Friday, April 8, 2011

Houston vs Whitecaps FC Match Preview



Unavailable for the last two games due to international duty, Russell Teibert will be a welcome addition to the starting eleven.  Due to illness, Teibert only played in two of the three games and should be ready to go as a starter or substitute.  Except for the final 20 minutes of the Sporting KC’s game there has been very little excitement on the left side and Teibert should help with that.

With Brian Ching missing due to injury, Geoff Cameron will have to carry the offensive load for the Dynamo.  The MLS veteran will be at the attacking midfield position and will be relied on to provide distribution as well as taking his fair share of shots on goal.


The Whitecaps really need their captain to return to full strength to solidify their back line as Jay DeMerit will allow others to return to their original position.  The Whitecaps will need their defenders, including DeMerit, to play mistake free soccer as the Dynamo attack waits for the opposition to make an error and then counter attacks with good results.

Whoever starts at right back, whether it be Danny Cruz, Kofi Sarkodi or Canadian Andre Hainault, will be important because they will have to deal with the combination of Rochat (if he starts there) and Teibert (if he starts).  The Whitecaps had success with those two in the opener and could be their way to attack in this game.


Many in the media felt that Alain Rochat was instantly the best left back in MLS when he signed in January with the Caps.  With every game Rochat is proving to be one of the best overall defenders in the league as he has had two games on the left and two in the middle of the back line.  There has been some talk that Rochat might see time in the central midfield against Houston.

Both draws against the Sounders and Red Bulls were earned fully by goalkeeper Tally Hall.  The MVP of the season so far for Houston, Hall has stolen two games for the team and will need to again if the Dynamo are to win this game and earn three points for the first time this season.


The Whitecaps are suffering from an injury bug that has been moving from position to position as for the first four games the central defense and winger positions were depleted by injury.  This game will see the Caps have to create a makeshift midfield due to injuries their top 2 players, Dunfield and Thorrington and backup, Morfaw. 

The Dynamo have struggled to score and need first round draft pick Will Bruin to step up and contribute, especially with Brian Ching out with an injury.  While it may be a lot to ask a young player to score goals immediately early in his professional career, Bruin does need to use his size to create space for others in the box.


Last Game: 1-1 Draw vs New England Revolution

Last Game:  1-1 Draw at New York Red Bulls


The Whitecaps will have the same pairing up front for the third straight game as Atiba Harris will be joined by Camilo.  The wide midfielders may return to opening match starters as Teibert returns from international duty and Chiumiento should be at full health by Sunday.  I think the central midfield should have Khalfan and Harmse start with the Tanzanian moving forward on attack and the Canadian hanging back in a holding position.  To solidify the back line I would have DeMerit and Boxall in the middle while Leathers and Rochat remain on the outside.  Jay Nolly had his best game in goal and has earned another start, his first on the road.

The Dynamo should start Weaver, last week’s goal scorer, with Bruin up top if Ching is unable to go by game time.  Cameron should play centrally in an attacking role with Palmer hanging back and Ashe and Davis out wide.  With Taylor still out, Canadian Andre Hainault starts with Boswell in the centre and Freeman and Cruz will be the fullbacks.  Tally Hall will start this game and barring injury, he will start every game this season.

INJURIES (According to MLS Injury Report)

OUT:  MF Michael Nanchoff (groin), DF Greg Janicki (hip), Terry Dunfield (groin)
QUESTIONABLE:  MF John Thorrington(quad), MF Shea Salinas (knee)
PROBABLE:  DF Jay DeMerit, DF Mouloud Akloul

OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion), DF Jermaine Taylor (foot)
DOUBTFUL: FW Brian Ching (ribs)
QUESTIONABLE:  MF Brad Davis (hamstring)




The Whitecaps make their second trip on the road and first to the Southern part of the States.  The game plan doesn’t change whether they are on the road or not, so expect the players to come out attacking the Dynamo.  If the Caps want to earn their first win on the road they will have to get chances early and often and play a mistake free game.  The Caps endurance will be tested as well as the temperature on Sunday is expected to reach 31 degrees Celsius and feel like it’s 39.  Luckily the game starts in the evening (6 pm locally) and by then it should get a little cooler.  I think Hall continues his strong play and earns the clean sheet with the Caps duplicating the same scoreline as in Philadelphia.

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