This was a night for the Vancouver Whitecaps record books.
In a 6-2 goal onslaught, the Whitecaps recorded their most ever goals in an MLS match and their third game this year in all matches with five or more goals.
Russell Teibert came on for his 250th MLS appearance. Sebastian Berhalter got his first-ever MLS goal. Julian Gressel had his first-ever brace.
Pedro Vite got the fastest-ever Whitecaps goal in MLS history, only 15 seconds into the first half. Brian White did one better, getting his goal only 10 seconds into the second half.
The club is the only team in MLS history to score in the first 15 seconds of both halves of a match.
And still, head coach Vanni Sartini was quick to temper the excitement of the match in his post-game media conference.
“The first half…I think we were terrible,” Sartini said. “The first half we were like completely terrible. Houston should have been up at least by two goals. And the second half, we actually played very well.
Sartini started a strong starting XI, choosing to rely on many of his consistent starters. One notable change was in the back line with Mathías Laborda starting ahead of Ranko Veselinović.
But the rest of the lineup could write itself.
The Whitecaps did not have to wait long to get a start in this match. Right off the kickoff, the ball was put deep into opposition territory. Brian White jumped on a defensive error and put the ball out to a running Pedro Vite as the Ecuadorian entered the 18-yard box at pace.
His shot was the first of the game, only 15 seconds into it, giving Vancouver the very early lead.
But undeterred, Houston hit back quickly. In the eighth minute, a cross off the foot of Coco Carrasquilla found Corey Baird, completed unmarked on a strong Dynamo counterattack.
The ball could have been cleared en route by Javain Brown, but he missed the diving header, misjudging the trajectory and going under it. The goal was an easy tap-in for the Houston attacker.
And Houston kept coming. In the 15th minute, an unmarked Amine Bassi received a gift of a ball. Mathías Laborda, should was responsible for Bassi, was left chasing as it was passed simply into the back of the net.
However, the Whitecaps were not about to let the first half get away from them. Julian Gressel vehemently put his laces into the ball, drilling a hard goal in the 18th minute. Ryan Gauld’s flick to move the ball up also gave the Scot his second assist on the season.
Houston continued to push into the Whitecaps’ half, looking to regain their short-held lead. But the tie held as both teams headed for the dressing rooms at the half.
Sartini called his team “lucky” to be tied at the half.
“[Houston] were deserving much more than us,” the head coach said. “They were playing much better than us. And not because they were doing something crazy but because we were really terrible. We took 45 minutes of vacation basically, of collective vacation. There was a lot of effort, but not brain.”
The Whitecaps, looking to score even earlier after a starting whistle, had their third on the night in the first minute back after the break.
White chested the ball down at the edge of the 18-yard box to Gauld. The Scot’s shot was pawed away by Steve Clark, but the rebound landed in front of White. The American put the Whitecaps back on top with his sixth goal of the season.
Gressel added another, his second of the night, in the 59th minute. Gauld took the initial shot from the edge of the 18-yard box, only for it to be palmed away by Clark. But Gressel pounced on the rebound to give the Whitecaps the two-goal lead.
The night, already getting away from Houston, went from bad to worse in the 69th minute as Nelson Quinones, just on from a substitution, received a straight red card for an ugly challenge. Yellow cards were also given out to Laborda and Carrasquilla.
And to continue the positivity of the night, Sebastian Berhalter chested down a ball on the edge of the 18-yard box and blasted in his first MLS goal in his career in the 88th minute.
“It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, when someone comes off the bench and he’s one of the protagonists of the game because it means that, first of all, everyone is involved in what we do at training, and everyone knows what to do. And the second thing [is] that everyone is ready to go at every time.”
He kept it up, assisting on Gauld’s first goal of the year, coming in stoppage time. Berhalter had eye’s only for the attacking midfielder as he cut the ball for Gauld to tap in the easy goal.
It was a record performance for the Whitecaps, their first time in MLS history they put six in the back of the net.
Next up, the Whitecaps face Sporting Kansas City on the weekend. The game is at B.C. Place on Saturday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m.