VANCOUVER, B.C. – It was an explosive first month of the season for the Houston Dynamo – with 11 goals in four games – but they’ll finish March with just four points to show for it.
All their goals came in their first three games – a league record – and they’ve now lost two straight in their first two road games of 2016 following Saturday night’s 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Despite facing a makeshift center-back pairing, with Vancouver’s starters on international duty, the Dynamo were held off the board for the first time this year.
All those goals have only meant one win, a 5-0 drubbing of Texas rivals FC Dallas in Week 2. And Saturday's loss was a hard pill to swallow for Houston head coach Owen Coyle; his side outshot Vancouver 17-12 and rattled their woodwork twice.
"Vancouver started the game really well, the first 10, 15 minutes," Coyle told reporters after the match. "The game belonged to them in that spell. From the goal, we really took charge of the game. Controlled the whole game.
"It's hard to sit here having no points from that game given the level of performance we put into that match. As we know, it can be a very cruel game and that's what happened tonight."
Vancouver's lone goal came from a Pedro Morales penalty kick, after Jalil Anibaba was adjudged to have sent 'Caps striker Masato Kudo tumbling in the box in the first half. Coyle couldn't hide his dismay over the call.
"In my opinion, and I stress again my opinion so we don't get into any bother, that's never a penalty in a million years," Coyle said. "Unfortunately for us it's been given.
"It's hard to take, but we know we're a good side. We know we can play. Created chances, hit the bar, hit the post, had numerous very good opportunities and forced a very good Vancouver Whitecaps team on the back foot at home. And we controlled the game from probably 20 minutes in. ... We do have to start the game better."
Despite having lost both their away games so far this season, Coyle feels a turnaround in their road fortunes isn't far away, feeling they just need a complete performance.
"What we need to do is to continue to perform like that," Coyle said. "Not for 75 minutes, but for the duration of its 95 minutes. If we do that, we'll be showing points after points because we've got a good team, a young team, a team that's growing, a team that's getting better. So there's a lot to be pleased about moving forward.
"The disappointment is that we're sitting here with no points from the game because we deserved to take something from it."