FC Dallas will have the opportunity to climb six points clear of the Colorado Rapids in the race for the Supporters’ Shield on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Stadium, when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit for the only time in 2016.
Sunday’s meeting will be the second and final encounter between the two clubs this season, with Vancouver winning the first matchup 3-0 on April 23rd at BC Place.
Sitting in sixth position in the ten-team Western Conference, the Whitecaps occupy the final playoff spot in the West, leading seventh place Portland by just one point after 22 games played for each team.
Vancouver’s 8-8-6 (W-L-D) record and 30 points in 2016 haves come with a high-powered offense and a leaky defense, with the Canadian club scoring 33 goals, but allowing 35.
Like many teams in MLS, home form has been critical to Vancouver’s success this season, with five of the team’s eight wins coming on their home turf. Perhaps more of relevance to Sunday’s match though is the fact that six of Vancouver’s eight losses have come on the road.
Currently on a four-match unbeaten run in MLS play, the Whitecaps are fresh off a scoreless draw in Houston last Saturday night, which followed three consecutive home matches that saw Vancouver claim just five out of a possible nine points.
As evidenced by the high number of goals Vancouver allows, goalkeeper David Ousted has been a busy man, facing 120 shots this season. Ousted’s 81 saves in 2016 leads the entire league.
Defender Kendall Waston featured for Costa Rica at the Copa America Centenario and has been a rare steady performer for the Whitecaps in defense this season. Waston, who received a red card while playing for his country this summer, has at times been a discipline issue for Vancouver though, as he has collected six yellow cards and has been sent off on two occasions.
Midfielders Pedro Morales and Christian Bolanos have played pivotal roles in the Vancouver attack this season, combining to score 11 goals and record 10 assists this year. Formerly of Spanish club Malaga, Morales has been an offensive sensation since joining Vancouver in 2014, scoring 22 times in 59 starts for the Canadian club.
Bolanos meanwhile has made an impact in his first season in MLS after joining the Whitecaps from Deportivo Saprissa this off season, the same club that FC Dallas defender Aubrey David is currently on-loan from.
Also housed in the Vancouver Whitecaps midfield is Andrew Jacobson, an MLS veteran who played 98 times for FC Dallas from 2011-14. Forward Blas Perez will also be making his return to Frisco on Sunday after spending four successful seasons with FC Dallas.
Manager Carl Robinson will look to record a historical first on Sunday as well, with Vancouver never having won a match in Frisco in the club’s history.
FC Dallas’ home unbeaten run sits at 16 matches heading into Sunday’s encounter with the Whitecaps, a match made all the more important with the Colorado Rapids’ loss to New York City FC on Saturday afternoon.
That 5-1 defeat suffered by Colorado means that Dallas can increase their lead over the Rapids in both the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield races with a result at home against Vancouver.
Dallas’ current margin over the Rapids sits at three points, although after Sunday’s match, FC Dallas will have played three more games than their Colorado counterparts.
After enjoying a week off following their 1-1 draw in Commerce City last Saturday night, FC Dallas (41 points) will hope to continue their franchise-best home unbeaten run against a side that has never been victorious in the state of Texas in MLS play.
Goalkeeper Chris Seitz’s six shutouts this season are tied for the second-most in MLS, a mark matched by his nine wins as well.
With defender Zach Loyd still in the MLS concussion protocol following his third career concussion suffered in early June, Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman are expected to again feature at the two center back positions.
David has impressed in his short-time on-loan from Saprissa and it would not be a surprise to see the Trinidad and Tobago international receive another start against Vancouver, especially following a critical defensive error by Atiba Harris that led to Colorado’s only goal last Saturday.
There may be another defender about to join the ranks in Frisco as well, with former Portland Timbers man Norberto Papparato seen training with the team earlier this week.
Midfielders Mauro Diaz and Kellyn Acosta each featured for the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday night in San Jose at the MLS All-Star Game, but both should be fit enough to go on Sunday. The pair have combined for 14 assists this season, with Diaz also contributing three goals to the FC Dallas cause.
Forwards Tesho Akindele and Maxi Urruti each have 5 goals to their name in league play this season and could feature for Dallas up top, although the arrival this past week of new striker Getterson may mean that the Brazilian could see his first game action with Dallas against Vancouver.
Sunday’s match will kick off at 5:00 pm CST in Frisco and will be broadcast on television by TXA 21. Radio coverage will be provided by 100.7 FM The Word (English) and 1270 AM Amor Celestial (Spanish).