A goal by Octavio Rivero seven minutes into the second half helped the Whitecaps salvage a point in a 1-1 draw against the worst road team in the West, Houston Dynamo, after the visitors opened the scoring in the 20th minute when DaMarcus Beasley picked up his first of the season and both teams were reduced to ten men by half time.
Beasley was able to get free on the left side as both Jordan Smith and Cristian Techera were caught up the field and the U.S. international got around a sliding Tim Parker and beat David Ousted.
The Whitecaps had chances before and after the goal to score one of their own. First when Pedro Morales was robbed by Tyler Deric in the 12th minute and then in the 28th minute Parker just missed a header, sending it over the bar.
The game took a turn five minutes before the half when each side saw a man sent off when Alex and Pedro Morales were shown straight reds from referee Drew Fischer for violent conduct after an altercation and a lot of shoving outside the Houston box. Hands were raised and the pushing and shoving continued as both players walked off the pitch.
Rivero would come close to scoring just before the half but Deric was able to come up big at the near post to give the visitors the lead into the break.
The tying goal would come off a corner when Rivero collected a headed ball and struck it first time into the top corner beating a helpless Deric.
While both teams had their chances to get the full three points, with Deric denying Techera with a fantastic save, it was Ousted who ended up winning the point late on for Vancouver when he was able to tip a header from David Horst off the bar before the danger was cleared by Jordan Harvey.
The draw gives the Whitecaps 21 points this season, which puts them in third position in the West as they prepare for an extended three week break from MLS play.
Vancouver will have to get ready for some midweek action as they travel east to take on Ottawa of the NASL in the first leg semi-final of the Voyageurs Cup on Wednesday.
FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – 1 Houston Dynamo
ATT: 22,120 (sell out)
VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Jordan Smith, Andrew Jacobson, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Cristian Techera (Erik Hurtado 79), Matías Laba, Russell Teibert (Kianz Froese 90), Pedro Morales; Kekuta Manneh (Nicolás Mezquida 90); Octavio Rivero [Subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Cole Seiler, Marco Bustos]
HOUSTON Tyler Deric; Sheanon Williams, David Horst, Raul Rodriguez, DaMarcus Beasley; Andrew Wenger, Ricardo Clark, Collen Warner, Boniek Garcia (Lionel Miranda 73), Alex; Will Bruin (Mauro Manotas 61) [Subs Not Used: Joe Willis, Jalil Anibaba, Agus, David Rocha, Cristian Maidana]
On if he was happy or disappointed with the result:
“If you would have asked me after the first half I would have said not happy. After the second half, I think they showed a lot of courage, we showed a lot of courage in the second half, a lot of togetherness, and a lot of spirit. Because I didn’t think that we were at the races in the first half and I told them at halftime, but credit to them in the second half because I think we dominated the second half. We were unlucky probably not to win the game.”
On explanation for two straight games with poor first halves and better second halves:
“No I can’t. It’s probably not the best time to ask me until I look at it. But I think it’s a microcosm of our season at the moment. We are where we are because we’ve made individual errors at the back, and they’ve cost us. But we’ve dug ourselves out of a whole a couple times and again we did today. But we need to be better than that and we will be, but it’s hard work that gets you better.”
On Jordan Smith’s performance:
“I thought he was very strong in his performance. Jordan probably hasn’t played as many times as he probably would have liked, due to Fraser Aird coming in the team and doing very well. When you get your opportunity you’ve got to take it and I thought he certainly took it today. He was positive, especially in the second half. He was quite brave in his decisions and he put a number of good balls into the box, so it was a strong performance by Jordan.”
On the red card and if there is anything he can do to address recurring discipline:
“Yes, but I can’t tell you probably. I might as well just press play. I’m not sure. I just spoke to my player there, and again, I’m disappointed. I don’t like red cards, they spoil games and we’ve seen it a number of times. I think it changed the dynamic of the game again today. You know I’m not sure, because obviously I’m not allowed to speak to the referee, I get told not to speak to the referee and they don’t speak after. So I’m not sure why, but I’m told he got sent off for pushing him in the face. Pedro says he didn’t touch him in the face. So again, I haven’t seen it, I don’t know. But if he’s pushed him in the face, then deserved red card. I’m not going to sit here and say he shouldn’t have got a red card. But if he hasn’t touched him in the face, then I’m not sure.”
On his players dealing better with frustrations at refs:
“I can tell them, and I do tell them, because I know what the league is like. But I also understand from their point of view because I’ve been where they’ve sat. if it’s a foul, it’s a foul. I’ve been taught and I’ve learned to communicate with referees in the right way and have a rapport with them. So I understand it from both sides but the tone was set today from the kick off when it happened. It went straight forward, there was a challenge between Tim Parker and Will Bruin. The ball was won, free kick. The tone was set.”
On whether Pedro Morales’ sending off actually helped the team:
“It [actually] helped up. The first 20 minutes we weren’t actually doing very well. I thought they were the better team and they deservedly got their goal, even though we made one or two mistakes in the lead up to the goal. Dynamic change when the sending offs happened, whether they were a red card or not, doesn’t matter, it changed. We regrouped, especially at half time. We got our boys together. We showed a calmness in our play today. We were playing with ten, we worked as if we had 11 players. That was the thing that pleased me. It helped us.”
On his second half save to preserve the 1-1 draw:
“Yeah, a quality save and that was needed to come up big there to gain a point. That point can be crucial. I do feel the need to be better on a number of points, especially the first half. We weren’t at the races, but the second half we can take a lot away from that performance. The work rate was up to standard and we had the chances.”
On Rivero’s goal:
“Great goal. He found the right position, he struck it perfectly, and I’m happy for the guy for getting that goal. He deserved it. He works hard, especially the second half he had a number of chances, so I’m happy with that goal.”
On if it was two points dropped:
“I think that that would be the negative way to look at it, two points lost. The positive is that it’s one point gained and that can be a crucial point coming down to the end of the season. But I do agree with you in the sense that three points is crucial in a game like this and we had opportunities to go and win that game.”
On the red card incident:
“You see Pedro get pushed in the face and I think the rule, if I’m right, if you get pushed in the face or touched in the face it’s a red card. I didn’t see what Pedro did but again, we need to look at that after. But that’s no excuse whether one person gets sent off or the next. Like David said, first half a couple lapses in focus. I think in the second half we did have opportunities to win and it’s about being clinical in the final third and taking those chances.”
ASSISTANT COACH WADE BARRETT
Thoughts on the match:
“You know, it’s been an interesting week around our camp. We had a couple days to prepare the team and I will say that we worked really, really hard over the last couple of days of having a specific plan. Coming to Vancouver is always difficult. They have a lot of good attacking players. They have a lot of different things they can throw at you. We wanted to make sure that we were compact and tough to play against. I thought when it was eleven versus eleven, I thought the players did exactly what we asked of them. Then when the red cards happened, it kind of changed the game a little bit. I think it felt a little bit more open in the second half, as they will, when both teams lose a man. The players did an excellent job of following the plan that we had come up with and I’m really proud of the effort that they put in.”
Thoughts on Houston’s goal:
“Not particularly on one side or the other [on exploiting the Whitecaps’ right hand side], but yeah, we wanted to try and have one or two passes inside and then come back to try and suck them in, and then to try and get behind. It was something that we talked about and the guys worked it really well on that particular play. DaMarcus makes the play happen, he does. He makes a really nice run for it and played a nice ball through. It worked out.”
On whether he thinks they should have gotten more than a point:
“You know, the game works out as the game works out. I was proud of the fact that the guys really stuck to the game plan. I mean that was the one thing we asked of them. We asked from them: discipline and organization. We stressed that, we stressed how we wanted to play and what we wanted to do. Like you said, eleven versus eleven, I thought our guys did a very, very good job of making it difficult for Vancouver to find those pockets of space and get in behind us. They are a very dangerous team, where if you get too high, there’s space behind and they’ve got players that can exploit that. Like Morales, they can play the through ball and you’ve got Techera, you’ve got Manneh. Rivero makes really good runs into the channel. So that was one thing we wanted to limit. You’ll never completely limit those kinds of things and they have players that are so good at it, but I thought our guys did a really good job.”
On the team’s performance after a difficult week:
“It was a difficult week. When something like this happens, it’s an opportunity for the players and the team to take a step further away from one another or it’s an opportunity for them to take a step closer to the group. I think you could see right away that players were taking a step closer to the group. When something like this happens, that’s what you need. You have to have the players circle the wagons and say you know what, this group right here, let’s try and find a solution to get a positive result on the weekend. The attitude that the players showed the last couple of days, in difficult circumstances, I’m really, really proud of.”
Thoughts on his goal:
“We give the ball to Bony [Boniek Garcia] and let our midfield do the work. Alex played a great ball to me. You know we do have players that can play football, and that’s a good part to have for myself and our outside mids trying to get forward. We can keep the ball and handle the ball under pressure, and that’s what we did. He played a perfect ball and it was up to me to try to make the keeper have to make a save. My job is not to score goals, but if it helps the team it helps the team.”
On pulling together this week:
“Yes of course. That’s what we needed, and it showed. It was a very professional performance. Games like this, to give up a goal in the second half, kind of early, we usually just go down. These kind of games, this kind of season, we usually lose those games, but we stayed true to our tactics and we stayed true to our game plan. They had more of the ball, of course, but we limited them to a couple good chances and Tyler made some great saves, but we also had some good chances. Goalkeepers made some big saves for each team. We can be proud of today, but it’s just the start and hopefully we forget this game and right now we get ready for Dallas on Thursday.”
On big saves from Tyler Deric:
“That’s what it’s about. Everyone does their part, and Tyler is a big part of that. Goalkeepers are supposed to keep you in the game and that’s what he did today. We had a couple headers off free kicks and corner kicks that could have won the game, and Tyler would have been a big part of that if we got the winner. He did his job, and some. Hats off to Tyler. He did well today and he keeps showing that he’s a great young keeper and he has a bright future.”
On pulling together this week:
“I think as a whole it was an excellent performance. Considering the unexpected things going on this week, it could have been a distraction. These guys, we really rallied together and we knew that it was just us and there’s no more excuses. For the performance we put out there, I’m really, really proud of the guys.”
On if he felt he had to do a little bit more:
“I think we didn’t do more physically, but I think mentally we cleared up a lot of things. Leading into the game I think we had a clear idea of what we wanted to do and we executed very well. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get all three points, but you’ve got to give credit to Vancouver, they’re a good team. I thought we performed extremely well today.”
On what they need to do to turn things around:
“I think just keep putting in performances like this and keep digging out points and grinding out points. Nothing is going to be given to us, we have to work harder now for everything that we want, and if we want it bad enough we’ll get it.”