It will be another massive test for Carl Robinson and his boys when they host FC Dallas on Saturday, a team the 'Caps have only gotten the better of once in their brief history. They come into the match on a winning note, after that 2-1 sigh of relief against Real Salt Lake over the weekend, but once again their young strikers were kept off the scoresheet, while the club was forced to rely on Pedro Morales for his heroics once again.
Speaking of Morales..
Where in hell would the Whitecaps be without Pedro Morales lifting them on his back? The Captain scored twice in that win over RSL, a determined, hard working effort after he clearly struggled in the first half. While it's great to see Morales dig deep and show some real resolve, it's also clearly a troubling sign. What if Morales goes down with injury at some point (Knock on wood)? The 'Caps would ultimately be screwed. It was mentioned several times during the broadcast that Morales was looking fatigued in that first half and that he really could have used a rest.
I mean, if this club had actual scoring depth, Morales could've taken a match off, and Mauro Rosales could have slid over into his role. Instead, the Whitecaps are so anemic on offense, they were forced to put their Clydesdale back on the track and cross their fingers that he had some magic left. He did, but you have to wonder just how much longer Morales can keep going at this pace.
Who should start up top?
I know I've been hard on him this season, but I think Erik Hurtado did enough last match to secure another go around in the starting 11. Hurtado didn't score of course, but he did enough to make an impression. Perhaps my colleague Mark Dailey put it best in his report card:
Yes, I know that Hurtado didn't score (again), and yes I know the one really good chance that Erik did have he put straight into the hands of Jeff Attinella, but he had a solid, hard-working shift. He had a couple of chances, he held up the ball well, and he drew the penalty that led to the goal that ultimately won the game for the Caps. Despite all the hard work he just couldn't find his way on to the score sheet in this one.
I've been hearing some calls for Omar Salgado as well, and at this point, it may not be a bad idea. He's a different type of player than Manneh, Mattocks and Hurtado in that he has some real size. However, some well-documented issues at training means we will likely see him on the bench again when the action starts.
Forget about the record
We know the Whitecaps don't have a great all-time record against Dallas, going 1-7-2 overall since the 'Caps joined MLS. However, this is a must-win match, the Whitecaps are at home, and they're relatively healthy. The Whitecaps need to put the record out of their minds (which I'm sure will be no problem), go out there, and play some soccer. A win on Saturday would make all that negative history pretty damn irrelevant.
I have faith. 1-0 Whitecaps.