The Vancouver Whitecaps (2-0 ,6pts) made it back-to-back 2-1 wins to open their 2018 campaign as they knocked off the Houston Dynamo (1-1, 3pts) on the road. Both goals for Vancouver came against the run of play as Houston were in control of the match for a large portion of the game but failed to convert possession into goals.
Houston was the more aggressive side in the first half as Alberth Elis lead the attack for the Dynamo. Vancouver chose to stay deep in their own end and look to counter with the speed of Alphonso Davies and Kei Kamara which allowed Houston to take shots at keeper Stefan Marinovic and probe into the box.
Houston would get two dangerous chances within the first 10 minutes of the match, both coming from balls crossed into the box from the right side. The first opportunity came from Elis tracking down a long pass behind the defense and then putting a cross into the center of the box. Andrew Wenger makes a great run inside of his defender to get to the ball first but his volley would go wide of the far post.
The second chance saw Tomas Martinez get a pass towards the endline before putting in another cross right to the top of the six-yard-box for Mauro Manotas. Kendall Waston gave Manotas too much space behind him and overran the cross, giving Manotas a wide open header that he hit over the bar.
Vancouver continued to allow Houston to distribute the ball in the box, leading to DaMarcus Beasley getting a close range shot at goal. His shot looked to be to the far post but Marinovic was fortunate to trap the ball and stop the chance.
Vancouver would get the breakthrough against the run of play as Kamara was shoved in the back inside of the Dynamo penalty area for an easy penalty kick call. Kamara stepped up himself, scoring his 100th MLS goal by beating a diving Chris Seitz to the keepers right.
Sloppy passing and a lack of control in the midfield allowed Houston to tie the game in the 39th minute as Vancouver struggled to clear their end. Dynamo continued to pressure the Whitecap defence and finally were able to get the ball to Elis with enough space in the box to cut back to his right foot and finish over the shoulder of Marinovic.
The first half substitute Brek Shea would score the winner just minutes into the second half as Vancouver countered brilliantly to get Shea on a breakaway. Aaron Maund cleared cross from Houston up the sideline to Shea.
Shea passed the ball off to Kamara at midfield who quickly gave it back to Shea at full sprint past Beasley. Now one-on-one with Seitz, Shea calmly slotted the shot near post past the keeper to give Vancouver a lead they would not concede.
Houston did their best to switch the field and stretch Vancouver defensively but the chances they created were either broken up by great last-ditch defending and big saves by Marinovic The Dynamo were the better side throughout the match but failed to punish multiple mistakes by Vancouver while the Whitecaps were able to slow down the Houston attack enough and then countered extremely well and finished their opportunities.
Vancouver is tied with Los Angeles Football Club for top spot in the Western Conference with six points after two matches and will travel to Atlanta for their next match on Saturday, March 17th as they take on Atlanta United at 4:30 PM PT.