VANCOUVER, BC – After a week off for the FIFA international break, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-6L-1D) return to BC Place on Saturday night to host Western Conference rivals FC Dallas (6W-3L-5D). Tickets are still available: http://ow.ly/gHFm30czg1Q.
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. PT │ TV: TSN 1/4 │ RADIO: TSN 1040
Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
Neck and neck: The ‘Caps enter the weekend fifth in the Western Conference, four points back of fourth-place FC Dallas. A win on Saturday, therefore, would move Whitecaps FC to within one point of Dallas – with a game in hand. A loss, meanwhile, would give Dallas a seven-point cushion. We’re not even at the midway point of the season yet, but don’t be fooled: these will be valuable points when the playoff jockeying picks up down the stretch.
Home cookin’: Whitecaps FC, who are coming off an entertaining 3-1 win over Atlanta United FC, have now won four of their last five MLS matches at BC Place. The only game they didn’t win in that stretch? A 1-0 defeat vs. D.C. United in which the ‘Caps hit four posts/crossbars and outshot D.C. 22-7. Can they continue their home dominance vs. Dallas?
Big shoes to fill: Both Christian Bolaños and Kendall Waston returned from international duty nursing injuries this week, and Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said “there’s a likelihood both will be missing” this weekend. The Costa Ricans have been instrumental to Vancouver’s success this season. Bolaños, for example, leads the team with four assists, while Waston is coming off a dominating, two-goal performance. Who might step up in their absence?
Tim Parker (CB) and Matt Hedges (CB): Dallas and Vancouver have been two of the best defensive teams in MLS so far this season – thanks in large part to their centre back duos. With Waston and FC Dallas centre back Walker Zimmerman (MCL sprain) likely sidelined, however, it will place even more responsibility on the shoulders of Tim Parker and Matt Hedges. You could make an argument that Parker and Hedges have been the MVPs of their respective teams so far this season – and the spotlight will certainly be on them come Saturday night.
“I think we have a little bit of that Portland feel with Dallas. We butt heads with their players and maybe our coaches don’t get along the best. But it creates a rivalry that’s good because we’re both young teams fighting for that young identity in MLS.” – Tim Parker