There are few games in the MLS season that reach the levels of hot-bloodedness seen in a Vancouver-Dallas matchup. Almost every single meeting guarantees fire, passion, and bizarre refereeing to be talked about for weeks and months afterward.
Tonight's match, with its added storylines and significance in the standings, should be no different. The Whitecaps are battling to stay in a playoff spot while Dallas are looking to cement their lead atop the Western Conference.
In April the Whitecaps beat Dallas handily, 3-0 at BC Place, but since then the Texan team have gone 9-4-3 and eclipsed the Colorado Rapids atop the West. The Whitecaps have written themselves a different story, foundering their way around the middle of the conference and teetering dangerously close to the edge of the playoff places.
The Whitecaps have made the most of Blas Perez's return to Frisco, but the real storyline to watch will be the performance of Vancouver's ever-embattled backline. Will Kendall Waston's All-Star appearance invigorate him or tire him out? Will the tire fire of a right back - Jordan Smith - make his return to the XI, will Cole Seiler get another chance after the clean sheet against the Houston Dynamo, or will the speedy and sublime-crossing Fraser Aird make his return? Could we see the competitive debut of David Edgar? The questions abound.
As for Dallas, the team seems to be edging closer to a post-Fabian Castillo era. The fantastic winger has been a thorn in the side of every MLS team he's played against and is more than deserving of a chance in Europe. Trabzonspor in Turkey is the rumored recipient of the Colombian's services and it is almost certain that he won't feature against the Caps.
Prediction: FC Dallas 1-1 Whitecaps
Predicted Starting XI:
Seiler, Parker, Waston, Harvey;
Morales, Mezquida, Bolanos;
Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments below!