FC DALLAS vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Wed., Oct. 29, 2014, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
(6 p.m. PT); TSN1 and TSN 1040
The MLS Cup Playoffs, presented by AT&T, kick off with a match between a pair of clubs who have ended brief postseason droughts as FC Dallas play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Western Conference Knockout Round match at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas are making their first visit to the playoffs since 2011, following their fourth-place finish in the West, seeing an eight-game home winning streak put to an end in their season finale. The Whitecaps come rolling into their first playoff appearance since 2012 and the second in the club's MLS history, riding a five-game undefeated streak and having not allowed a goal for more than 6-1/2 hours.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger.
AR1 (bench): Charles Morgante
AR2 (opposite): Matthew Nelson
4th: Ismail Elfath
DAL 7 wins, 18 goals … VAN 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 2
DAL 1 win, 4 goals … VAN 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 1
AT TOYOTA STADIUM:
9/13: DAL 2, VAN 1 (Perez 20, 78 – Hurtado 67)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: First meeting.
- FC Dallas return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in three seasons with another visit to the Knockout Round. In 2011, FCD fell 2-0 to New York in Frisco, the year following their only MLS Cup appearance.
- "We're moving on. I thought the boys deserved and earned the possibility to play in the playoffs," said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. "They are in the playoffs. Despite the frustration, despite the opportunity that we let go, on Wednesday, we are playing in the playoffs."
- The season-ending 2-0 loss to Portland also put an end to the club-record eight-game winning streak at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas had last lost at home on May 31 in a 2-1 loss to San Jose.
- "We have to refocus. How can we do it? The same way we do after we win. It's the same thing, you know? When you win games you have to refocus for the next game. In our case we just keep looking forward, one game at a time. Now let's face the next one," Pareja said.
- There was some good news out of the Timbers match as Mauro Diaz was able to come on as a substitute for the final 25 minutes, his first appearance since Sept. 20. “We are excited bringing some players back from the nursery,” Pareja said. “We are trying to be in form every game. Whatever comes, we will be ready.”
- FC Dallas were held without a goal for the sixth time this season, but the second all year at Toyota Stadium. They had been shut out 1-0 by New York on May 4. "It was unfortunate offensively. We did not have a lot of chances like we had in the other games," said defender Kellyn Acosta. "Defensively, we were not sound and solid. It was a little bit of everything we could have done to improve. We are looking forward to Wednesday. We are going to come out and do the best job we can do and improve from this game."
- While there were some changes for the season finale, Blas Perez and David Texeira did form the strike partnership for a second consecutive match and the fourth time in the last five games. Fabian Castillo was also able to put in a full 90-minute shift for the second time in three games.
- "It does not matter who we play in the playoffs. It is a game and the one who loses goes home. It does not matter who you are rivals with, what matters is we have the mentality of no second chances. We have to execute," Castillo said.
- FC Dallas have never lost to Vancouver in five encounters all-time in Frisco, outscoring them 10-2.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
- The Whitecaps have reached the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second time in their MLS history, also playing in the Knockout Round in 2012, when they fell 1-0 to the LA Galaxy.
- The Whitecaps enter the postseason riding a five-game undefeated streak, with four wins in that time. The win in the season finale was their fourth in a row at BC Place.
- "We've not been bad over the last few games," Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said. "I think today was probably the story of our season in 90 minutes because we played very well at times, we had a few half chances we didn't take, then we started to get edgy a little bit, and then the big man scoring the goal. I think it was fitting that David Ousted kept us in it with two fantastic saves in the last three or four minutes because God knows what I would have done if one of them had gone in."
- The Whitecaps last allowed a goal on Sept. 27, ending the season with a 393-minute shutout streak, the longest in MLS this year. David Ousted led MLS with 13 shutouts, tied for the fifth-most in a season in MLS history.
- "I’ve said all along that we defend from the front and we attack from the back. I knew what we had, what I had in there, that group of players, and we were lacking probably a goal scorer. We have players who can score goals, not probably enough goals for me," said Robinson. "Like I said, we haven’t scored enough goals, but we’ve worked hard defensively, and we have to do that because as they all say, championships are won from the defense."
- The goal scored by Kendall Waston to assure the Whitecaps their place in the postseason came from a corner kick – just the third set-piece goal scored by Vancouver this season, second-fewest in MLS (behind Chivas USA with 2). FC Dallas have scored 14 set-piece goals, tied for second-most.
- Waston returned to the lineup following a one-match ban, scoring his second MLS goal in 10 appearances since coming to the club. “I think the biggest [goal] is going to be after, not today," Waston said. "So now we are just thinking of Dallas, and hopefully on Wednesday we do very good because we wanted to get in, in the playoffs.”