Final: Vancouver And Darren Mattocks Punish Houston, Win 3-1

It was always going to be an effort for Houston to defend well with three of their four starting defenders away on international duty, and Vancouver was able to exploit that advantage three times in the night.

Vancouver started very strongly, catching the Dynamo flatfooted out of the locker room, with Darren Mattocks scoring in the third minute off a cross from the right side goal line. Mattocks was able to split Houston’s defense, getting between Bobby Boswell and Nathan Sturgis, before tapping in the ball past Tally Hall.

Houston controlled much of the rest of the first half, capitalizing on some sloppy passing from Vancouver. The Dynamo came closest to bringing the game level towards the end of the half when Bobby Boswell found himself unmarked on the far post. His volleyed effort was struck well but straight at Joe Cannon, who parried the shot away.

The game continued at a hurried pace in the second half, and Darren Mattocks was the man in form a second time when a Koffie pass again split the Houston defense, creating the space for the Jamaican to double Vancouver’s league. Warren Creavelle should have done better marking Mattocks’ run, and Hall was slow off his line, but the pass was beautiful and the finish deserved.

Houston made Vancouver sweat it out when substitute forward Macoumba Kandji, who came on for captain Brian Ching, scored a goal in the 84th minute. Houston was pressing hard and a poor clearance gifted Kandji the ball in the center of the box. The forward struck a solid effort which Joe Cannon was able to get a hand on, but was unable to keep the shot out of the back of the net.

The Dynamo forced players up field, shifting from a 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2 formation, and were punished for the tactical shift when Jordan Harvey scored a third goal for Vancouver in the 87th minute. Harvey pressed up from his midfield position and pressured Brian Ownby who looked caught between clearing the ball and passing back to Hall, creating just enough space for Harvey to strike his effort into the back of the net.

Houston will look to bounce back next weekend against Dallas and will have a stronger line-up available, but head coach Dominic Kinnear will not be pleased with tonight’s performance.

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