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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Vancouver Whitecaps

This Western Conference battle is set up to be a crucial match for the two teams

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Four points separate FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps in the Western Conference race toward playoffs. With FCD sitting in fourth place behind the second-place Whitecaps, Saturday's contest between the two teams could play out to be a difference maker down this last stretch of the regular season.

Injury Report

Midfielder Ben McKendry is the only player listed out due to an injury to his left knee.

Probable Lineup

GK: David Ousted; RB: Steven Beitashour; CB: Tim Parker, Kendall Watson; LB: Jordan Harvey; DM: Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie; RM: Cristian Techera; CM: Nicolas Mezquida; LM: Kekuta Manneh; F: Octavio Rivero

Key Matchup

Kellyn Acosta vs. Matias Laba - With Mauro Diaz likely out of FCD's lineup for this one, Acosta will have to step up - even more than he usually does - in the midfield. He and Victor Ulloa will have to hold the midfield and create different options and opportunities for Dallas' offense. The ball needs to make its way to the wings or find that perfect ball upfront to Blas Perez or Rolando Escobar.

Keys to Three Points

Roll with Rolando. Although his stats may not back him up, Escobar has been a hardworking veteran for FC Dallas and did well in his first start for the team. There's something about him that makes it seem as if his breakthrough is coming soon. It might be finally getting to really settle in with fellow Panamanian, Blas Perez, but this could be the game we really see Escobar step up and shine.

Win with the wings. FCD's wingers are explosive and huge threats to any foes. Castillo has been a tad bit quiet in the two games since the 2015 MLS All-Star Game while Barrios has been breaking out. These two can beat about anybody, and after dropping the past two games, FCD needs them now more than ever.

Let's see Ciri. FC Dallas fans await the debut of summer signing Eziquiel Cirigliano. It will be a tough conference match, but maybe 30 minutes subbed in can play vital to Cirigliano's adjustment to the team and league. He's a talented player who Dallas is ready to see help the team make its push back to the top of the table.