Matchcentre

FRISCO, TEXAS – After a three-match homestand, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are off to Texas this weekend for a meeting with FC Dallas Saturday at Toyota Stadium.

KICKOFF: 5:30 p.m. PT  TV: TSN2  RADIO: TSN 1410  MOBILE: bell.ca/mobiletv  ONLINE: TSN GO

Here are three storylines to watch.

SET PIECE SHOWDOWN

FC Dallas are second in MLS with 12 goals from set pieces this season. Michel, who can play at fullback or in midfield, is the set piece specialist for FC Dallas. The left-footed Brazilian leads MLS with three free kick goals this season. He’s also third in the league with three assists from set plays. 

The ‘Caps haven’t had a lot of success from set pieces this season, but that appears to be changing thanks in large part to the addition of 6-foot-5 centre back Kendall Waston.

Both of Vancouver’s goals against San Jose on Wednesday resulted from set pieces. Waston drew on a penalty as he lunged at a Pedro Morales free kick in the first half, before heading in a Morales corner in the second half.

Will we see another set piece goal on Saturday?

SHUTOUT STREAK

The’ Caps recorded their second straight clean sheet Wednesday night at BC Place – a 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted now leads the league with nine clean sheets.

The entire back line put in a strong shift against San Jose. Centre backs Andy O’Brien and Waston were forces in the middle, while fullbacks Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey got forward and didn’t appear to put a foot wrong along the flanks.

Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson will be hoping for a similar performance against FC Dallas, whose 46 goals are third best in MLS this season.

PLAYOFF PREVIEW?

As it stands, FC Dallas are fourth in the Western Conference – four points back of Real Salt Lake and five points up on fifth-place Whitecaps FC.

That means if the season ended today, Dallas would host the ‘Caps in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs. But there are still a lot of points to play for before that might happen.

With seven matches to go, Whitecaps FC are two points up on Portland Timbers for the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference. They will be looking to create some more separation this weekend, also knowing that a win would move them to within two points of fourth-place Dallas.

Suffice to say, Saturday’s match has major playoff implications. 

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.