This Saturday, FC Dallas has one of their most important home games of the year when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Whitecaps won their game Wednesday night 2-0 over the San Jose Earthquakes, putting them back in playoff position and all but eliminating the Quakes.
For the final stretch of the season, I will be writing a story each Friday highlighting a player to watch for the weekend's game as well as any statistical significance the game might hold.
Player to watch: Fabian Castillo
In the short two-game slump the team has faced with road defeats to Chicago and Real Salt Lake, Fabian Castillo was much quieter than he was while notching a goal or an assist in 11 straight games. Against Chicago the young Columbian had several chances to score, but could never put one away.
This weekend, look for Castillo to get back on track and make a major contribution against a Whitecaps back line that simply isn't fast enough for him. With Andy O'Brien at central defense, look for Castillo to take the ball towards the middle and try to outpace the Irish international. This season, even when put up against gritty defenders like O'Brien, Castillo has still been productive, and we've really gotten to see him exhibit his strength.
This season, FC Dallas has won 9 of its 13 home games. That's tied with D.C., Seattle and L.A. for most in the league. The team has a +9 goal differential at home this year, scoring, on average, exactly two goals per game. It's very hard to win on the road in this league, but what has been refreshing this year is that Toyota Stadium has been as much of a fortress as any other in this league. If the club can win its final three home games, they will have tied the franchise record for most home wins since the team's re-branding.
Goals Upon Goals
This year, the FC Dallas offense hasn't really been in question scoring 46 goals, good for 4th best in MLS, while only taking 317 shots, the 5th least in MLS. That means the team is taking more quality attempts than most. If the team continues to score at it's seasons pace of 1.7 goals per game, the team will score 57 goals this year. That mark would be a team record since both the re-branding and expansion to a 34-game season. The highest mark so far in a FC Dallas season is 52 in 2005.
So there's this week's edition of What to Watch For. Tune in Saturday night at 7:30, or better yet, make your way out to Toyota Stadium. DTID!