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  • 31 Jan
    The Formations The Vancouver Whitecaps made a tactical change for their game against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, dispensing with their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation in favour of a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield. [b]Jordan 13 Retro Bred[/b] . Carl Robinson made three changes to the team that started against the New England Revolution a week ago. Skipper Jay DeMerit replaced Jonny Leveron at the back, Gershon Koffie replaced the concussed Nigel Reo-Coker to make his first start of the season and Pedro Morales replaced Sebastian Fernandez. The changes saw Matias Laba play as Vancouvers holding midfielder, with Russell Teibert on the left and Koffie on the right, leaving Morales to operate as the attacking midfielder. The Dynamo had a bye week last weekend, and head coach Dominic Kinnear decided to field an unchanged lineup from their 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on March 15. (click for larger image) The Game Tactically, this was an intriguing matchup. The Houston Dynamo are one of the most well-organized teams in MLS, and Kinnear has an experienced squad who are consistent performers. However, Carl Robinsons decision to play a diamond midfield was a clever one. Not only did it allow Robinson to get his most creative player (Morales) into his preferred position, it allowed Vancouver to nullify many of Houstons threats. Both Houston fullbacks – Corey Ashe and Kofi Sarkodie – are encouraged to get forward to supply crosses for Will Bruin and Giles Barnes. The quality of Brad Davis on Houstons left side, coupled with Ashes energy, could have been a real problem for Vancouver. But the introduction of Gershon Koffie on Vancouvers right, coupled with the tactical change to the Whitecaps lineup, limited Houstons ability to generate a supply line from that side. With Russell Teibert shutting down Kofi Sarkodie on Houstons right flank, both Bruin and Barnes were cast adrift, starved of the crosses upon which they thrive. In midfield, Matias Laba had an excellent game for Vancouver, disrupting Boniek Garcias forward progress. The young Argentinian is proving to be an excellent signing for the Whitecaps, and his ability to cover so much ground freed up Pedro Morales to dictate the game. In the opening half, Morales had arguably the best 45 minutes of any player in the Whitecaps relatively short MLS history. His technical ability is superb, and his passing range is magnificent. Time and time again, Morales was able to spring teammates into attacking positions, or change the point of attack with his precise short and long range passing. Vancouver went into the break leading 1-0, courtesy of a Jordan Harvey goal. After his corner kick was cleared, Morales hooked a one-time pass to the back post, where it was nodded across goal by Andy OBrien. Harvey caught the Dynamo defenders flat-footed, and he prodded the ball home from six yards. Vancouver added to their lead in the 58th minute, as Kenny Miller converted a penalty kick after Kofi Sarkodie had handled in the penalty area. Miller scored at the second attempt, as his first kick had to be retaken due to the encroachment of Darren Mattocks. The Jamaican striker could be forgiven for his exuberance – it was his excellent work that created the penalty kick in the first place. Mattocks has yet to score this season – something at which he is surely frustrated – but his play has been much improved over last year. He is holding the ball up well, linking with his teammates, and because of his blistering speed, he is a genuine threat to any defence that chooses to play a high line. If he can improve his composure in front of goal, he will surely reach double figures in goals. Down 2-0, Houston brought on Omar Cummings for the ineffective Garcia. Cummings took a place up front alongside Bruin, with Barnes dropping into midfield. The substitution effectively resulted in Houston matching Vancouvers diamond midfield – something that should have been done at the half. Houstons midfield partnership of Garcia and Ricardo Clark never got to grips with the movement of Pedro Morales. The Chilean was everywhere he needed to be to get on the ball – even dropping into the left back position at one point to gain possession. Morales effectively dispelled the notion that a midfield diamond has to be narrow or positionally rigid. Playing Miller up front alongside Mattocks also worked in Vancouvers favour. While Mattocks offered game-breaking speed, Miller offered craft and guile. When Morales vacated the central position, Miller was clever enough to move into that space – meaning Houston always had to be wary of Clark and Garcia getting bypassed. And because Mattocks speed caused the Dynamos Jermaine Taylor and David Horst all kinds of bother, neither centreback wanted to step into midfield and leave the other exposed 1v1. After Houston pulled a goal back through Clark in the 75th minute, Robinson showed his tactical nous by reverting back to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Teibert slotting in alongside Laba to congest the middle of the park, and substitutes Sebastian Fernandez and Kekuta Manneh taking up wide positions. This allowed Vancouver to see out the remainder of the game, sealing an important three points and maintaining their unbeaten start to the season. The Positives Pedro Morales showed all of the qualities that led the Whitecaps to make him a designated player. He rarely conceded possession, showed fantastic one and two-touch passing range and generally controlled the tempo of the game. The midfield diamond from Vancouver worked very well, and now offers Robinson a viable alternative to the 4-2-3-1 formation that he used in the first three games. Both Russell Teibert and, to a lesser extent, Gershon Koffie, had effective games, and Matias Laba reaffirmed his growing reputation as one of the top holding midfielders in MLS. The Negatives Houston defender David Horst shouldnt be surprised if he receives a phone call from the leagues Disciplinary Committee this week. On two occasions, Horst used excessive force against Vancouver players. The first was a deliberate elbow into the ribs of Pedro Morales; the second, a deliberate elbow into the neck of Kekuta Manneh. Given the leagues recent precedent of handing out supplementary discipline, Horst could well be in line for a suspension. The Star Man Camilo who? Pedro Morales is making disgruntled Whitecaps fans quickly forget last seasons departed top scorer, as Morales had a magnificent game for Vancouver. He is quickly establishing himself as the number ten that fans have always craved – a technically gifted, free-flowing maestro whose lead the other players follow. With eight points from their opening four games – including two impressive home wins – the Vancouver Whitecaps are off to a great start under Carl Robinson. Vancouvers next match is on Saturday, April 5 (6:30pm ET, 3:30pm PT on CTV BC) against the Colorado Rapids. [b]Cheap Air Jordan 13 Retro All Star[/b] . The 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., who trains out of San Diego, will fight bantamweight champion (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey on July 5 in the co-main event of UFC 175 in Las Vegas. [b]Cheap Air Jordan 13 Retro All Blue[/b] . Team spokesman Donald Beauchamp said there was no new information on the 80-year-old Hall of Famers condition. The family has requested privacy.Canadians Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil are both on court tonight for their third-round matches at the Australian Open and you can see them play live on TSN. Raonic, the eighth seed from Thornhill, Ontario, meets Germanys Benjamin Becker at Hisense Arena at approximately 9pm et/6pm pt. You can see the match live on TSN3, with TSN4 picking up the action at 10pm et/7pm pt after the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. Pospisil faces Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain on Court 2 in a match that can be seen live on TSN1 at approximately 10:30pm et/7:30pm pt. The health of the Vancouver native remains a question after he and partner Julian Knowle were forced to withdraw from their doubles match on Thursday night because of Pospisils various injuries. Pospisil was treated for back and hip ailments during his second-round win over Paolo Lorenzi. Raonic has cruised through his first two matches, beating Illya Marchenko of Ukraine and Donald Young of the United States in straight sets. Pospisil ousted American Sam Querrey in five sets and beat Lorenzi in four sets to make the third round. TSNs ffull line-up of matches tonight from the Australian Open: TSN3 – 7pm et: Hisense Arena 1. [b]Cheap Air Jordan 13 Retro Yellow[/b]. Womens Singles - Round 3 Garbine Muguruza (ESP)[24] vs. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 2. Mens Singles - Round 3 Benjamin Becker (GER) vs. Milos Raonic (CAN)[8] 3. Womens Singles - Round 3 Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Madison Brengle (USA) 4. Mens Singles - Round 3 Steve Johnson (USA) vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN)[5] TSN1 – 10pm et: Court 2 1. Womens Singles - Round 3 Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)[11] vs. Alize Cornet (FRA)[19] 2. Mens Singles - Round 3 Vasek Pospisil (CAN) vs. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) Margaret Court Arena - 7pm et Start Time 1. Mens Singles - Round 3 Feliciano Lopez (ESP)[12] vs. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 2. Womens Singles - Round 3 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) TSN4 – 10pm et **Milos Raonic match joined in progress after Figure Skating TSN5 – 10pm et: Rod Laver Arena 1. Womens Singles - Round 3 Serena Williams (USA)[1] vs. Elina Svitolina (UKR)[26] 2. 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