Dynamo-Whitecaps FC Preview
It's been more than two weeks since the Houston Dynamo earned a small measure of revenge while extending their unbeaten run in MLS play.
They're now out to prove they can end a lengthy road winless skid while overcoming the loss of three players to international duty.
The Dynamo, though, could have leading scorer Will Bruin available for Sunday night's visit to the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are seeking their first win in any competition since May 9.
Andre Hainault scored in the 57th minute back on May 26 to help Houston (4-3-4) prevail 2-1 over Los Angeles in a rematch of last year's MLS Cup final and improve to 2-0-2 in its last four league contests.
Hainault, however, won't play in this game as he's currently with the Canadian national team. Geoff Cameron (United States) and Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) will also miss the trip due to World Cup qualifying duty.
"We've always been a team when guys leave, other guys step in and do the job," midfielder Brad Davis said. "That's what we're looking for, guys to come in and give us a little boost."
The Dynamo could get another boost if Bruin, who has five goals and an assist this season, can return from a concussion suffered during an exhibition game with Spanish club Valencia on May 31. The forward was back at practice on Friday.
Bruin finished off his team's scoring during a 3-1 victory over the Whitecaps (5-3-4) on April 10, 2011, but none of the Dynamo could find the net during the only other visit to Vancouver, a 1-0 loss Aug. 27.
Houston enters this game 0-3-3 in its last six MLS games away from home and also suffered a 1-0 defeat in U.S. Open Cup defeat May 29 in San Antonio.
Vancouver, 2-0-1 in its last three league home games, will try to extend the Dynamo's road woes by taking advantage of its two-week break from any competition. That time off followed a stretch in which the Whitecaps played nine games in 28 days.
"You can see with our intensity in training Sunday can't come quick enough," captain Jay DeMerit told the league's website.
Vancouver, though, found enough energy to force a 1-all draw in Portland during its most recent game May 26 with Darren Mattocks scoring the tying goal in the 84th minute. It was the second time in four MLS games that the Whitecaps earned at least one point by tallying a goal in the final 10 minutes.
Eric Hassli scored in the 90th minute during a 2-1 win over San Jose on May 5. Vancouver followed with a 3-1 victory over FC Edmonton in the Canadian Championship four days later but is 0-2-3 across all competitions since that game.
The Whitecaps will be without No. 1 overall draft pick Omar Salgado, who is expected to miss three weeks with a fractured right foot suffered while playing for the U.S. U-20 national team.