Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Houston Dynamo at B.C. Place on September 14, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist.

VANCOUVER, B.C – On a rain soaked Saturday night at B.C. Place, Whitecaps FC earned their 7th victory of the season thanks to a 2-1 draw over the Houston Dynamo. A crowd of 17,382 watched Fredy Montero come off the bench to score the match winner in the 90th minute.

Vancouver improves to 7-15-9 on the season with 30 points. The Dynamo’s chase to the MLS playoffs takes a crushing blow as they fall to 10-16-4 with 34 points.

“I think we deserve the three points.” Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters post match. “This week, the thing we spoke the most about (was) what are the reasons we play for when you have four games to play and there’s no playoffs.

You play for your teammates and for the group that is (training) every day. You play for sponsors, for the club that pays you, for the club that brought you in and believes in you. You play for the fans that, even (when) knocked out, still come in and buy tickets and support the team and follow the team. We have a lot to play for. That’s the right mentality to have.”

Whitecaps FC goalkeeper, Zac MacMath made fives saves to earn his first victory with Vancouver. The veteran MLS keeper also earned his 47th career MLS win.

Number one goalkeeper, and MLS saves leader, Max Crepeau was out of the eighteen due to an ankle injury he picked up while on national team duty with Canada. MacMatch earned his 6th start of the season for Vancouver.

“Zac has worked really hard,” Doneil Henry explained post-match to Har Journalist. “Max (Crepeau) has done really well this season, and solidified himself as a number one keeper. Zac, I thought he did really well today. It’s good for his confidence, and good for the team to know that whenever he’s called upon, he can play.”

Vancouver started in a 4-3-3 formation with Tosaint Ricketts leading the line, flanked by Yordy Reyna, and Michaell Chirinos. It was a familiar story for Whitecaps FC as they struggled to create scoring chances in the final third of play.

Fighting to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, the visiting Houston Dynamo weren’t much better. Coach Davy Arnaud deployed his Forever Orange in a 4-2-3-1 formation. While Mauro Manotas started up top, he didn’t create much. The service from his teammates just wasn’t there. It was a quiet first half, as neither side looked dangerous offensively.

The tide quickly turned in favour of the home side as Vancouver earned a penalty in the 53′ minute. Yordy Reyna sent a free kick into the Dynamo wall that was handled by Manotas. Referee, Robert Sibiga immediately pointed to the spot.

“It’s changing the game.” Dos Santos added. “Am I for VAR? Yes, but limited things. What’s changing is those goals. When I was a kid and you’d (see) players scoring, taking off their jersey, running in the crowd. Now, you score and there’s always suspense. The crowd gets up (in a) good-environment goal, then there’s suspense. That’s killing the game. It’s sad.”

As is with most Whitecaps FC matches, the penalty shout was turned over to a Video Assistant Review (VAR). However, this time, the decision from VAR was confirmed.

“I’m happy,” Henry said. “I’m not going to talk about the VAR, and get myself into trouble. It’s really good that we got one in our favour.”

Vancouver’s designed player, Hwang In-Beom stepped up to take the penalty. In-Beom sent Joe Willis the wrong way to score the opening goal of the match.

The visitors tied the match in the 78th thanks to sloppy rebound control from MacMath. Maynor Figueroa fired on target. MacMath and his defenders failed to clear the rebound. Manotas was a in a perfect position to pounce on the rebound to square the match.

Houston Dynamo held a private closed door meeting following the loss to Vancouver. Swedish international, Adam Lundqvist, spoke post-match about the mood of the team.

“We all knew that the performance was there, it’s just that we were lack in (a) different part of the game. Like I said, we can’t let this affect us anymore. There’s a new game next week, so like I said, there’s another game and you can always move forward. We have to take the positives of this game, keep learning and keep moving forward.”

Just as it looked like both teams were going to settle for a 1-1 draw, Whitecaps FC were able to nic a goal at the death. Montero nut-megged, Houston’s keeper to rescue all three points for Vancouver.

The 32-year-old has been in and out of Vancouver’s starting lineup this season, but he has remained patient and focused. Montero’s winning goal, was also his first goal form open play since May 10, 2019.

“Fredy from the beginning, if he’s in the team, or out of the team,” Henry said. “His mentality, and his attitude never changes. He’s not one of those players that slacks off. He keeps good tendencies, and good qualities as a player. I think that’s why Fredy has always done good at every level.”

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will look to continue to play spoiler as they host Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, September 21 at B.C. Place.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Zac MacMath; Ali Adnan, Derek Cornelius, Doneil Henry(C), Scott Sutter; Russell Teibert, Andy Rose, Hwang In-Beom; Michaell Chirinos, 71 (Theo Bair), Tosaint Ricketts, 81 (Fredy Montero), Yordy Reyna, 90, (Lass Bangoura). 4-3-3

Houston Dynamo Starting XI: Joe Wilis; Adam Lundqvist, Maynor Figueroa, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Jose Bizama; Boniek Garcia, Tommy McNamara, 72 (Memo Rodriguez), Matias Vera; Christian Ramirez, 83 (Ronaldo Pena), Mauro Manotas, Tomas Martinez, 60 (Alberth Elis). 4-2-3-1

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