clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

3 Questions with Eighty-Six Forever

Interviewing the opponent's SB Nation blog to see what lies beneath the surface.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
This weekend kicks off the end of season gauntlet wherein FC Dallas will face league-leading Vancouver Whitecaps three times in the few remaining regular season matches. We spoke to Jon Szekeres to get a little insight into a foe we haven't yet seen inperson this year.

Big D Soccer 1. Vancouver is on their way to having their best MLS season so far, sitting on 1.68 Points Per Game right now (previous best was 2014's 1.47 PPG). While Vancouver has been improving every yearm, what has been the difference maker to push them over the top in 2015?

86 Forever: The club is seeing depth in scoring they haven't enjoyed since their inaugural season in MLS, in 2010. The Whitecaps had two players reach double digits in goal scoring that year, and this year, the club is seeing contributions from plenty of faces on the roster. Octavio Rivero leads the pack with 9 goals, Kekuta Manneh has 6, Pedro Morales has 5 despite battling injury, and new addition Cristian Techera has already popped in 4 despite playing in only 15 matches and acting primarily as a play maker. The club has a few options they can look to for offensive production whereas last season it was only Pedro Morales. There's also David Ousted, who's elevated his goalkeeping to elite levels this season.

BDS2. Dallas has not seen the Whitecaps at all this year, but we face off 3 times in the next 2 months. What is Vancouver's game day strategy this season? (i.e. possession-based, counterattacking, etc.)

86F: The Whitecaps have longed enjoyed the usage of the long ball; Sending a ball deep and getting one of their speedsters to run under it, but the 'Caps are also showing real teeth on their counterattack. It was looking good in Kansas City, one of the few bright spots in that 4-3 choke job last weekend. The Whitecaps have also looked dangerous with their set pieces. Whether it's Pedro Morales banging home beautiful free kicks, or Pa Modou Kah and Kendall Waston heading home corners, the Whitecaps are causing fits for the opposition.

BDS3. Which player(s) should FC Dallas fans be watching on the field that they may not be familiar with?

86F: Cristian Techera is a new face this year, and has been a welcome addition for the club. Despite standing at just 5'2 tall, Techera has speed, vision and the ability to put the ball in the net. He's a supreme play maker, and has complemented the enviable arsenal the Whitecaps are weilding in midfield. Nicolas Mezquida, Pedro Morales, Mauro Rosales and Techera have been lights out this season.

Lineup/Prediction by 86F:

Lineup: Ousted, Beitashour, Waston, Kah, Harvey, Laba, Teibert, Techera, Mezquida, Manneh, Rivero

Prediction: After a shaky loss last week, Whitecaps Draw with FC Dallas 1-1

Now let's change gears and check out my answers to their questions ...

86F1) I thought this article was quite interesting.
Do you agree with the assessment of Rolando Escobar? Has he been a good addition?

BDS1: It is interesting that you brought up that article because I think this one is also relevant:
It is the story that FCD spoon-feeds us with every signing: "he is a long term solution; we are taking our time bringing him up to speed with the rest of the guys in the locker-room; so on and so forth." So while, yes, I do agree that Rolando is/will be a good addition - I am not happy with the almost third of a season lost while he adjusted and the team needed him. Dallas fans (and I assume the Front Office too) knew from preseason that this roster would be hit hard by Gold Cup callups. FCD signed Escobar a month before it started, and he did not start a match until almost 2 months after it ended. I don't blame the player for it; this is a recurring issue for this team.

The conversation has been ongoing among fans that FCD struggles to make immediate impact signings. For all the good that Rolando Escobar did against LA, it's been a long time coming in the impatient time stream of sports fans. FC Dallas has played 10 games since Escobar was acquired on May 26th when he could have been eligible to play (I disqualified the match on May 29th since I don't think any new player would start after 3 days). In that time, he has played just 239 minutes, including 90 against the Galaxy this past weekend in his first start for the club. That is an average of less than 17 minutes per game ignoring the full performance against Robbie Keane and his merry band.

86F2)  How will FC Dallas win the match?

BDS2: FCD is going to need to fire on all cylinders. Even though Vancouver hasn't been great at home, Dallas has been poor on the road.

Fabian Castillo and Michael Barrios will need to bring their speed and do a bit better finishing. Barrios has scored 4 goals in the last 6 games, so he is closer to 100% than Fabi lately. The Dallas defense will need to come together to stop te Whitecaps' scoring threats. This past week against LA, Oscar Pareja deployed 3 converted midfielders next to Matt Hedges in defense. I am hoping that true defenders like Moises Hernandez and Zach Loyd are ready to play in Vancouver.