Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are wrapping up your week and that you have a fun and relaxing weekend in store.
Well, all good things must come to an end and the Caps’ remarkable unbeaten run to start their grand tour of North America came to a screeching halt on Wednesday in Houston, with the Dynamo prevailing 4-1 in a match where Vancouver looked low energy and had their fair of struggles on both the attacking and defensive end (though the scoreline perhaps flattered Houston a bit).
The defense had some real hiccups and certainly missed Ranko Veselinovic, who was getting a well deserved night off. On the attack, Ryan Gauld appeared tired and had an off night. The rest of the attack was largely too predictable and was forced by the lockdown Houston defense to try their luck from range.
The exception was a nice period of play in the first part of the second half, when the introduction of new signing Junior Hoilett gave the Caps a burst. Able to maximize open space on the wings that Vancouver had struggled to exploit earlier, Hoilett looked more dangerous than any of the other attackers had to that point in the match and helped open up a couple chances immediately after coming on.
This good spell didn’t last and Houston pretty much killed off the match by taking advantage of the fact that the Caps were stretching themselves pretty thin. But for those who were curious as to how Hoilett might have a positive impact, this was a sign that Vanni Sartini seems him as a change of pace player (the Caps also tweaked their formation when Hoilett came on to help maximize his best qualities) and a useful one if the team happens to be chasing the game.
Sartini said after the match that he wants to see Hoilett making more of his trademark quick runs into the box. And while Hoilett spent most of his time on the flanks, rather than taking shots in the box, he had success in doing so, pinging in a team high three key passes on 20 touches. Not bad for a night’s work.
This match is one to shrug off and forget for both fans and players. Houston is tough and is in excellent form, while Vancouver was gonna lay an egg at some point coming down the stretch. This one hopefully will be a hard reset ahead of a match against Real Salt Lake, another rival for a top four finish, and one which has not been in as good of form and doesn’t have a style of play that is likely to give the Caps as many fits as Houston did.
Shameless Self Promotion
Caleb is a bit less optimistic I am on the Hoilett signing but he makes good points on the downsides for Vancouver. Meanwhile, we have our full recap of the body blow in Houston and our podcast runs down the Caps and CPL playoff landscape.
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The CPL has a new trophy for their Supporters’ Shield equivalent and its pretty sweet
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