Another day, another do or die match for the Vancouver Whitecaps, as they prepare to take on FC Dallas tomorrow. We caught up with Brian Waccholz from our sister SBNation site, Big D Soccer, to talk a little about Dallas and their recent run of games, their dominance over the 'Caps, and just where they'll end up when the regular season comes to a close.
86Forever: FC Dallas have been a bit inconsistent of late, going L,L,W,L,W in their last five matches. Blip in the radar, or is there something more there?
Brian Wachholz: It's player availability and also a little bit schedule. The first two losses there were to Chicago and RSL. Blas Perez is incredibly important to this team, and he was unavailable for both of those games while away on international duty. In addition to his goal scoring ability, Blas is tireless off the ball, distracting defenders and creating room for his strike partners.
Any player asked about Blas says that he is a top locker room guy and veteran leader on this team. He's back and starting with FCD now. To lose to Chicago then beat Seattle in that short span of time shows how crucial Blas is to FC Dallas. Those wins are no accident. [That other loss was an unlucky 2-1 defeat to LA Galaxy away. I don't think any team can be faulted for that.]
86F: FC Dallas have historically owned the 'Caps (7 wins to 1). How does Dallas find success against them?
BW: The last time you asked me this question it was 6 wins to 1. FC Dallas found what works and is able to implement that system time after time. FCD feels confident pressing the Whitecaps. Both goals scored last month were long range bombs. FCD fires anything they can at the Vancouver goal and have come away with wins most times.
When FC Dallas isn't able to implement the first XI, Oscar Pareja has been happy to experiment with other combinations. Some of these have panned out and some have been failures. That drive to take risks, though, and the willingness to keep pushing forward despite a bad result - that is what makes FC Dallas dangerous.
86F: Does Dallas have what it takes to try and make a late run up the standings, or do you see 4th place in the West as a likely finish for them in the regular season?
BW: I think FC Dallas has all the potential to make a move (or two) if everyone can stay healthy and perform through the final stretch. FCD has one of the hardest remaining schedules, and RSL has one of the easiest. However, as we saw last week, FCD is very capable of beating any team, including Seattle or Los Angeles. Our game against the Galaxy is going to be extremely difficult, but FCD is capable of surprising the visitors. I think this team can beat out Salt Lake for third place. 7
It will depend heavily on the distribution of points between the Seattle-LA home and home series, but I think FCD can even be a dark horse for 2nd place. If FCD can pull results from their last 4 games and/or one of those top 2 dominates for all 6 points- FCD could make a surprise jump. It's so dependent on what the other teams do right now. FC Dallas has to do its part first and foremost; then they can hope for favorable results from everyone else.
BW: Another FC Dallas victory despite some respectable effort from the Whitecaps. I'm going with a 3-2 goal fest for FCD