Wednesday night, the Vancouver Whitecaps will continue their busy stretch of fixtures in the lone star state with a matchup against Western Conference rivals FC Dallas.
Dallas currently sits 4th in the West, with 5 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses for 18 points, 4 points clear of Vancouver with the same number of games played. While FC Dallas has been getting results so far this season under head coach Nico Estévez, their underlying numbers are not particularly fantastic. The biggest problem Dallas appears to be facing is in the chance creation department, where other than Jesus Ferreria and Paul Arriola, the Toros are rather short on options. When Dallas scores more than one goal, they tend to win those matches, however, they have only managed this 3 times so far through 11 games.
Most recently, Dallas hustled their way to a 1-0 win over Texas rivals Austin on the road in a match that produced only 0.9 in total Xg. Needless to say, Dallas is pretty comfortable playing a low event style of football. That being said, they are still more than happy to sit on the ball in possession if asked, as they are right in the middle of the league table at just under 50% in that category. As such, I wouldn’t expect bunker and counter football from them, rather, they are simply happy to control the match without taking too many risks which push them out of shape.
One of the reasons Dallas is able to play this style is because of Maarten Paes in goal. The 25 year old Dutch keeper has quickly distinguished himself as one of the better keepers in MLS and has conceded just 11 goals in 11 matches so far this year, and is sitting a +2.1 post shot expected goals. This is especially impressive given how solid Dallas is defensively, because often this metric flatters keepers who face a high volume of shots on bad teams.
Moving to Vancouver, while this Whitecaps team has been on a good run recently, big results have still eluded them in large part. At some point, Vancouver is going to have to steal a win or two on the road, as right now they only have 3 draws to show for their road efforts. The Caps will be expecting comeback performances, no doubt, from Andres Cubas and Yohei Takaoka, who had rare poor showings in Portland this past weekend. Looking up the pitch, it was encouraging to see both Julian Gressel and Ryan Gauld play well in Portland, although Vanni Sartini is going to have to find the right combination up front to finish more chances.
I would not be surprised if both Sergio Cordova and Pedro Vite filter out of the starting lineup, while Brian White sounds like he should be good to go midweek after a thigh issue kept him out this past weekend. Obviously, with another match upcoming on the weekend, rest and rotation will play a role as well.
Overall, this Dallas team appears too well drilled at the back for me to think Vancouver can earn three points away from home, that being said, I think they can get something out of this match, so I will go with a 1-1 draw – the same result as last time these teams played each other back in early March at BC Place.
(Image Credits: FC Dallas)
4 thoughts on “Match Preview: Whitecaps on the road in Texas”
I agree. Ahmed at right forward
0 goals, 1 assist
That is the combined contribution of Gauld and Vite so far this season, playing essentially as forwards in this formation. They clearly need more goals or at least assists coming from this spot.
Vite flits about but doesn’t create off the dribble like Ahmed can, and he is playing in the midield three. I wonder if it would be better if the rookie Canadian got a shot in Vite’s place?
Vanni has a decision to make. He either wants to take the best shot at winning the game or he wants to satisfy egos, including his own. He can’t be let off the hook for bad decisions merely because the stats are a little better than this same time last season.
Beating Dallas FC will require quickness and accuracy on the ball. It will take being somewhat fearless. Those are qualities White doesn’t have, and it doesn’t seem like Cordova does either.
The front two or three can’t play deep. The usual players aren’t fast enough on their feet to beat the Dallas defense on long passes forward. They’re also lacking in what’s needed to take advantage of rebounds.
The Whitecaps must figure out how to capitalize on corner kicks because what they have done isn’t working. They often look like they’re competing against each other for a goal versus allowing the man in the best position with the greatest skill to score.
Whether win or lose, this game is going to set the tone for the next several matches.
Vancouver, obviously, isn’t paying players based on performance. The inequity is startling.