FC Dallas travels to Vancouver for the first of three straight road games Saturday night against the struggling Whitecaps. FCD has played well on the road so far this season (with one minor exception), and they will be looking to avoid a potential letdown game against an opponent who has scored one goal in their last four games.
This will be the first game FC Dallas plays against their former striker, Panama international, Blas Perez. 'Super Raton' made his name in the MLS with FC Dallas over the past four seasons. He had plenty of memorable moments with the Hoops, but my favorite was when he was on the receiving end of a corner kick that set up Walker Zimmerman for the game tying goal against Seattle in the playoffs last season.
Perez scored 37 goals in his time in Frisco and was a beloved player in the community. His celebrations, effort, and fight will always be appreciated among FC Dallas fans. He was a veteran presence full of young talent. Seeing him in a color other than red will certainly be a weird sight to see.
During his time with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Blas has started in 2 of his 5 appearances this season, and with the Whitecaps looking for an answer in the scoring department, it will be especially interesting to see if he makes the Starting XI against his former squad.
This will be the second straight road game FCD plays on turf, and with Mauro Diaz traveling with the team to Vancouver, some have speculated that this could be the triumphant return of the #10 but I just don't see Papi doing that. Playing on turf is less forgiving than on grass and is definitely more injury prone. I doubt they would bring Mauro Diaz back into the lineup in such conditions.
BC Place is one of five MLS Stadiums that use FieldTurf or in Vancouver's case, Polytan. Playing professional soccer on turf has generated plenty of criticism throughout the years and many international players have refused to play on it because of the toll it takes on the body. That being said, playing on this surface has a tendency to open things up so expect to see the pace turned up a notch this game.
Continuing Good Road Play
Ever since the debacle in Houston, FC Dallas has played quite well on the road, and it will be compelling to see them continue this trend against another desperate team eager for goals. In the two road games since, FCD has been aided by early goals by Michael Barrios. In both instances those early goals changed the dynamic of the game and took the crowd out of it early.
FC Dallas failed to score in their two trips to Vancouver last season, so coming out strong and aggressive like their previous two road matches will be essential to securing a result in this game.