Marc Dos Santos is eyeing up the play-off spots ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Houston Dynamo after seeing his Vancouver Whitecaps side bring a halt to their winless streak.
The Caps had gone eight matches without a victory, losing six of those, before beating LA Galaxy 2-1 on Saturday thanks to a couple of second-half goals.
Despite picking up just a third win of the campaign, the Canadian club are a lowly 12th in the Western Conference standings.
But with the gap on the top seven standing at four points, Dos Santos is looking up the division rather than down with ninth-placed Houston up next at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“The reality is that in this league, you win two or three games in a row and so many things change,” Dos Santos said.
“Even with the run that we had right now, we’re not many points behind that play-off line. Things change very quickly.
“The guys believe in each other and believed we could turn things around.
“I think overall, with the game we played, with the passion, the commitment, we fully deserved the three points against the Galaxy.”
The Dynamo could do with a morale-boosting victory of their own after losing 2-0 to Seattle Sounders two weeks ago to make it six games without a win.
Tab Ramos’ side are three points better off than their opponents and the Houston head coach is remaining upbeat, despite going nearly two months since last tasting victory.
“We are going to approach the game with confidence,” he said. “We’ve had two weeks to prepare for it.
“We have to keep being that difficult team for our opponents, as well as improving to get the results we are looking for.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Vancouver Whitecaps – Javain Brown
Brown may not have grabbed the headlines in the same way as goalscorers Deiber Caicedo and Cristian Dajome against the Galaxy, but he played a vital part in the comeback win. The full-back made more tackles (seven) than any other player on the pitch and also intercepted the ball a team-high three times, while also looking assured on the ball throughout.
Houston Dynamo – Maximiliano Urruti
The 30-year-old striker has six goals in 13 appearances this season and boasts a good record against the Caps down the years. Urruti has found the net seven times in 17 career games against Vancouver, doing so for four different teams, including the winning goal when the sides met in May.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Dynamo recorded a 2-1 home win over Vancouver on May 22, which was their second win in the last three meetings between the teams (L1). However, Houston have never won two straight games against the Whitecaps.
– The Whitecaps ended an eight-match winless run (D2 L6) with a comeback win over LA Galaxy on Saturday. In fact, after opening the season with a 1-0 win over Portland, six of Vancouver’s last nine points have come from losing positions.
– The Dynamo are winless in six straight games (D4 L2) since their win over Vancouver on May 22. Houston are winless in 15 straight away matches September 2020 (D6 L9), the second longest active streak in MLS (Chicago – 16 straight).
– Both Whitecaps goals against the Galaxy were scored after half-time. Twelve of Vancouver’s 14 goals this season have been scored in the second half (86 per cent), the highest percentage in the league this season.
– The seven goals Urruti has scored against Vancouver are three more than he has managed against any other team in his MLS career.