Matchcentre

FRISCO, TEXAS – After a dominant midweek win over San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-6L-13D) are right back at it Saturday when they visit FC Dallas (12W-9L-6D) in another important Western Conference affair.  

Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. PT at Toyota Stadium. You can watch the match live on TSN2, Bell mobile devices, and TSN GO. The match will also air live on TSN 1410 and tsnradiovancouver.ca, including a pre-game show at 3:30 p.m. PT and a two-hour post-game show immediately following the match.

Whitecaps FC enter Saturday’s contest in sole possession of the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference with seven matches to go. They’re two points up on sixth-place Portland Timbers, who they will meet next week, and five points back of fourth-place FC Dallas.

A win this weekend would move Vancouver to within two points of fourth in the Western Conference, putting them very much in contention to host a playoff match.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Last match: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes

Saturday’s match will cap off a busy week for the ‘Caps, who drew Eastern Conference leading D.C. United last weekend before earning a 2-0 win over San Jose Wednesday night at BC Place.

Pedro Morales put Whitecaps FC ahead with a first-half penalty before setting up Kendall Waston’s first MLS goal on a 56th-minute corner. With his assist on the goal, Morales set a new club record for assists in a single season with 10. 

Waston, meanwhile, was named Budweiser Man of the Match for the second straight match. The Costa Rican centre back leads MLS with an average of 9.5 clearances and 5.75 headed clearances per game. He’s also second in the league with 1.75 headed shots per game.

Waston and Morales stole the headlines, but as head coach Carl Robinson said after the match, it was a total “team performance.” Goalkeeper David Ousted has now recorded two straight clean sheets for a total of nine on the season, which tops MLS. 

Robinson said there could be a few changes to his squad Saturday against FC Dallas, as it will be Vancouver’s third match in an eight-day span.

“Three games in a week is tough for any player, even my young players like Russell Teibert, Matias Laba, and someone like Jordan Harvey,” Robinson said. “We’ll have to assess it, but I’m sure there will be one or two fresh faces.”

One player who won’t be in the lineup is Johnny Leveron, who is still away with Honduras at the 2014 Copa Centroamericana. Honduras is set to meet Nicaragua in the fifth-place game on Saturday, after which Leveron will return to Vancouver.

FC DALLAS

Last match: Real Salt Lake 2-1 FC Dallas

Fourth-place FC Dallas have been one of the league’s hottest teams over the last three months.

They went on a 10-match unbeaten run, including four straight wins, before falling 1-0 to Chicago Fire on August 30. Dallas then fell 2-1 to Real Salt Lake last weekend to suffer their second straight defeat.

FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja rolled out a 3-5-2 formation against RSL, as he did against Whitecaps FC in July, but switched to a more traditional 4-4-2 in the second half after seeing limited success. Most of Dallas’ success has come with that 4-4-2 this season, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Pareja returns to it this weekend.

It should be noted that Dallas was without striker Blas Perez for each of their recent losses. Perez, who has six goals and six assists this season, is currently away with Panama at the 2014 Copa Centroamericana; however, he could be recalled for Saturday’s match.

Whether or not that’s the case, FC Dallas has a number of different weapons who can cause some damage. Colombian midfielder/striker Fabian Castillo is leading the way with nine goals, followed by Brazilian fullback/winger Michel with eight goals, and Canadian striker Tesho Akindele with seven.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

July 27, 2014: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-2 FC Dallas

This will be the second of three meetings between Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas this season. Back on July 27, the two teams played to a thrilling 2-2 draw in a match that Whitecaps FC set a new club record with 30 attempts at goal.  

Whitecaps FC haven’t had much success against FC Dallas since joining MLS in 2011, posting a 1W-6L-2D record overall, including a 0W-4L-0D on the road.

NEXT UP

The ‘Caps are off to Portland next weekend for a massive Western Conference clash at Providence Park, before returning to BC Place on Saturday, September 27 to host Real Salt Lake.

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets, 5-packs, student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.