FC Dallas, winners of two straight, head to the Pacific Northwest for their first of three matches against a Vancouver Whitecaps side that hasn't won since the second week of the season. After not allowing a goal in their first four matches of the season, Vancouver has fallen apart defensively with six goals allowed in the last two weeks. Depending on other results around the league, a win for Dallas could move them into a tie for second place in the league while Vancouver will be wanting three points to keep pace in the hyper-competitive Western Conference.
Team Sheet For FC Dallas, there's no Andrew Jacobson or Ricardo Villar for this one, so it looks like Bobby Warshaw will move into the starting lineup and FCD will come out in a 4-4-2. What remains to be seen is whether Hernan Pertuz will start along the back four or if Jair Benitez will get his spot back in the lineup.
Academy Presence Victor Ulloa, Ruben Luna and Jon Top made the travel squad to Vancouver so we could see some season debuts and potentially a career debut for Top. I think a lot of it will depend on the score, though with three academy guys on the bench, you've got to think one of them makes it. Bryan Leyva was still rehabbing on the side on Wednesday at practice, so I highly doubt he traveled.
Broadcast Delay Please note that due to the Rangers doubleheader, the match will potentially be shown on tape delay on TXA-21. The Rangers vs Tigers game's first pitch is at 6PM and Justin Verlander is on the mound so it could be a quick one, but be advised whether you're Tivoing or watching live, the match could potentially start on TV anywhere between 9 and 10 PM.
Unbeaten FC Dallas is a perfect 2-0-0 against Vancouver winning 2-1 at Vancouver in David Ferreira's last game, then winning their final regular season home match of 2011 2-0. Dallas will be facing Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie for the first time. Vancouver will be on a quick turnaround, having lost 2-0 at home to SKC on Wednesday.
Keys, referee and prediction after the jump
Keys to the match
Set piece play In a complete reversal from the past, FCD has been lethal on set pieces in the last couple weeks with all three of their goals in the last two games coming from set pieces and throw ins. Both goals Vancouver allowed against SKC on Wednesday came from set pieces.
Jump on them early FC Dallas has scored four goals in the first half of games while Vancouver has just one in the first 45 minutes. Given the Whitecaps poor form of late, there's going to be a ton of pressure on them in this one and an early goal could force them to start pressing and open up on the counter attack where FCD is deadly.
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic.
SAR (bench): Darren Clark; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman;
4th: Paul Ward
Prediction(5-1 on the season)
I really like Dallas' chances in this one if they can stay disciplined and get an early goal. Vancouver has been struggling mightily of late and I think Dallas is beginning to find their offensive form while the only goal the defense allowed in two home games was a ridiculous penalty. I think Dallas gets goals from Perez & Castillo while Vancouver gets one back late, but FCD comes home with three fantastic points heaping more pressure on Martin Rennie.
2-1 FC Dallas