Preview: Whitecaps FC return home to take on FC Dallas Sunday afternoon at BC Place

Breaking down another important Western Conference matchup

VANCOUVER, BC – After picking up back-to-back draws on the road, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-4L-9D) return to BC Place on Sunday for an afternoon affair against FC Dallas (8W-7L-5D).

Kickoff for Sunday’s match is set for 2 p.m. PT. You can watch the match live on TSN, Bell mobile devices, and TSN GO. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 12 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show immediately following the match.

Sunday’s match will give Whitecaps FC another opportunity to make a move up the Western Conference standings. The ‘Caps are currently in sixth place, but trail third-place FC Dallas by just two points and have a game in hand.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Last match: Real Salt Lake 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC

The ‘Caps have been one of Major League Soccer’s busiest teams since the World Cup break, playing six matches in the last four and a half weeks. Their 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake last Saturday capped off a spell in which they played three matches in three different time zones over an eight-day span.

That’s a big part of the reason why Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson used a combined 17 players, including Mehdi Ballouchy and Omar Salgado, last week against Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC. Both matches ended in a 1-1 draws.

Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks scored Vancouver’s lone goal in each of those matches, increasing his season total to four – one more goal than he had in all of 2013.

“I’ve said all along that everybody needs to take a little more responsibility this season,” Robinson told reporters this week. “If I can get four or five players getting eight to 10 goals, then that gets us to the 50 odd goals that I think we need to probably be pushing for that playoff spot.”

Heading into this weekend’s action, Whitecaps FC are one of four teams who have lost just four matches this season. Furthermore, the ‘Caps have suffered just two losses in their last 13 league fixtures.

“We’re a tough team to beat, home or away,” midfielder Russell Teibert told reporters this week. “We’re confident, you can see all the guys have smiles on their faces. And why not? We’re in the hunt right now. I think we’re where we want to be. Obviously, we can improve, we can win games and close out games when we need to. And that’s going to separate us from the middle of the pack.”

Sunday’s match will kick off a new era for the Blue and White, as Jay DeMerit announced his retirement on Thursday. DeMerit was Vancouver’s first-ever signing and captain in MLS.

“Jay leaves the team in a very good place and now it’s ideal for other excellent professionals to step up and take on leadership roles,” Robinson said. “We’ve lost a true leader in Jay, I know that, but someone else will have to step up.”

FC DALLAS

Last match: FC Dallas 2-0 New England Revolution

FC Dallas, who fell 2-0 to English Premier League side Aston Villa Wednesday in a summer friendly, enter Sunday’s contest undefeated in five MLS matches, including consecutive wins over Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution.

They’ve put together this run largely without playmaker Mauro Diaz, who had three goals and three assists in eight matches before suffering a knee injury in May, and Fabian Castillo, who’s tied for the team lead with five goals.

Diaz has returned from injury, appearing in Dallas’ last two matches as a substitute, and is expected to be available again this weekend. Castillo, however, will be serving the final match of his four-match suspension. 

In addition to Castillo and Diaz, FC Dallas have received contributions from several different players this season. In fact, they’ve had 10 different goalscorers, which puts them in a tie with Whitecaps FC for second most in the league.

Striker Blas Perez and fullback/winger Michel are tied with Castillo for the team lead with five goals apiece. This type of depth shows why FC Dallas currently third second in the Western Conference, despite having 20 players miss at least one match due to injury.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This will be the first of three meetings between Vancouver and Dallas this season. The two teams will meet again on September 13 in Dallas, before playing their final match on October 4 at BC Place.

Whitecaps FC haven’t had much success against FC Dallas since joining MLS in 2011, posting a 1W-6L-1D record overall.

NEXT UP

The ‘Caps are right back at it on Wednesday, July 30, when they visit Eastern Conference side Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. PT.

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.