So many talking points in Vancouver Whitecaps’ draw with Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon, so few of them positive!
If we start with the plusses, then fighting back from being a goal behind at half time, a peach of a strike from Octavio Rivero and another game where the ‘Caps went down to ten men but didn’t concede a goal.
All good, but not good enough to earn three points against the worst team in the West. A team who had just lost to the worst team in all of MLS and were in turmoil after sacking Owen Coyle midweek.
But full credit to Houston, they regrouped after all their troubles, took the game to Vancouver and opened the scoring through DaMarcus Beasley 20 minutes in. They’ll be disappointed not to come away just a point on the one hand, but on the other they had a fantastic goalkeeping display from Tyler Deric to earn even that, keeping out a multitude of Whitecaps chances.
He couldn’t keep out Rivero’s 52nd minute beautiful strike with the outside of his foot and that was enough for a share of the spoils.
And of course, and unfortunately, no MLS game would be complete without the referee taking centre stage.
Blowing for a foul straight from kick off set the tone. A blatant non-call for a penalty on Rivero was next, and as the yellows came out for Vancouver players, but stayed in Drew Fischer’s pocket for Houston ones, frustration grew amongst the ‘Caps.
It exploded three minutes before half time when ‘Caps captain Pedro Morales and the Dynamo’s Alex clashed, shoved, saw red, then shoved some more.
Another red card for Vancouver and another one that doesn’t really reflect the true nature of this team. Carl Robinson is as sick to death talking about referees and decisions every week as we are asking him about it.
Something has to change and if we’re being honest, in needs to on both sides, players and referees.
Despite the down feeling coming out of the game, the Whitecaps actually rose a place in the standings with the point. As we head into a three week MLS break for Copa, the ‘Caps are sitting fairly pretty. Just wait till this team actually starts showing some consistency!
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the action before, during and after the game and here’s his “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.[Also check out Tom’s website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
Fly it high and fly it proud for Vancouver
Martyn Pert clearly wondering who thought it was wise to give Marius Rovde two coffees!
The Whitecaps starting XI – but this positioning is just so not right
The other guys – love the strip though
Pedro Morales turns beautifully in the box early on but his shot is the first of many saved by Dynamo keeper Tyler Deric
As the ball comes in to Octavio Rivero in the box, Sheanon Williams clearly wraps his arms around him
Pulling him back, but no penalty – the start of the ‘Caps frustrations with referee Drew Fischer
Houston take the lead in the 20th minute when Cristian Techera fails to track DaMarcus Beasley’s run and the veteran heads in to goal
Beating David Ousted and slotting away the opener
Signalling relief after a turbulent week
Octavio Rivero gets a chance to pop away a quick equaliser
But Tyler Deric comes up big again
Russell Teibert’s shoelace picks up a 40th minute booking
Two minutes later, Alex goes in hard on Pedro Morales
And all hell breaks loose
The two South Americans square up to each other before both see red cards
Sad Pedro reflects
Andrew Jacobson is next to see Tyler Deric keep him out just before half time
But the second half gets underway in better ways for the ‘Caps as the ball comes to Octavio Rivero in the box in the 52nd minute
And he hits it home with the outside of his foot, sparking sheer joy
On and off the pitch
Rivero then takes a knee to his back that may have done more damage than initially thought
Before Deric comes up huge once more
Jacobson has a headed chance in the closing minutes
But his goalbound effort is brilliantly kept out again by Deric
Before Ousted shows that anything the Dynamo keeper can do, he can do better, earning the ‘Caps a point in the process
You can see all of Tom’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: