clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

FC Dallas vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Preview, scouting report and keys to the match

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Dallas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This week, FC Dallas squares off against the Vancouver Whitecaps at home on what is going to be a HOT day in Frisco. On top of the heat and the travel, Vancouver is coming in on short rest. They played San Jose at home on Wednesday, drawing 2-2 with the California team. Vancouver started the season well with three wins in their first 6 games; however, they have only won once in their last six. Overall, they sit one point behind Dallas at 15 points with a 4-5-3 record.

Dallas is coming off a thrilling 3-2 win over LA Galaxy at home last week. The win moved the Hoops up to third in the West with 16 points. FC Dallas remains one of only four teams still unbeaten at home and the only team with a single loss giving them an overall record of 4-1-4 on the season.

Formation - 4-4-2

Vancouver has had a frustrating season thus far. Much like Dallas, they have had a few draws that, with some slightly better luck, should have been wins. We know the game plan for Vancouver: play deep, counter, cross. This system has been their MO for a while now, and Vancouver has made it work, even ending up third in the West last season. Bringing in Kei Kamara in the off-season has only solidified this style. The Whitecaps have made good on a number of set pieces and long balls this season. This will be the test Dallas must pass if they are to come away with three points this game.

When assessing Vancouver’s struggles, no one player really stands out. At first glance they have a respectable back four - no superstars - but no scrubs either. The holding midfielders provide adequate cover most of the time. But defensively, something is amiss. At some point in every game, there’s a lapse in concentration. It doomed them against a 10-man Minnesota team when they lost 1-0. Two red cards allowed Sporting KC to run up six goals (!!!!) a few weeks back. Even in their last two games at home against San Jose and Houston, both 2-2 draws, they gave up some really simple goals.

The first goal San Jose scored came from just awful communication between Vancouver’s backline. Houston’s first goal was a simple pass on the ground from the flank to the middle of the field, where no one covered Tomas Martinez, who slotted in one of the easiest edge-of-the-box goals you will ever see. It’s these little things that seem to undo Vancouver – not closing out, not communicating, not making the simple play. Hopefully, it will be their undoing in Dallas this week.

Key Matchup

Center backs vs Kamara

Once again, the Dallas defense will have to deal with an aerial threat in Kei Kamara. For the most part, Dallas was able to hold Zlatan in check last week; but this will be a new kind of test. Vancouver will be pumping crosses into the box all game long (not just the final 10 minutes like LA did). With Ziegler out, FC Dallas will have its first new CB pairing of the season. We can probably assume it will be Figueroa slotting in there, but the job mainly falls to Hedges and Maurer. They will need to control the box to keep Vancouver off the score sheet.

Three Keys:

1. Feed the Belgian - To echo (steal) from fellow staff writer Scott Hiney and his article on Roland Lamah, FC Dallas should be pleased with the start he is having this season. Count me among the doubters about his scoring last season, but he has been crucial to keeping Dallas alive in multiple matches this year. I absolutely see him getting a one-vs-one in this game against the keeper, and I hope he slots home his 6th goal of the season.

2. Mo’ Mosquera - I have really enjoyed seeing Santiago Mosquera bring out a different kind of attack on Dallas’ flanks lately. He is acting as a second creator, with his movement in toward the middle and how he holds possession. He is quick enough to get past most anyone on speed alone, but he also enjoys those quick cuts and jumps to get around his defender as well. He has been a delight to watch.

3. Safe and Sound - As in, being safe and sound defensively. I have made it this far without mentioning Reggie Cannon’s matchup this week, but here it is - Alphonso Davies. He is fast, skilled, and has a knack for absolutely roasting his defender at least once a game. But more than just Cannon, the defense needs to stay solid in every way. As Jared Tilly pointed out in his “Good, Bad, Ugly” article, Hedges and Ziegler have been a solid partnership. Hedges and Figueroa - not so much.

As we get down to it, I like Dallas’ chances in this game. Sure, Vancouver rotated on Thursday to try to bring down a fresh team. Yes, they have a solid game plan that can work against almost any team. But FC Dallas is flying high after that win against the Galaxy and I expect that energy to continue. The heat, the travel, the short rest - these are all nice excuses for a team visiting Dallas; but the truth is, I just think Dallas has the better team and are in better form. I won’t get too carried away but I think a 2-0 win sounds about right.