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FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: What to watch for

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Playoff positions are up for grabs when FC Dallas heads north to take on Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas travels north of the border for the last time this year to take on a Vancouver team that is in the thick of the race for that coveted fifth playoff spot. For FC Dallas, a win not only clinches a playoff spot for the first time since 2011, but also guarantees them at least the fourth-place position.

Here are some things to watch for Saturday night.

Perez Shows up Against Vancouver

Panama striker Blas Perez has appeared in six games all-time for FC Dallas against the Caps and has scored four goals. He's scored at least one goal in half of the games against Vancouver, and there's no way we're going to forget what he pulled off in the team's last matchup.

For Perez, he's always played a pivotal part in the FC Dallas attack, but now, he's scored four goals in his last three games.

Perez has a major effect on the team's success. FC Dallas is 9-6-11 in the 26 games that Blas Perez has scored in, or 38 points. For reference, FC Dallas was only on 33 points through the same number of games this year.

Perez makes the players around him better and I'd like to see Tesho Akindele come back to form if he gets the start alongside Perez, the two have played well together.

Vancouver's BC Palace

I promise that was intentional, not a typo. Vancouver has won seven in a row at home at BC Place, but FC Dallas hasn't lost in Vancouver since April 12, 2012. Something has to give.

Vancouver no doubt has firepower (and speed) on the flanks, but luckily, this team has fairly quick outside backs between Kellyn Acosta, Zach Loyd, Je-Vaughn Watson and Moises Hernandez. If FC Dallas can slow down those speedy Vancouver attackers, the team has a legitimate shot at a victory. Limiting Pedro Morales' time on the ball will go a long way towards helping that cause as well.

Record-Setting Season

The 2014 season has no doubt been something special, and the team might set some more team records if they continue their form. With a win Saturday evening, the team can tie it's best win total (15, in 2011) in the 34-game season era. The team has already set a record for most goals scored (50) in the same era and if the team keeps scoring goals at it's 1.7 per-game rate, the club will set a new franchise record for season goals with roughly 58, beating the 1997 team's 55 goal mark.

So those are just some things to watch for Saturday night. Make sure to tune-in at 6:00 p.m. DTID!