Match Preview: FC Dallas at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

FCD travels north for a huge Western Conference matchup

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs FC DALLAS
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
July 27, 2014 (WEEK 20, MLS Game #187) 2 p.m. PT (TSN/RDS2; TWCS-TX)

A crucial match in the Western Conference is ahead on Sunday afternoon as Vancouver Whitecaps FC play host to FC Dallas at BC Place. Coming into the week, FC Dallas sit in second place in the division while Vancouver is holding down a tie for fourth – but the teams are separated by just two points. Whitecaps FC return home following a successful road trip that ended with a 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake, while FCD extended their undefeated run to five games last weekend with a 2-0 home win against the New England Revolution.

REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Marco Arruda; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 251 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 61; pens: 59

SUSPENDED: DAL: Fabian Castillo (through July 27)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Gershon Koffie, Sebastian Fernandez, Matias Laba … DAL: Fabian Castillo
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Andy O’Brien, Pedro Morales, Nigel Reo-Coker ... DAL: Matt Hedges, Michel, Blas Perez, Je-Vaughn Watson, Victor Ulloa … NE: Lee Nguyen, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney
DISABLED LIST: VAN: Calen Clarke (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 5 goals … FC Dallas 6 wins, 14 goals … Ties 1
AT VANCOUVER (5 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 4 goals … FC Dallas 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 9/13: FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m. CT; 10/4: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. FC Dallas, 4 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/20: DAL 2, VAN 0 (own goal 29; Perez 50)
4/27: VAN 2, DAL 2 (Manneh 72; Sanvezzo 75 – own goal 9; Hedges 47)
9/7: DAL 3, VAN 1 (Watson 8; Diaz 87; Benitez 89 – Kobayashi 4)

  • FC Dallas have won six of the eight meetings all-time between the clubs, including all four encounters all-time in Frisco.
  • Whitecaps FC’s lone victory in the all-time series came in 2012 at BC Place. The teams played to a 2-2 draw in their only meeting last season in Vancouver.
  • Coaches record: Carl Robinson vs. DAL: first game … Oscar Pareja vs. VAN: P6 W2 L3 T1

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC concluded their two-game road swing with a second draw, gaining a 1-1 result with Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Whitecaps FC sit in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 27 points from 19 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC finally broke through in the 73rd minute. RSL defender Nat Borchers was adjudged to have committed a foul in the penalty area, and referee Edvin Jurisevic awarded the penalty. Darren Mattocks converted the resulting spot kick to put Vancouver in the lead.
  • But the home side drew level in the 81st minute. Joao Plata took a flick from midfielder Kyle Beckerman, outran a defender toward the corner, then beat Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted low at the far post for the leveler.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made six changes to the team that gained a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at BMO Field. Jordan Harvey, Sebastian Fernandez, Gershon Koffie, Mehdi Ballouchy, Nicolas Mezquida and Omar Salgado all came into the team, in place of Sam Adekugbe, Nigel Reo-Coker, Matias Laba, Russell Teibert, Pedro Morales and Erik Hurtado.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour, Johnny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell, Jordan Harvey - Sebastian Fernandez (Pedro Morales 78), Gershon Koffie, Mehdi Ballouchy (Matias Laba 63), Nicolas Mezquida - Omar Salgado (Erik Hurtado 65), Darren Mattocks.

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC return home and taking points from both matches on their road trip to Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake – though they took the lead in both games.
  • “That's probably the most disappointing thing going back to the two [away] games,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said. “To get our noses ahead twice and obviously then we give up goals. We're evolving, we're a work in progress with a young group and a very good, deep squad. I wanted to give players a chance to today and they certainly took their chance.”
  • Whitecaps FC have allowed 11 goals in the final 15-plus minutes of games (after the 76th minute), the most in MLS this season.
  • “It's not great conceding last-minute goals, but like I said to them on Saturday, if we'd have gone behind twice and come back with two 1-1 draws, everyone would have been positive and said we had great fightback in us,” said Robinson. “We've done it the other way and gone ahead, from being positive at the start, and home teams have managed to get goals against us and people say we concede at the end. It's six of one, and half a dozen [of the other].”
  • Said goalkeeper David Ousted: “There's a lot of factors. Teams pushing when they're behind, us maybe going a little bit too much for the second goal, but we're trying to stay positive. We're getting the leads, and hopefully now in the next few months, you'll see us keeping the leads as well.”
  • Darren Mattocks scored a goal for a second consecutive game – his first goals in league play since mid-April – in converting the penalty kick with Pedro Morales off the field. Morales had converted Vancouver’s last four penalties this season; Kenny Miller converted the first two.
  • Omar Salgado made his first league start of the season, playing 65 minutes in a strike partnership with Mattocks. Salgado had come on as a substitute three times previously in league play.
  • Mehdi Ballouchy also made his first league start of the season, in a central midfield role. Ballouchy’s only previous league appearance came June 28, after he underwent offseason knee surgery.
  • Nicolas Mezquida made his third MLS start, his first since June 28, filling an outside midfield spot.
  • “I said to the guys that we’ve got to dig deep– we really have. We’ve had a horrible road trip, and that’s why I made some changes, and I asked them to give me everything. I said, “Be aggressive. We don’t get outworked and we don’t get outfought,” said Robinson “They [RSL] are a good footballing team – one of the best teams when they’re on their game. If we got into a football match with them, after a road trip, we’d probably lose the game. Where we are at the moment, we’re still a team that’s developing, we’re a work in progress, so the decision was just to be tactically different today, and try to catch them on the counter – I thought we did it numerous times.”

FC DALLAS
FC Dallas stretched their undefeated streak to five matches, defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas sit in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 29 points from 20 games.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 29th minute. After a Tesho Akindele shot clanged off the crossbar, Andres Escobar collected the rebound and dribbled his way into the penalty area, beating two defenders before hitting a shot that deflected past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth at the near post.
  • FCD put the match away in added time. Akindele took a ball from Michel just past midfield and dribbled it all the way into the box, before beating a final defender and firing a rocket of a shot past Shuttleworth.
  • FCD head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that took a 2-1 win against Philadelphia Union at Toyota Stadium. Raul Fernandez came in between the posts in place of the injured Chris Seitz.
  • FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, Stephen Keel, Matt Hedges, Moises Hernandez - Je-Vaughn Watson (Mauro Diaz 74), Victor Ulloa, Adam Moffat, Andres Escobar (Michel 87) - Blas Perez (Andrew Jacobson 90), Tesho Akindele.

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas extended their undefeated streak to five games (3-0-2), matching their longest of the season, after starting the year with four wins and a draw in five matches.
  • “I thought we raised the bar, and the team feels for real and competing for the highest spot in the league,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “It was great to see the discipline and composure that the team showed.”
  • Rookie Tesho Akindele has scored in back-to-back matches and now has three goals on the season, making an eighth consecutive start in attack.
  • “Truthfully, we were playing well, even when we were losing. Now, things are just clicking a little more. We’re finishing our chances – ones that we were missing earlier in the year,” said Akindele. “There is not much difference in our play – we’re still working hard, just like we were. We’re just getting the little details right now. We’re finishing our chances and not losing concentration on defense.”
  • Making his fifth consecutive start, Andrés Escobar scored his second MLS goal, both coming in that five-game stretch in the first team. “I saw the team creating opportunities while playing very well defensively and creating the best soccer in the field,” said Escobar.
  • With Chris Seitz sidelined with a quadriceps injury that forced him out of the Philadelphia match, Raúl Fernández recorded his first shutout of the season, in his eighth start.
  • “The group is seeing more solidness defending, which is something that we needed to improve. In the league so far, even in the times when we were struggling, we were scoring most, and today was very solid defensively,” said Pareja. “We set the bar high today and we know we can do it. We have a good stretch of games, the youngsters are playing very well and I'm very happy to see these guys taking advantage of the opportunity and making this club proud.”
  • Said defender Zach Loyd: “It always feels good to get the shutout when you are a defender. We were excited after the game. Overall, it was a great result for us, especially the back four and the goalkeeper. There’s a little bit of a pride thing. Hopefully we can build off of this going into the second half of the season.”
  • There was an injury blow coming out of the New England match, after it was revealed midfielder Hendry Thomas underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee and will be lost for the remainder of the season.
  • On Wednesday, FC Dallas lost 2-0 to Aston Villa FC of the English Premier League at Toyota Stadium. Andreas Weimann struck first in the 44th minute for Villa, then Charles N’Zogbia scored via a free kick in the 48th minute.
  • Here’s the FCD team: 1st half: Raul Fernandez, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges, Nicolas Walker, Je-Vaughn Watson, Michel, Victor Ulloa, Mauro Diaz, Andres Escobar, Fabian Castillo, David Texeira.2nd half: Richard Sanchez, Michel, Walker Zimmerman, Nicolas Walker (Stephen Keel 70), Zach Loyd, Danny Garcia, Peter Luccin, Adam Moffat, Fabian Castillo (Ryan Hollingshead 76), Tesho Akindele, David Texeira (Blas Perez 70).