HOUSTON – Warren Creavalle and Giles Barnes picked the perfect night to open their respective MLS accounts.
With the Dynamo (2-1-0) trailing 1-0 in the second half against the Whitecaps – their 32-game unbeaten streak hanging in the balance after a Darren Mattocks golazo – Barnes and Creavalle popped up to score goals in a seven-minute span to notch a 2-1 victory at home, extend the streak to 33 games and spoil Vancouver’s (2-1-0) unbeaten start.
Creavalle’s winner was the product of guts and fortitude as the second-year player got the final touch after a scrum in front of goal following an Adam Moffat corner kick. The midfielder found himself on the ground after Will Bruin nodded Moffat’s corner down then got to the ball first to bundle it home in the 62nd minute.
Barnes pulled Houston even with a header that put the bowtie on a beautiful team move. Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie’s well-worked combination play gave Ricardo Clark enough room to serve up his first MLS assist since 2009. The central midfielder curled a ball to the top of the six-yard box and Barnes headed it across ‘Caps’ goalkeeper Joe Cannon for his first MLS goal and an even scoreline.
The Whitecaps were not without their own chances as the visitors used their most dangerous weapon – speed – to pressure the Dynamo.
Through the first 35 minutes, Mattocks was a non-factor, with only the stray off-the-ball run to his credit. In the 36th minute, though, he sprung to life. The second-year striker took a feed from rookie Erik Hurtado and turned the much bigger Eric Brunner, starting in place of Jermaine Taylor, to rip a 22-yarder over Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Despite the stunner from the Jamaican forward, Houston controlled the run of play early and enjoyed several long stretches with the ball. Still, out of their nine shots, only two forced Cannon into saves, as the ‘Caps stayed stout in the back. The Dynamo’s best chances of the half fell to Creavalle, starting in place of Boniek Garcia, but his shots landed far up in the BBVA Compass Stadium stands.
The ‘Caps nearly pulled even late in the match, but Mattocks’ curling attempt hit side netting and both posts kept out a brilliant free kick from substitute Camilo in the 81st minute.
Houston has a chance to tie Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten streak of 34 next Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes, while Vancouver travel to Southern California to take on Chivas USA.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Ricardo Clark||Pinpoint assist on Barnes' goal, but his real value comes over 90 minutes filling up the stat sheet and keeping the 'Caps' speed from being fatal.|
|2||Eric Brunner / Warren Creavalle||This is cheating, but Brunner and Creavalle ably filled the holes left by Jermaine Taylor and Boniek Garcia. Tidy performances from both.|
|3||Darren Mattocks||Typical Mattocks: Plenty of quiet moments followed by a play that deafens. Had other chances, too. Can he be a more consistent presence?|