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Three things: 'Caps make Texas-sized statement vs. FC Dallas

FRISCO, TEXAS – Bernie Ibini scored his first MLS goal, Fredy Montero bagged a brace, and Nicolas Mezquida made the highlight reel with a bicycle kick nutmeg in a 4-0 win over FC Dallas on Saturday night at Toyota Stadium. Here are three thoughts from the match. 

RECORD-BREAKER

Coming into Saturday’s game, the ‘Caps had never won a game – or even picked up a point – away at FC Dallas. Eight games, eight losses, and lots of “horror memories,” as Carl Robinson said last year.

Well, the drought is finally over.

Not only was this Vancouver’s first-ever win at FC Dallas, it was also their first win in the state of Texas as well as their biggest road win since joining Major League Soccer in 2011. In fact, it matched their biggest victory (home or away) in the MLS era, having beaten Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake 4-0 at home in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

When Whitecaps FC win in Frisco, they do so in style.

STATEMENT GAME

As Tim Parker said following the match, the ‘Caps felt like they needed to make a statement following the disappointment of last weekend’s defeat to Portland.

Oh, they made a statement alright.

This is a Dallas team who entered the match atop the Western Conference. They had also won three straight matches. Not many teams come into Toyota Stadium and get any sort of result, let alone a four-goal victory.

Robinson said this week that Whitecaps FC would “need a little bit of everything to go and get a result.” It was a prophetic comment. The ‘Caps were beneficiaries of an FC Dallas penalty and red card, which certainly didn’t hurt their cause, but they still managed the game extremely well and were thoroughly deserving of the three points.

“I broke the game down into segments today,” Robinson said. “If you give an early goal away to Dallas because of the way they play and the personnel they have, it's very difficult if they get a goal ahead because of their counterattacking.”

“So we broke it down and got our noses in front which was important,” he added. “After we scored we sat back a little too much which I addressed at halftime, and full credit to them coming out in the second half and showing confidence and poise. When (Dallas) went down to 10 men we had a little bit of luck, but some of the football was great today and enjoyable to watch.”

FRESH LEGS

There were surely a few eyebrows raised when the starting lineups were announced for this one.

Robinson made a whopping six changes to his XI following last weekend’s defeat, leaving regulars Christian Bolaños, Jordan Harvey, Andrew Jacobson at home for a weekend of rest and recovery. Cristian Techera was also left out of the XI and Alphonso Davies, who is dealing with an adductor injury, was given the opportunity to spend most of the week back in Edmonton after a busy schedule with Canada at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup.  

Entering the squad for Vancouver were defenders Kendall Waston, Marcel de Jong, and Sheanon Williams and midfielders Berni Ibini, Yordy Reyna, and Brek Shea.

As is often the case, Waston formed a solid partnership in the middle of defence with Tim Parker, who had a game-high 11 clearances. De Jong and Williams, meanwhile, led the match with seven and five tackles respectively, in addition to four interceptions apiece. Ibini scored his first MLS goal, the eventual game winner, Reyna looked a threat as usual and made the run in behind that led to the penalty call, and Shea worked his tail off along the flank – drawing praise from two-goal hero Fredy Montero, who said the play of Vancouver’s wingers was “the key to the game.”

It was a brave decision from Robinson to make so many changes, and it paid off in a big way.