The Vancouver Whitecaps will get to know FC Dallas quite well over the next little bit, as the two sides kick off the first of back to back matches against each other. Wednesday, BC Place will be the site of the battle, while next Wednesday, the 'Caps will head to Frisco. The importance of the two matches cannot be understated for both teams; Dallas sits in second place with 50 points, while the 'Caps are just one place and one point behind.
The 'Caps at Home
The Whitecaps have had a disappointing home record this season, with a pedestrian 8-6-2 record. It's above .500, but BC Place has generally been a tough place for opposing teams to get points in previous seasons. The 'Caps have just four matches remaining in the MLS Regular Season and it would be huge if they can make sure FC Dallas heads back to Texas empty handed.
There's also the matter of securing a playoff spot ,which the Whitecaps can clinch with a single point on the night. They only need two points and they set a club record, as well. The two sides have met once this season, an August 22nd, 1-0 Whitecaps victory in Vancouver.
The Injury Bug
The Whitecaps are going to be missing some key personnel from the match, with Kendall Waston away on International duty, Steven Beitashour suspended for card accumulation, and Nicolas Mezquida and Pedro Morales questionable with hamstring injuries, according to WhitecapsFC.com.
It means players like Kekuta Manneh, Octavio Rivero, Cristian Techera, and, on the backline, likely Tim Parker will have to step it up. It will be interesting to see how Pa Modou Kah plays without Waston beside him.
A Statement Match
If the Whitecaps can clinch a playoff spot Wednesday night, they'll be giving themselves some semblance of breathing room as they work through the final stretch. I'm not suggesting the team will roll over for the rest of the season if they do clinch, but they'll be able to relax a bit, instead of being thrown into a pressure cooker for another week.
The Western Conference is an absolute dogfight, with several teams capable of giving the 'Caps a run for their money in the post-season. The Whitecaps need to take care of business now, and remind themselves they're a very good team in the process.
Whitecaps take the match at home, 2-0.