Last-minute Montero goal seals 2-1 win for Vancouver Whitecaps

VANCOUVER – Fredy Montero played hero for the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, scoring a late goal to lift his team to a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo.

The striker’s tally came in the 90th minute, snapping Vancouver’s (7-14-10) three-game losing skid.

Hwang In-beom also scored on a penalty kick for Vancouver and Mauro Manotas put away the lone goal for Houston (10-16-4).

The Whitecaps first goal came in the 54th minute, with Hwang sending a rocket into the bottom left side of the net on a penalty kick.

The goal was the South Korean midfielders third of the year.

Whitecaps goalkeeper Zac MacMath made five saves. Joe Willis stopped two-of-four on-target shots for Houston.

Minutes earlier, ‘Caps striker Yordy Reyna had taken a free kick from outside the Houston box and the ball hit a leaping Manotas in the hand.

Officials on the field called a hand ball on the play but the call went to video review. A second look determined the original call was good.

Vancouver appeared poised to snatch a victory until the 78th minute, when MacMath dropped to the turf to stop a long ball from Maynor Figueroa.

Prone on the ground, the ‘keeper couldn’t control the rebound and Mantos popped an easy ball into the net for his club-leading 13th goal of the season.

Montero came off the bench to score the winning tally.

The Colombian forward collected a high ball from teammate Theo Bair and got a left-footed shot off from down low, beating Willis to tally his seventh goal of the year in the 90th minute.

Houston had another chance to equalize the score in injury time, but the ‘Caps hung on for the win.

Saturday’s loss complicates the Dynamo’s path to the playoffs. Houston currently has 34 points and sits four spots back of a post-season berth.

The Whitecaps have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Both the ‘Caps and Dynamo are back in action next Saturday. Vancouver will host Columbus Crew SC and Orlando City SC will visit Houston.

NOTES: Jasser Khmiri made the Whitecaps 18 for the first time but did not come off the bench. The Tunisian centreback joined the ‘Caps last November and has spent all season rehabbing a knee injury.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press