MLS Pick: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo FC
The match between Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo FC is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20 at 10:00 pm EST. The game will be played in the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah as the Canadian members of the MLS have not yet received clearance to return to their home stadiums in their respective cities. Both of these teams have had less than stellar seasons to date. The Whitecaps with a -9 goal differential have one of the fewest point totals of the MLS at seven. Through 13 games, they are 3-3-7 and second to last in the Western Conference.
The Dynamo haven’t sung much of a different tune, placing ninth in the Western Conference above Vancouver with only a three-point lead, though. They are 3-6-4 through 13 games and are coming off four draws and one loss. This game is big for both of these teams if they want to give themselves better chances at a playoff spot.
Vancouver Whitecaps’ Ways to Win
The Whitecaps have been all over the place. They lose 4-0 to Real Salt Lake and then turn around and take a 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy in which they were down 1-0 at half-time. The Whitecaps have had a severe issue scoring from open play, so two solutions present themselves. Either battle for set pieces, or push more numbers into the attack.
Vancouver has one of the lowest total shots per 90 minutes, so they are not creating many opportunities, but they also happen to have one of the lowest shot-creation actions against. They do a fantastic job of giving up shots and goals while struggling desperately to create any. They play a 4-3-3, which is a balanced formation, so perhaps a formation change is necessary to create imbalances. Maybe push to five in the back to reinforce their defensive structure, or pull their two wingers into midfield in order to control the game in the middle of the field. Sometimes, when your team can’t make anything happen, you need to work to dominate the tempo and the middle.
Houston Dynamo’s Ways to Win
The Dynamo have managed to keep their seasons somewhat alive despite their goal-giving ways. Over thirteen games, they have kept one clean sheet and given up 19 goals. The Dynamo will be in a 4-3-3 just like Vancouver, so this game is going to be won in the midfield. If the Dynamo controls the tempo and defends well, they will put themselves in a good position. Vancouver struggles to create anything on their own, so there is no need to press high.
The key on defense will be avoiding any fouls in their defensive third. Most of the goals Vancouver scores come from set-pieces, so fouls in and around the Dynamo box will be just what Vancouver wants.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo FC Pick
This is definitely going to be a tight game and neither of these teams are especially impressive. Home-field advantage won’t be much of a factor as Vancouver’s home stadium isn’t in Vancouver. If the recent forms of these past two teams are any indication of what is to come, a draw is in the cards. With that said, the Dynamo creates enough scoring chances that if they finish them, they should be able to come out with three points.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo FC Pick: Houston Dynamo