The Houston Dynamo were simply sublime on the opening weekend of the 2018 Major League Soccer season, putting four goals past a hapless Atlanta United side. Former Arsenal man Philippe Senderos got his name on the scoresheet last weekend but he may have more defensive work to do this weekend against a talented Vancouver Whitecaps unit.
Carl Robinson’s men had to dig deep against the Montreal Impact but secured a 2-1 victory after goals from Kei Kamara and Alphonso Davies. Starting the season with a win should give Vancouver a boost after their playoff disappointment in 2017. Both clubs will be confident of securing a postseason berth this year and it could be a very entertaining contest at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Victory here won’t make or break a season but Houston will want to send out a statement of intent – the Texas outfit fell short against the Seattle Sounders last year and were within 90 minutes of challenging for the MLS Cup. Going one better in 2018 has to be their primary aim; the Dynamo certainly have enough talent to compete for soccer’s biggest prize.
Dynamo Destined For Greatness?
Houston have been building momentum for a few years now and plenty of punters will be backing the Dynamo to win the MLS Cup this season. Valued at 25/1 to lift the title at the end of the campaign, there is certainly money to be made in backing Wilmer Cabrera’s men; you wouldn’t bet against them after last week’s performance against Atlanta.
After three years of failure, Houston reached the playoffs last season and the Dynamo will try to build on that success. The blueprint for further improvement is there – Houston have the tools required to go close in 2018. They are by no means the finished article but a deep run into the postseason looks very likely indeed.
KEY MAN: Andrew Wenger. Houston blew Atlanta out of the water last time out, notching four goals in a blistering first half. Wenger got proceedings underway in the fifth minute and the Dynamo striker could be set for more success here. Vancouver failed to keep a clean sheet against Montreal and Wenger can notch for the second successive league game.
Currently 8/1 to open the scoring, Wenger is well worth considering. The forward has scored six goals in 30 appearances since joining Houston in 2016 and this could be his year to shine on the big stage.
Vancouver Capable Of Challenging?
The Whitecaps have enough quality to emulate last season’s playoff run and Robinson will be quietly confident of taking his side even deeper in the MLS Cup race. Vancouver are also priced at 25/1 to lift the title this year – plenty of bettors will fancy the Whitecaps after last week’s impressive effort.
KEY MAN: Kei Kamara. Kamara finished the 2017 regular season with more goals than any of his rivals – some achievement given that Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa were both in scintillating form. He got off the mark last weekend and is well priced at 15/8 to score again here. Watch this space; Kamara is Vancouver’s main attacking option.
If nothing else, he should see a few opportunities fall his way and you would fancy Kamara to finish at least one of them. Houston were assured defensively against Atlanta but this is a different test – Vancouver’s MLS experience could prove useful.
This one could quite easily go either way but home advantage could prove decisive. Houston are simply sublime at BBVA Compass Stadium and the Dynamo faithful will be expecting a home victory. Vancouver are no slouches though; this one could be tight. A late winner for the hosts could be on the cards…
HOUSTON DYNAMO 2-1 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS