The Vancouver Whitecaps had plenty of chances to put Saturday's game against the Houston Dynamo to bed, but squandered most of them instead and lost the game in the end.
But it all could have been different had Darren Mattocks converted a 53rd minute opportunity to double his side’s lead against the Houston Dynamo.
Breaking away after Daigo Kobayashi sent him through on a quick counter, the Jamaican beat his man but couldn’t get the ball past Tally Hall – then, over the next nine minutes the Dynamo took the lead through goals from Giles Barnes and Warren Creavalle.
“We were one-nil up and that was a significant moment in the game,” head coach Martin Rennie said of Mattocks’ miss. “Then we had to weather another storm and we lost a couple runners in the box so that was disappointing because that is stuff that we can improve on and stuff that we can prevent.”
But it wasn’t just that opportunity that made the difference. Lady luck also had a cruel part to play, as Camilo swerved in a pinpoint free kick in the 82nd minute, only to see it hit one post and bounce off another before rebounding to safety.
“There are simple things that could have made life easier for us tonight,” Rennie said. “We hit both posts off one shot and that was a key moment as well. We probably had four clear chances and tonight we only took one of them. We do need to take our chances, we played well at times and we weathered the storm for most of it. We are looking forward to the next game.”
Nigel Reo-Coker was quick to single out Mattocks’ decision to shoot rather than pass on the game’s decisive play.
“I said to Darren after the game, ‘with the level we’re at now, those are the small margins that we can’t let pass us by,’” Reo-Coker told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “We take our second chance, the game’s 2-0, it would have been very difficult for them to come back being 2-0 down at home with the [32-game home unbeaten streak] they had.
“That’s the difference between being playing a higher level of football and a lower level of football. You take your chances. You might only get once chance away from home and you must learn to take that one chance that you may get.”
The Whitecaps play again on the road next Saturday, as they square up against Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.