Matchday 26: FC Dallas at Vancouver Whitecaps

FRISCO, TX - AUGUST 11: Jair Benitez #5 of FC Dallas points to the crowd and celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas Stadium on August 11, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

It's win or go home at BC Place for FC Dallas(26 points, 6-11-8) tonight as they travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps(37 points, 10-7-7). Both teams are ultra short-handed as I detailed earlier so I won't really go into that too much, but safe to say both teams need some players to step up.

Notes

Second Chance to Impress After playing well in the win over Colorado, it's going to be fascinating to see if Ruben Luna can keep the good vibes going. As we've said many, many times on here, youth is inconsistent so a second straight good performance would be a huge step forward. The same thing goes for Castillo.

Defense the Focus While the offense could have a little bit of trouble gelling, only Ugo Ihemelu is missing from the FC Dallas backline. There's no reason why FCD shouldn't be able to grab a shutout tonight and that's likely the only way they're going to win this game on the tough fieldturf of BC Place.

Only a win If FCD doesn't win this game, it's probably the end of any playoff hopes as minuscule as they are. 11 points behind Vancouver and 10 points behind LA could be 8 points and 7 points...or 14 points and 13 points.

Keep reading

Keys

Run through Ferreira Probably the only way Dallas scores multiple goals tonight is if Ferreira gets Castillo and Luna involved. The bench is super-thin and there won't be much help coming from the subs, so this needs to be El Torito's show tonight.

Luna's holdup play The biggest knock on Ruben has been turning the ball over in poor spots. It will get you beat on the road and it got FCD beat in Columbus. If Luna can keep the ball and make smart passes, FCD can win. If he gets pushed off the ball and doesn't make good decisions, it's going to be very tough.

Referee

REFEREE: Matthew Foerster. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Paul Ward

MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 20.0; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 0; pens: 1

Prediction (11-14 on the season)

This is a tough one to call because of how many players are out. Will Vancouver's new faces step up and gel or will they be disjointed as they figure each other out? I like FCD's starting lineup, but feel like they will have trouble in the last 20 minutes or so without much help on the bench.

1-1 Draw

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