So we meet again.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (13W-9L-3D) host FC Dallas (11W-7L-5D) on Saturday night at BC Place in a match that could have major implications on the Western Conference playoff race.
It’s also Vancouver’s first match against Dallas since last year’s heartbreaking playoff loss – and first of three meetings over the next two months.
“We like to go at each other,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said of the rivalry with FC Dallas. “There’s lots of action, there are lots of goals, there are lots of close calls, good decisions, bad decisions, strange decisions. You just get on with it. We still play them three times so it’s important we come out on the right end of that.”
Match Day: Saturday, August 22
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Venue: BC Place
Radio: TSN 1410
“Get on with it.”
That was Robinson’s message to his group this week after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss at Sporting KC. Well, there was more to it than that, but the ‘Caps are very much looking forward – not back.
Whitecaps FC enter the weekend second in the Western Conference – four points up on FC Dallas, who have two games in hand. A win on Saturday could propel Vancouver back into the top spot in the Western Conference, depending on LA Galaxy’s result on Sunday against New York City FC.
On the injury front, Robinson said this week that Pa-Modou Kah has an “outside chance” of being available against Dallas after picking up a facial fracture last weekend vs. SKC. Meanwhile, his centre back partner Kendall Waston will be back in the fold after serving a one-match suspension.
Oscar Pareja’s side have cooled a bit as of late – dropping back-to-back matches after winning five straight – but remain a major contender in the West.
As it stands, the only two Western Conference teams averaging more points per game than Dallas are Vancouver and SKC. A win on Saturday would move them to within one-point of the second-place ‘Caps.
The player to watch here is 23-year-old winger Fabian Castillo, who has a team-high eight goals and six assists. Argentine playmaker Mauro Diaz is tied with Castillo for the team lead in assists, though he’s a question mark for Saturday’s contest after missing last weekend’s match with quad tightness.
Vancouver’s record against FC Dallas in MLS is 2W-8L-2D (including last year’s playoff loss).
It doesn’t look good, but the ‘Caps actually matched up quite well against their rivals from down south last season – particularly at BC Place, where they came away with an exciting 2-2 draw in July and a convincing 2-0 win in October.
This will be the first of three meetings between the two teams this season. They will meet again on October 7 at BC Place, before concluding the home-and-home series on October 14 in Dallas.
Following Saturday’s match, Whitecaps FC return to BC Place on Wednesday to host Montreal Impact in the decisive second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship Final.
The ‘Caps are searching for their first-ever Voyageurs Cup.