The Vancouver Whitecaps' troubles in Texas continued Saturday night in a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium that saw the 'Caps finish the match with just nine men.
Despite having never won in Texas in MLS action since joining the league in 2011, the Whitecaps had high hopes heading into the match after a strong month of August that has seen them consolidate their position as one of the front runners for the Supporters' Shield.
But a goal in each half for Houston and two second-half dismissals for Vancouver left them with their biggest road defeat of the season.
"Obviously the result is disappointing," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson told media after the match. "Playing with nine men is very disappointing. It's a tough one for us to take. All in all, in August we've done very well, so we'll take some positives from it."
The Whitecaps had a strong showing in the first half, but it was the Dynamo who took their chance and went into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead on a Ricardo Clark goal. Indiscipline was to cost the Whitecaps a chance to fight back with both Kendall Waston and Matias Laba seeing red after picking up second yellow cards in the second half.
"I thought the boys were great in the first half," Robinson said. "We conceded a very bad goal. We didn't stop the cross at source, Ricardo Clark [Houston midfielder] manages to poke it in, scuffs it in. They take their chance, we have a number of good chances and are unable to take our chances.
"When you go behind at halftime, in a tough place, it's always going to be difficult. I had confidence in the guys, and they believed. They worked their socks off, and obviously going down to nine men after 60 minutes, then maybe it's taken out of your hands a little bit."
Robinson rested a number of regular starters after last Saturday's win against FC Dallas and their midweek Amway Canadian Championship success against the Montreal Impact.
Vancouver put out a very young side, with an average age of just over 24-years-old, but it was the more experienced Waston and Laba who lost their cool in the Houston heat and humidity, much to the annoyance of Robinson.
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"When you play with nine men it's always going to be difficult," Robinson said. "It's disappointing as I lose arguably two of my best players this year from key sendings off, in a game where one team got a number of yellow cards and one team got no yellow cards. So that's a disappointing thing."
The defeat brings an end to a hectic, but fairly successful, month of August for Vancouver, with eight games across three different competitions.
With three MLS wins and a Canadian Championship to show for their efforts, the Whitecaps now have 11 days off until they are back in action against the Colorado Rapids. It's a break that Robinson feels is much needed and will allow his team to rest and come back at their best,
"The boys are knackered," Robinson admitted. "We've had a big August. We've had some good results, and we've had some tough results. Tonight was a tough result, but we'll take it on the chin and we'll move forward."
Michael McColl covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com