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Whitecaps FC-Dynamo Preview
While their defense has performed close to mid-season form, the Houston Dynamo are still trying to get a potentially dangerous attack unleashed.
Forward Mauro Manotas has been a bright spot, though he could find the going a bit tougher against Vancouver Whitecaps defender Eric Godoy.
Manotas and the Dynamo look to remain undefeated as they close out a season-opening three-game homestand Saturday against a Vancouver team still seeking its first points under first-year coach Marc Dos Santos.
Houston has only allowed six goals in six matches - including four Champions League contests - in 2019, but the club has totaled three goals in four games this month. The Dynamo played Real Salt Lake to a 1-all draw in its MLS opener before defeating Montreal 2-1 last weekend. They also dropped out of the Champions League with a 3-0 loss on aggregate to Tigres UANL.
Manotas has done his best to provide a spark with six goals over a five-game MLS scoring run dating to last year and four scores in the past five overall. He also scored in a 2-all draw at Vancouver in the clubs' most recent meeting on May 11.
"It is important for any club to have someone you rely on to score goals and we rely on him right now to score goals," Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said. "It's a team effort in the end, but we're happy and lucky that we have Mauro sharp, more mature and learning how to position himself."
Manotas figures to have a tough matchup should he go up against the Whitecaps' star newcomer Godoy. The center back joins Vancouver after starting more than 140 matches in Argentina's top-tier Primera Division.
Godoy chipped in offensively with a goal in the Whitecaps' 3-2 season-opening loss to visiting Minnesota before helping the club hold down Real Salt Lake in a 1-0 road loss last weekend. South Korean midfielder Inbeom Hwang has also played well for Vancouver, which has welcomed 18 newcomers.
"Houston is always a difficult place to play and we're very aware of that, but we know that if we stick to our game plan, stick to our principles, play together as a team, stay very well organized during the 90 minutes, we're always going to have a chance to win the game," Dos Santos told the team's official website.
The Whitecaps have gone 4-1-3 in this series since October 2015, though their 2-1 win last March was their first in six all-time meetings in Houston.
Updated March 15, 2019