Q: With the Whitecaps and FC Dallas jockeying for that final play-off spot last season, is it safe to say there is a bit of a rivalry here?
A: There may be a little something brewing between the two clubs. It helps that Eric Hassli has joined Dallas. He has had nothing but nice things to say about his time with Vancouver from what I've seen, but it is always fun to go up against your old team. Additionally, the Dallas Stars played the Vancouver Canucks this week. The FCD and Stars social media teams have been bantering back and forth to make this #BeatVancouver week in DFW. (The Stars defeated the Canucks 5-1 Thursday night.) I think the home and home series over these next two weeks will be a ton of fun for both fan bases.
Q: Dallas is first in the West this year, after missing the playoffs last year. What are they doing right?
A: The Dallas squad is closing out games much better than last year. In 2012, FCD conceded 75% of their goals in the 60th minute or later. The team has been a bit up and down this season, but so far, they have been maintaining that fighting consistency to the last whistle.
On top of that mentality improvement, the Front Office put in good work this off-season to strengthen the roster. Although Brek Shea was sold to Stoke City, you will see several newcomers make a positive impact for FCD, including Eric Hassli, Michel, and hometown product Kenny Cooper, to name a few.
Q: Eric Hassli was a fan favorite during his stay in Vancouver. How has he adjusted to Dallas, and have the fans in Dallas accepted him?
A: The Dallas fans were very excited for Hassli to join the team when it was announced in February. Our team was lacking quality depth at forward last year, having to play midfielders like Jackson and Shea when veteran striker Blas Perez was not able to start.
Hassli has had a tough adjustment period to take the field for Dallas. I have seen reports that he picked up an injury late in the season with Toronto last year, and he was left out of training during the offseason until Dallas picked him up. He has been fighting hard to return from his injury and regain match fitness. I believe he will be a fantastic addition to the weekly squad once he is able to compete at 100%.
I heard that he has been very enthusiastic to move to Texas on a personal level. His wife loves horses, so I believe he has already bought up some prime Texas countryside in order to have horses again.
Q: Lastly, can I get a prediction for this match?
A: Dallas has been a beast this season. The team is on a fighting run. I expect the offense to net one or two goals, and for the defense to make life impossible for Vancouver in the home end. I will estimate 2-0 to Dallas.