Every team is missing some stars — the international break taking at least a few from most rosters — but as we were reminded when Vancouver met Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium, not all stars shine the same at club level. Kenny Miller was called up for Scotland, and although he’s played well for the Whitecaps, his loss doesn’t compare to the absences of Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia, two Best XI-caliber players. Also missing Jermaine Taylor, Houston should have been the more hamstrung side on Saturday.
If that was the case, the never showed it. Thanks to two second half goals, Houston won their second game of the season, 2-1, in what was ultimately a very Dynamo performance.
At the onset, it didn’t look like a comeback would be necessary. Houston controlled more of the ball, and playing at a venue that’s become a fortress, the Dynamo were able to dictate the game’s tempo.
All of which went for naught when Darren Mattocks did this:
That’s the kind of talent that makes a player a number one pick. That’s the type of threat that means Vancouver may not have goal scoring problems this season. That’s a player that’s destined to be a star in this league.
So the Whitecaps had the game’s biggest talent, but that’s never stopped Houston before. After going into half chasing Mattock’s goal, Houston converted two second half crosses, earning what cynics might call a quintessential Dom Kinnear win.
Credit Ricardo Clark on the first. The Houston midfielder spent most of the night charging toward the right channel. In the 55th minute, those forays paid off when he was in position to receive a ball in the right of the box, loft a cross far post for Gilles Barnes, and assist on the Dynamo’s first goal.
Seven minutes later, chaos in the six-yard box following a corner kick left Warren Creavalle to clean up for his first MLS goal, his score making up for two bad first half misses.
A 2-1 home win where the Dynamo wore down their opponent, converted a couple of crosses – that’s textbook Houston, right? Perhaps, although tonight’s textbook was missing a few of its key chapters.
“They’re not filling in,” Dominic Kinnear said of the absent players after the match. “They’re playing. We always say that. These guys, they’re not here to replace somebody. They’re here to keep us winning hopefully. There’s no mention of the guys who are not here because we cannot do anything about that.
Against an opponent choosing from almost all of their first choice players, the Dynamo still got a result. And in the process, they handed Vancouver their first loss of the season.