Morales, Mattocks shine in Whitecaps 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo

March 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | 2 Comments
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The Vancouver Whitecaps needed a personnel change in central midfield for the match against the Houston Dynamo. Sometime during the week Nigel Reo-Coker had a misadventure and came up with a possible concussion and a face full of nasty abrasions and swelling.  The official story was that he was walking down the street looking the other way and then fell over a bike rack. Whatever really happened is unclear, but Gershon Koffie got his first start of the season as a result.  

Koffie was joined by Laba, Morales, and Teibert in midfield. Darren Mattocks started as our striker supported by Kenny Miller. Jay DeMerit was back after his rest, partnered by Andy O’Brien, while Harvey and Beitashour watched over the sidelines.  

Houston fielded its usual team of big strong rugby players.  In terms of footballing skill, the Whitecaps were the Dynamo’s masters on this night.  The Whitecaps pressed for an early goal and should have had one when Miller curled a beautiful cross from the left side in to an unchallenged Mattocks. The surging Mattocks hit the ball first time from 7 yards out just over the crossbar from point blank range.  He really should have scored, and his clumsiness in front of goal would haunt him again in the second half when he got through on a breakaway but was unable to even get a shot off.

Another Mattocks miss...

Another Mattocks miss…

The Whitecaps got the early goal they wanted off of a corner kick just two minutes later, however.  The original corner kick was cleared to Laba, who delivered the ball to Morales on the left wing.  Morales hit the ball first time and found O’Brien at the far post with an astonishingly accurate cross; O’Brien nodded the ball down in front of the net to a charging Jordan Harvey who hit the ball first touch past Tally Hall in Houston’s net.  It was 1-0.  

Mattocks had another chance later on in the first half after Morales found him streaking in on the left flank.  Mattocks eluded a few Houston defenders but shot the ball straight at Hall who gathered without too much trouble.  Mattocks later found Morales late in the half but the midfielder did not get a lot of power on his shot, which again went to the waiting hands of the massive Hall. 

Jordan Harvey: goal machine

Jordan Harvey: goal machine

Darren Mattocks has played very well this year; while he seems to be unable to score a goal, Mattocks created one for the third time this season to make it 2-0 on 56 minutes.  Tiebert found Mattocks with a lovely ball on the left side, and Mattocks jinxed past one defender before selling an outrageous shooting dummy to Houston defender Sarkodie, who ended up flailing on the ground. While on the ground Sarkodie threw his hand over his head and stole the ball from Mattock’s feet with his arm.  The referee was perfectly positioned to make the call; it was a penalty.  

Kenny Miller, who played another intense workmanlike game, went over to claim the ball. Miller is hoping for a contract renewal, and goals help the cause!  Miller chipped his first effort high in the net over a sprawling Hall, but the referee called Mattocks for encroaching into the box before the ball was struck.  Miller again picked up the ball to do the retake, after quizzing the referee about what he was thinking.  Miller hit this one low to the right as Hall dove the other way and it was, finally, 2-0 after 57 minutes.

Houston got one back on a perfectly executed free kick in the 75th minute. The goal looked like a rugby play. Houston lined six giants up who simply bowled over the Whitecaps defenders allowing space for Ricardo Clark to nod a curling ball low to keeper Qusted’s left side. It was unstoppable. Ousted played magnificently well again in spite of conceding a goal, claiming cross after cross in his penalty area to diffuse Houston attacks. Ousted seems to have matured into a very good keeper; his play is much better this season than last year.

Why do I have tae Focken' take it agin???

Why do I have tae Focken’ take it agin???

Coach Carl Robinson used all three substitutes again, bringing Fernandez on for Mattocks, Manneh for Koffie in an attempt to score a third goal; and Mezquida for Morales very late in the match. While the last sub was just a time waster and a chance for the crowd to applaud Morales for his superb game, Manneh and Fernandez were strong subs who brought a new dimension to the Whitecaps’ game. It is so refreshing to see quality players replacing other quality players for the first time since we joined MLS.

Morales was named man of the match, but one has to feel for Darren Mattocks, who seems snakebit yet again this season. He has had plenty of chances to score but it just won’t go in for him. What has changed this year is his the rest of his game which has improved tremendously. He is running into space, passing the ball well, creating goals and working like a beast of burden. Even though he is not scoring, Mattocks is doing a great job for the team. It is a remarkable change of attitude.





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  1. I Agree at the current pace mattocks will get 23 assists and draw 10 penalties..who cares if he scores!

    • Agreed! As long as he is creating goals he doesn’t have to score them. Last year he was neither creating nor scoring.

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