FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps will open up a home-and-home series on Wednesday night at BC Place. Dallas sits second in the Western Conference with 50 points and a record of 15-10-5. Vancouver is just behind in third place with 49 points and a 15-12-4 record. The Whitecaps are winless in their last three games and drew away at San Jose last weekend, while FCD is coming off of a 4-1 win over Houston on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth.
The late-season home-and-home series resembles that of the two-legged Conference Semifinal and Championship series, and this version carries playoff implications of its own. With three weeks to play in the season, both Dallas and Vancouver have their eyes not only on a bye past the Conference Knockout round of the postseason, but the Supporters’ Shield. With the top five teams in the West separated by five points, a strong series performance by either side would put them in prime position for first place.
KEY PLAYER FOR VANCOUVER
Cristian Techera – The rookie sits second on the team in scoring in 2015 with seven goals. He scored the lone tally in the August meeting in a 1-0 win, as well as the lone goal in a 1-1 draw with San Jose.
David Texeira vs. Pah Modou Kah – Tex picked up a brace in the final leg of the Texas Derby to become the sixth player on the team to register at least five goals in 2015 – scoring depth that will be needed on Wednesday night with the short turn around and given the absence of Fabian Castillo on international duty.
Mauro Diaz vs. Matias Laba – The Magician missed the first meeting between the two sides. He converted his PK attempt and made the initial high-arching pass downfield that led to Acosta’s goal last week and will be key in kick-starting the offense in Vancouver.
Goalkeeper: David Ousted; Defenders: Jordan Harvey, Tim Parker, Pah Modou Kah, Jordan Smith; Midfielders: Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba, Kekuta Manneh, Mauro Rosales Cristian Techera; Forward: Octavio Rivero.
KEYS TO THREE POINTS
Dallas will be looking to rebound from two difficult Western Conference road match-ups with a result in another one after clinching a playoff berth at home. If FCD can build off their Texas Derby win and continue to show their depth after a quick turnaround against a struggling Whitecaps side, they can take leg one of the series before returning home next week.