A pair of goals from Memo Rodriguez, both assisted by fellow goal scorer Alberth Elis, catapulted the Houston Dynamo to a 3-2 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, for their best three-game start in team history, at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 15th minute, when Elis stripped Whitecaps defender Derek Cornelius of the ball near the end line and crossed it in to a waiting Rodriguez for the easy finish.
Then, two fouls in the box late in the first half led to an exchange of goals. First, Houston defender Adam Lundkvist clumsily took down Fredy Montero with a foot to the chest, with Montero converting the subsequent PK attempt himself to get the Whitecaps on the board. Then, Cornelius took Elis down with a tackle, and after Video Review, Elis was allowed to open his 2019 account from the spot.
Vancouver coach Marc Dos Santos' decision to put Bangoura on for Cornelius at halftime paid nearly-immediate dividends, as the Guinea international winger knifed through the Dynamo defense to equalize in the 54th minute. But the Dynamo continued to threaten throughout the half, and broke the deadlock in the 74th minute with Elis again finding Rodriguez with a well-weighted pass in front of the box. The Dynamo were further aided in hanging on when Whitecaps midfielder Andy Rose went down with a head injury after the 'Caps made their last sub, leaving them with just 10 men for the final stretch.
The successful three-match home stand leaves the Dynamo with seven points; they'd managed no more than six at this point in the season in their prior 13 years.
- 15' – HOU – Memo Rodriguez | WATCH
- 35' – VAN – Fredy Montero (PK) | WATCH
- 42' – HOU – Alberth Elis (PK) | WATCH
- 54' – VAN – Lass Bangoura | WATCH
- 73' – HOU – Memo Rodriguez | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Dynamo are getting plenty of counter-attacking offense and just enough defense for an unbeaten start that puts them just behind the torrid Sounders in the Western Conference race. They're clearly feeling good in Houston:
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Rodriguez's game-winning goal showed just how dangerous the Dynamo attack can be — it was an uncharacteristically quiet Mauro Manotas who led Elis down the right flank with his pass, and had Rodriguez not converted, there were onrushing additional numbers for the potential putback. The answer to Bangoura's tying goal felt like a when rather than if.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Elis was involved in each of the Dynamo goals, nearly had a pair of additional goals on dangerous first-half headers, and drew the penalty that gave the Dynamo their halftime lead.
- HOU: Saturday, March 30 at Colorado Rapids (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, DAZN in Canada)
- VAN: Saturday, March 30 vs. Seattle Sounders FC (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, DAZN in Canada)