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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Vancouver Whitecaps

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With only two points separating Vancouver from Dallas in the Western Conference standings, the Whitecaps search for three points Sunday afternoon.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas travels north to take on Vancouver Whitecaps in a Western Conference showdown Sunday.

The Whitecaps trail Dallas by two points in the standings and search for their second win over FCD in the teams' all-time series.

Injury Report:

For the most part, Vancouver is healthy. The Whitecaps will only be without two players.

M Bryce Anderson (quad), F Caleb Clark (season-ending ACL injury).

Projected Lineup

Vancouver has fashioned the 4-2-3-1 formation more often than not this season. It shouldn't be a surprise that they'll keep that shape as they try to contain play in the midfield.

GK: David Ousted; RB: Steven Beitashour; CB: Carlyle Mitchell, Johnny Leveron; LB: Jordan Harvey; RDM: Gershon Koffie; LDM: Mehdi Ballouchy; RAM: Sebastian Fernandez; CAM: Nicolas Mezquida; LAM: Omar Salgado; F: Darren Mattocks

Key Matchup

Tesho Akindele vs. Jordan Harvey- Having to replace some key players up-top for FCD, Akindele has made his name known quickly to FCD fans. As he hits the pitch of his home country, it'll be no shock for Akindele to have another stellar outing. Akindele had a sharp performance last Saturday against New England that resulted in a goal for the rookie. With streaking runs down the right side and getting behind defenders, he'll look to do that again against an experience, talented Harvey. Harvey has started the second most games for Vancouver this season, only one game less than the leader Ousted.

Keys to Three Points

Shutdown Pedro Morales. Whether Morales finds himself in the starting eleven or comes in as a substitute, the Chilean midfielder will be a threat. Morales creates chances in the attacking third for the Whitecaps and is a dangerous opponent. Morales leads Vancouver's offense with six goals and eight assists this season. FCD's defensive midfielders and center backs will have to get him out of his element the second he gets his first touch. And if for some reason - knock on wood - Morales gets a penalty kick, he's going bottom left, Raul.

Continue playing wide. Last Saturday's match was textbook work of playing the ball wide for FCD. The Hoops had one of their best games by creating chances on the outside. From Zach Loyd to Andres Escobar to Akindele, the outside runs proved successful for a FCD victory. If Dallas can mimic the performance from last week, FCD will travel back to Dallas with another three points.

Finish. There were so many good buildups in the midfield and on the outside last week that a 2-0 win seemed almost not enough. The game could have easily been 4-0, 5-0. Akindele hit every shot on target against the Revolution, he just couldn't find the back of the net more than one time. FCD's offense just needs to find those corners of the net and bury the shoot into them. Trouble Ousted early and Sunday's game will just be a beautiful highlight reel for Dallas's forwards and midfielders. And it would be nice to see Perez get back into the scoring action.