Sebastian Fernandez (Pedro Morales 46) - Darren Mattocks.

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC are the first team to come away with points from two road matches this season, reaching a second consecutive draw in New England after a 1-1 tie with Chivas USA.
  • “We got a clean sheet. It’s a very good effort from the whole back, forward and midfield players – especially the goalkeeper. They came up with some big saves. You know, they’ve done their job today,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “And it’s important if you pick up points on the road that the defenders, and the team as a whole defensively, that they’ve done their job.”
  • David Ousted recorded his first clean sheet of the season and now has five shutouts in 16 career league starts since arriving at the club midway through last season.
  • “We did what we always do, we defend. The guys in front of me did a great job, had some important blocks, and played really well. Nice to get a clean sheet and get a point from that,” Ousted said. “… There are always improvements that need to be made, and I’m always looking at what I can do better, but I’m glad with the performances I had in the first three games and hopefully I can continue.”
  • With center back Jay DeMerit being rested, Johnny Leveron came into central defense alongside Andy O’Brien and helped keep the clean sheet.
  • “I thought [Leveron] did very well,” Robinson said. “I think he was a little bit casual at times and I think passed one or two passes out of play when he didn't need to. But having said that, we got a clean sheet, so you can't be too critical on the defenders.”
  • Said O’Brien: “I think that's one of the positive things that we've got within our squad ... players can come in and do very well. I think that was proved last year as well. [Carlyle] Mitchell has not traveled with the squad. We've got Christian Dean who came on last week. That's just talking about the central defensive position ñ but all around the team we've got competition and it bodes well for us through the core of the season.”
  • Gershon Koffie made his season debut, coming on for the final 20 minutes in place of Nigel Reo-Coker. Koffie could be in line for a spot in the starting XI this weekend, after Reo-Coker missed out of training following an off-field accident where he suffered facial injuries.
  • “It's a good, good experience for me,” Koffie said. “Because it's my first time not playing the first two games of the season, and it's experience ... so I have to learn. ... When you're not in the starting 11, you have to keep positive. Whatever you think must be positive. You have to keep your head up, because the opportunity might come any time.”
  • Sebastian Fernandez made his third start out wide in the midfield, but this time came off at halftime as Pedro Morales had his longest shift since coming to the club.
  • “(Pedro Morales) felt a slight back issue on the way over, so I didn’t want to risk him. It’s about 34 games of the season, so it was the right decision for me,” Robinson said. “I knew Pedro was going to play at some stage.  But you’re right. He does make a difference when he plays on the team and rightly so.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo return to action after a week off, winning for the second time in as many matches last time out, a 1-0 win against the Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in a tie atop the Eastern Conference with 6 points from 2 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 40th minute. From a throw-in, Giles Barnes laid the ball off to Will Bruin, and after settling it, his shot deflected off defender Eric Miller’s foot and over goalkeeper Troy Perkins but under the crossbar.
  • Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall made four saves on the night for his second shutout in as many matches.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that eased to a 4-0 win against the New England Revolution at BBVA Compass Stadium. Andrew Driver came into the side in place of Tony Cascio.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-1-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, Corey Ashe - Andrew Driver (Brian Ownby 82), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Servando Carrasco 86) - Boniek Garcia - Giles Barnes (Mark Sherrod 89), Will Bruin.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo are the only team still not to have allowed a goal on the season, after the 1-0 win vs. Montreal, which followed the 4-0 season-opening win vs. New England.
  • “You obviously want to go out and entertain and play some great stuff every week, but you know that’s not going to be the case,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We still created some good chances. ... At times maybe the movement off the ball wasn’t as sharp as it was last week but we still created enough chances to get a goal or possibly more tonight.”
  • Even with the off week, Will Bruin is tied for the MLS Golden Boot lead with three goals, along with Toronto FC’s Jermain Defoe, who netted his third in two games over the weekend.
  • Said Brad Davis: “Last week we won 4-0, scored some great goals and had a great game. This week we turn around and have to grind one out. It’s a testament to the team knowing we can play pretty and knowing we can get results.”
  • The back-to-back shutouts have come with a new-look central defense pairing of Jermaine Taylor and newcomer David Horst, who was with Portland last season.
  • “It’s a work in progress. They’ll have a great game in the middle of the season then they may not have a great game,” Kinnear said win. “They never gave up on plays and that was the most important thing. Sometimes when you have that second effort, it definitely makes up for what happened before.”
  • Said goalkeeper Tally Hall: “It’s important to close a game out. 1-0 wins are special because there’s never a time you can let off anything. To kind of pass that test early in the season I think is going to help with momentum, help with confidence and help all over.”
  • Tony Cascio, on loan from Colorado, was unable to feature in the Montreal match after suffering a knee sprain heading into the game.
  • “It was a little tough working my way into a starting spot and then an injury setting me back a little bit,” Cascio said. “For me [having this week off] was huge. Just to give it that rest was huge. I think as soon as I get healthy, hopefully, I’ll be back in the 18 and working my way back to a starting spot again.”
  • Brad Davis was also forced off late in the Montreal game with a hamstring sprain. “It’s good because we have a couple of guys who are injured and it gives them a little bit of time to rest and recover,” Kinnear said. “For guys that are injured the bye week’s great because it gives them time to recover.”
  • During the bye week, the Dynamo played a scrimmage against the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions, suffering a 2-0 defeat. Here’s the Dynamo team: Tyler Deric; Warren Creavalle (Bryan Salazar 62), AJ Cochran, Anthony Arena, Mike Chabala; Brian Ownby, Alexander Lopez, Servando Carrasco, Jason Johnson; Mark Sherrod, Omar Cummings