Whitecaps Stumble into International Break After 2-1 Loss

by Michael Martinez

The Whitecaps head into the international break with a 3 match losing streak after falling 2-1 to the  Houston Dynamo. They were hoping that this clash against the Houston Dynamo would give them some life heading into the break, but instead, they were left reeling after the defeat to their MLS Western Conference rivals. 

Lineups

Vancouver Whitecaps: 4-4-2/4-3-3

 

Houston Dynamo: 4-3-3

 

Match Stats

Scoring Summary:

8‘ – HOU – Memo Rodríguez

42‘ – HOU – Maximiliano Urruti (Memo Rodríguez)

80‘ – VAN – Déiber Caicedo (Lucas Cavallini)

Statistics:

Possession: HOU 39.1% – VAN 60.9%

Shots: HOU 14 – VAN 11

Shots on Goal: HOU 3 – VAN 2

Saves: HOU 1 – VAN 1

Fouls: HOU 15 – VAN 10

Offsides: HOU 1 – VAN 1

Corners: HOU 6 – VAN 6

Cautions:

21‘ – VAN – Lucas Cavallini (Yellow)

22‘ – HOU – Derrick Jones (Yellow)

32‘ – HOU – Joe Corona (Yellow)

52‘ – VAN – Janio Bikel (Yellow)

81‘ – VAN – Michael Baldisimo (Yellow)

82‘ – HOU – Boniek García (Yellow)

88‘ – HOU – Fafa Picault (Yellow)  

 

Match Review

After a strong start to the season, the best we have seen under MDS so far, the Whitecaps have lost 3 games in a row after Saturday. We are finding ourselves back to where we started last year, after seemingly making positive strides to start the new year. 

The Whitecaps would start off the match with most of the possession but found themselves woken up in the eighth minute thanks to Dynamo midfielder, Memo Rodriguez. Memo pounced on a loose ball in the area to give Houston the early advantage. 

After the first goal, the Whitecaps would continue to hold the majority of possession and a few chances came with it. Thanks to efforts from Alexandre, Cava, and rookie Javain Brown, it appeared as though the boys had a bit of spark to them. 

Naturally, no goals came from those chances but they were a solid effort as the team did not look down and out. They continued to apply pressure to try and get themselves back into the game. 

However, the Dynamo were not having it. Having escaped the swarm of pressure practically unscathed, Houston would make the Whitecaps pay for their poor finishing, as Urruti would find his team’s 2nd goal in the 42nd minute. Off of a corner, he found himself completely unmarked at the back post, allowing him to volley home an emphatic finish to extend the lead. 

We go into the half down by two having failed to capitalize on key chances. MDS also brought on Baldisimo at the half for Teibert who was having another mediocre game. How he continues to start is beyond me. It also appeared that the Whitecaps moved to a 4-3-3 (should have been from the start by the way) formation, just like last match against Minnesota. 

Unfortunately, it was just too much of the same old story for the Whitecaps while on the  road. They came out of the gates slowly and were deservedly punished for it. Because of this, they spent the rest of the match just trying to drag themselves back into it. 

The second half wouldn’t see too many chances fall for either side, a few here and there but nothing too exciting. It wasn’t until in the 80th minute that the Whitecaps found some life thanks to a giveaway at the back from the Dynamo. Cavallini picked up the loose ball and found Caicedo wide open inside the box, who calmly dribbled past the Dynamo goalkeeper and smashed the ball into the back of the net. 

This would be Caicedo’s first goal of the season! He has been hungry for it and 100% deserved it. This would also be the Whitecaps’ first goal from open play all season. 6.5 matches, or 620 minutes… That is scary to even think about. But for this match, I will take it. 

 

Post Match Thoughts

This match is a weird one to report on. On one hand, you are obviously disappointed in how the match ended as well as our recent form, 3 losses in a row… But then on the other, you have to admire how they did not put their heads down and give up. They still fight for every match, it’s just that they should not be trying to dig themselves out of the hole they already created. 

The story is the same as it has been over the last few years, the Whitecaps are just their own enemy. This is costing the team so many points and it’s just going to bite them in the butt more often than none. This lengthy international break could not come at a better time. 

We know that MDS likes to stick with trusty 4-4-2 formation cause it is very well balanced. This helps us retain possession so much as well as keep control of the midfield. Despite that, there are just not enough chances being created. It’s time to go full into the 4-3-3. 

The team has done this two matches in a row now, switching formations at the half along with bringing Baldi into the match. The team has more life in it and their play looks much more fluid. It is a small sample size to go with, but I think reassessing the 4-3-3 and making that the main focus going forward would be beneficial. 

 

“Yeah, I think we have an assessment to do,” Dos Santos said. “Okay, we played these first 7 games, we saw the tendencies of each player, we saw the qualities of each player, what’s the best way to originate chances, and now, we have to figure out what’s the best way to play.”

 

With the whole squad being close to being fully healthy, this is a chance for the Whitecaps to reset and find their footing again. Hopefully returning to some sort of the form they showed in the first few games of the season. It’s still early in the season, meaning that there’s still plenty of time to get this ship back on track. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later. 

Following the FIFA international break from May 31 to June 14, the Whitecaps take on Real Salt Lake on Friday, June 18. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT at Rio Tinto Stadium. Watch it on TSN or ESPN+

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