Training report presented by Muscle MLK: Perez looks forward to Dallas return

BURNABY, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC met with the media on Tuesday at Swangard Stadium after the club’s annual Open Practice, presented by Sport Check.  

Here are some news and notes from the day.

BACK INTO THE HEAT

After a scoreless draw with Houston Dynamo, Whitecaps FC are headed right back to the Texas heat for a clash with league-leading FC Dallas on Sunday (3 p.m. PT on TSN2 and TSN 1040).

Saturday’s draw gave Vancouver their first-ever point in the state of Texas. Now, they’re looking for their first point – or three – in Frisco, where the ‘Caps are 0W-7L-0D against FC Dallas. It’s a place where Whitecaps FC have “a lot of horror memories,” Carl Robinson said on Tuesday.

“Every place that we seem to go to we haven’t managed to win or get a point from,” Robinson told reporters. “I like to do things first. Houston was a good start for us … we’ll go to Dallas full of confidence.”

They know it won’t be easy, however. Far from it.

If facing the league-leaders wasn’t enough, it’s expected to be 34 degrees Celsius around kickoff.

“When you go on the road, you need to possess the ball,” said defender Jordan Harvey. “In doing that, you don’t run as much and you keep your legs. We’re going to look to do that.”

‘SPECIAL GAME’ FOR EL RATON

Chances are you won’t find many players looking forward to a game in the Dallas heat.

Unless that player is Blas Perez.

The Panamanian spent four seasons with FC Dallas before joining Whitecaps FC in the offseason. This will be his first trip back to Frisco – and he made it clear on Tuesday that he would love nothing more than to celebrate his return with a goal.

“Special game for me,” Perez told reporters. “I know them … they know me, too. I want to score. I want to score for this game. We need this game.”

Perez was a popular figure amongst the Dallas supporters.

He spoke fondly about his relationship with them during his time with the club. Asked how he thinks he will be received, Perez said: “I think, happy … When I played for FC Dallas, every day they were happy with my performance on the pitch. Now, I don’t know. Maybe accept. Maybe not.”

Good chance it will be the former.

Either way, Harvey said the ‘Caps will certainly be rallying around the man they call “El Raton.”

“Absolutely,” Harvey told reporters. “I’m sure he’ll be giving the team talk. He’s a warrior, man. And I’m glad he’s on our side this time.”

TURNING DRAWS INTO WINS

The ‘Caps are unbeaten in four matches heading into the weekend. At the same time, three of those four matches were draws – and that was something Robinson spoke about on Tuesday.

“We’re in a decent run of form at the moment,” he told reporters. “But we need to start turning those draws into wins. [Dallas is] the best team at the moment. We know that. They’re unbeaten at home. So maybe something has to give.”

It was suggested to Harvey that picking up draws at Dallas – and then at Colorado the following weekend – might be a satisfactory road trip for Vancouver considering the circumstances.

Many would likely agree, but Harvey wasn’t quite having it.

“It’s interesting how you look at it,” he said. “You say tie, tie, tie, and that’s three points. You would like to get a win out of one of these and get results out of the others. We know that they’re good teams, we know they’re quality, we just played Colorado at home and they were a tough opponent. But to be honest, we’re going to look to win.”

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