Report and Reaction: Whitecaps have six appeal in Dynamo demolition

Report and Reaction: Whitecaps have six appeal in Dynamo demolition

The wait for their first ever win in Vancouver goes on for Houston Dynamo. The Whitecaps spanked them with six of the best at BC Place on Wednesday evening in a crazy game full of crisp finishes, defensive calamities, and even a red card as the ‘Caps ran out 6-2 victors.

An incredible opening period saw four goals, two apiece, coming in the first 18 minutes, aided by some abject defending from both teams. Pedro Vite had given the Whitecaps the lead after just 15 seconds before goals from Corey Baird and Amine Bassi had the visitors in the lead by the 16 minute mark. Julian Gressel restored parity two minutes later and that was how it stayed until 10 seconds into the second half when Brian White added a fourth for the home side.

Gressel grabbed his second before Nelson Quiñónes saw a straight red for the visitors after lashing out at Mathias Laborda. The Whitecaps then turned the screw and a pair of late goals from Sebastian Berhalter and Ryan Gauld saw Vancouver hit the Texans for six and move up to sixth in the MLS Western Conference standings.

Vanni Sartini made four changes to the team that were the masters of their own downfall in St Louis at the weekend. Two of those came defensively, with Yohei Takaoka returning between the sticks and Laborda coming in to play centreback in a 4-3-2-1 formation once again. If the hope was that these changes would help prevent further horrific defending from the Whitecaps, well that plan soon derailed.

It all started so well, as the Whitecaps took the lead with their first attack of the match, grabbing their fastest ever MLS goal and the lead just 15 seconds in.

Gauld sent the ball high in towards the box looking for White. The Dynamo defenders didn’t deal with it well allowing White to knock the ball outside to Vite, who lashed the ball home for his third goal in four matches.

Just the start the Whitecaps needed but then the wheels quickly came off and their propensity for gifting the opposition goals came back to the fore.

Houston got themselves back on level terms in the 8th minute when Baird volleyed home a cross to the back of the box from six yards out. Officially, Adalberto Carrasquilla got the assist, but in reality the goal was helped all the way by Javain Brown, who completely missed connecting with the ball with a diving header as he tried to clear, allowing it to run through to Baird to finish.

Eight minutes later and Houston had the lead.

Daniel Steres sent a perfectly weighted ball forward and as Bassi brought it down beautifully to finish with aplomb and the Dynamo had a shock lead.

It had been quite the turnaround but the visitor’s lead only lasted two minutes before the Whitecaps got back on level terms in the 18th minute.

Luis Martins sent in a great cross from the left which was flicked on to Gressel at the back post and the German hit home to make it 2-2 and game very much back on.

Both sides had chances to break the deadlock for the rest of the half, with Houston coming the closest in the 23rd minute when Carrasquilla crashed one off the post. Neither team could find the breakthrough and the teams went in level.

It was another half of appalling defending by the Whitecaps and Sartini made the tactical change at the break of pulling of Brown and bringing on Ranko Veselinovic.

If the first half started with a quick bang, the second half said hold my drink and the Whitecaps were back in the lead just 10 seconds into it.

The kick off came to Martins, who sent a long ball forward to White, who in turn chested it down to Gauld. Looking to emulate their first half heroics, the Scot crashed one off the right post from 20 yards out. The rebound fell kindly to White, who had the easy job of sweeping the ball home into the empty net and it was 3-2 Vancouver from out of nowhere just 10 seconds after the restart.

This time their defence held firm and they added to their lead a minute before the hour mark.

Gauld powered forward and his deflected shot was parried away by Clark. The rebound fell perfectly for Gressel, who volleyed home for his second of the night and the Whitecaps led 4-2 and finally had some breathing space.

The Dynamo’s night went from bad to worse in the 69th minute when Quiñónes was sent off for hitting out at Laborda after he kicked the ball away to prevent a quick thrown in being taken. The Uruguayan went down very easily but it was stupid from Quiñónes to make the referee make the decision.

The Whitecaps went for the jugular and went nap in the 88th minute when a poor Dynamo defensive clearance fell to Berhalter on the edge of the box and the American chested the ball down before lashing it into the postage stamp corner for his first ever MLS goal.

The ‘Caps weren’t finished though and they made it six in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Berhalter was provider this time after receiving a nice ball inside from Deiber Caicedo. Hitting the byeline, he cut it back for Gauld to sweep home his first goal of the year, and this time no-one was taking it away from him!

And that was that. A very strange match. One which Sartini said afterwards was the team’s worst performance of the season and at times it certainly was. It was a poor first half performance but a dominant second half one.

It was a match that saw the Whitecaps set a new club record with six goals scored in an MLS match and was the third time this season, across all competitions, that the ‘Caps have scored five or more goals at BC Place, and the first time that they have done so three times in one season.

All of those were positives, but there’s no getting away from some of that defending in the first half. The team need to sort that out and quickly. As good as they were in the second half, it’s those continued defensive lapses that will prevent the team from being playoff contenders to just also rans. The good news is there’s a lot of time to get that fixed and they’re getting the points on the board now.

Next up is a much improved Sporting Kansas City at BC Place on Saturday evening and another home game they have to take all three points from.

FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 6 – 2 Houston Dynamo

ATT: 13,222

1’ – VAN – Pedro Vite (Brian White)
8’ – HOU – Corey Baird (Coco Carrasquilla, Amine Bassi)
16’ – HOU – Amine Bassi (Daniel Steres)
18’ – VAN – Julian Gressel (Ryan Gauld, Luís Martins)
46’ – VAN – Brian White
59’ – VAN – Julian Gressel
88’ – VAN – Sebastian Berhalter
90’+5’ – VAN – Ryan Gauld (Sebastian Berhalter, Déiber Caicedo)

Possession: VAN 47% – HOU 53%
Shots: VAN 16 – HOU 13
Shots on Goal: VAN 7 – HOU 7
Saves: VAN 5 – HOU 1
Fouls: VAN 12 – HOU 7
Offsides: VAN 3 – HOU 1
Corners: VAN 3 – HOU 2

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Javain Brown (Ranko Veselinović 46′), Mathías Laborda, Tristan Blackmon, Luís Martins; Julian Gressel (Russell Teibert 72’), Andrés Cubas, Alessandro Schöpf (Sebastian Berhalter 63’); Pedro Vite (Déiber Caicedo 78’), Ryan Gauld; Brian White (Sergio Córdova 72’) [Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Karifa Yao, Ryan Raposo, Simon Becher]

HOUSTON: Steve Clark; Franco Escobar, Daniel Steres (Erik Sviatchenko 79’), Ethan Bartlow, Micael dos Santos; Hector Herrera (Ivan Franco 89’), Artur (Luis Caicedo 79’), Coco Carrasquilla; Corey Baird (Nelson Quinones 63’), Ibrahim Aliyu (Thor Ulfarsson 63’), Amine Bassi [Substitutes not used: Andrew Tarbell, Sebastian Ferreira, Chase Gasper, Brooklyn Raines]




On the win:

“I think it was our worst performance of the season to be honest. The first half was, I want to say a word that is not a bad word, but it’s really, really, really hard not to say because I think we were terrible. The first half we were like completely terrible. Houston should have been up at least by two goals. The second half actually we played very well. You see the difference when we play the well and we do what we’re supposed to do, instead of everyone trying to do everything by themselves. So that’s two completely different pictures. So guys, don’t get misguided by the results, because I’m the first one who defends the team, who says that we play well even when we lose but today we’ve been very, very, very lucky.”

On the play to start the second half:

“One winning the kickoff and one scoring on our routine. And guys, please, write it down and underline and highlight it. [The second half kickoff goal] was prepared by my assistant coach Michael D’Agostino. So I’m very happy about that.”

On getting contributions from the bench:

“It’s one of the things that I’m most proud of, when someone comes off the bench and is one of the protagonists of the game, because it means that first of all, everyone is involved in what we do in training and everyone knows what to do. The second thing, everyone is ready to go every time. I think Ranko [Veselinovic] and Sebastian [Berhalter] today, Sebastian especially, were very good. Déiber [Caicedo] too, Sergio [Cordova] when they came on, Rusty [Teibert] too. I think it’s really rare when someone comes in and is not active in the game. So I’m very happy about it.”


On the win:

“It was a weird game, the first half wasn’t very good from our standpoint in terms of defensive pressure and structure. But I think we made the right adjustments in the second half and got a good half in the second, obviously scoring four goals.”

On the first and second half of the game:

“Realistically, we had a bad first half and a really good second half and it’s important to acknowledge the mistakes that we’re making in the first half because other teams can punish us and we’d be out of the game in the first half. So it’s important to analyze the mistakes we made in that area obviously, like you said stay level headed because you know we play against a good team on Saturday against Kansas City and so we have to be prepared for that.”


On scoring his first career goal:

“It was good, I kind of just got the ball on the top of the box. As soon as I took that touch off my chest I just saw it and I let it fly. Then from there, the goal and to see all my teammates, you know it’s all to them, so I’m super happy.”

On the six goals scored in tonight’s match:

“Yeah it’s great, I think everyone played a role. You see that everyone did their job and when we do that I think goals can come from anywhere. So yeah, it was good.”



On tonight’s game:

“It’s emotional, and that’s okay. It’s okay for us to have an emotional chat in the locker room afterwards. We were naïve. I don’t think everybody showed up. The prep was good. We understood what they were going to look like and how they were going to be successful. We just didn’t have enough men on the field. Again, naïve and the physicality. They won so many duels. The forwards, what they did to our center backs, you’re not going to win a game if that’s the case. We fight back and get in 2-2 at halftime. It could have been three or 4-2 at halftime to us, so the first half, pretty good. We started the game giving up a goal in 30 seconds, and then we battled back to 2-2 on the road. It was kind of a wild half. Then you start the second half, and you give up a goal in 30 seconds again the same way you gave it up in the first half in the same way we prepared for in what they do well. That part is just unacceptable. We have to take this on the chin and try to regroup. It’s one loss, so I’m not worried about the score necessarily. It’s a loss on the road. I’m concerned that we didn’t show up in the way we needed to for this game. We’re not good enough yet to not have players show up and give everything and to have their bellies empty and not be hungrier than the team we’re playing against. That was concerning tonight. So, maybe we’re still thinking about the Austin win. But saying that, it’s a chance to respond. We have a quick turnaround. We’re going cross-country, which is not always easy. Now we go to St. Louis for another tough place to play in a tough league. Hopefully it gives us a chance to respond and maybe learn a hard lesson of what makes us good and when we get ourselves in trouble.”

On being more open in attack tonight:

“It’s natural. You eat one early, now we have to go and now we’re chasing the game. Then we get two back, and then we give up kind of another soft goal and we just weren’t dialed in enough in the key moments. We did create a lot of chances. The first half, we hit bar and (Aliyu) Ibrahim has two or three really good looks. Again, could have been 4-2 at halftime to us. There was a lot of good, and there’s a lot of good offensive stuff, but you have to make sure you’re not exposed. I thought too many times we left ourselves exposed. We lost a lot of individual duels. They had a little bit more pace to the second balls, and we didn’t defend very well. Then the red card it’s 4-2. We could still make something out of it, and then you get a red card and chasing a game down to 10 men. That’s never a lot of fun. A naïve play from Nelson (Quiñónes). He’s young, so he’ll learn from that. But we’ve had too many reds this year, and we have to find the edge of that line. Too many times we’ve gone over.”

HECTOR HERRERA (translated from Spanish)

On today’s result:

“Difficult, difficult to explain a what happened in the game. Here is a short summary, we were two teams during the game. A team during the first half, that despite conceding a quick goal, reacted, we settled in well, we were in a good position. Creating opportunities in which we could have scored more goals. In the second half, we were totally another team. We make the same mistake that we made on the first goal, but now in the second half. Then we settled in. We were more disorganized and desperate in wanting to respond quickly when there was a lot of time left. We didn’t have that patience, that tranquility and that experience of being able to play our game like we did in the first half.”

On the loss:

Authored by: Michael McColl

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