Whitecaps return home to tangle with FCD
Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - After spending last week on the road, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be pleased to return to BC Place on Sunday as the team entertains an FC Dallas side in good form.
Vancouver played a pair of road matches in the span of four days last week and came away with a point from each game, while Dallas brings a five-game unbeaten streak in league play into Sunday's contest after notching a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution last weekend.
Following a 1-1 draw at Toronto FC on Wednesday, the Whitecaps traveled to Salt Lake to take on the defending Western Conference champions.
Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson went into that match with a plan based on his team's last visit to RSL, and once again the Canadian outfit was able to leave town with a point.
After employing a more defensive strategy against Salt Lake, Vancouver took the lead in the 73rd minute when Darren Mattocks converted a penalty kick.
The home side equalized nine minutes from time through Joao Plata, but Robinson was pleased with how his side went about the match, knowing his men are not yet at a point where they can simply play an open and expansive game against a team like Salt Lake.
"After our last game here, where they battered us for the first 15 minutes and scored two great goals, I didn't want that to happen," Robinson said of his team's different approach. "So I said, 'Listen, just mix it up, slow the game down a little bit, manage the game correctly.' I know they frustrated Salt Lake, and I understand it, but we're not there yet to come and play an open, expansive game against them and try and beat them on their own turf."
Back on home soil, expect the Whitecaps to go at Dallas and try to break down a defensive unit that is in top form at the moment.
A big reason for FCD's unbeaten run has been the improved play of the back line, which has yielded just one goal in the club's last three league outings.
The club secured another clean sheet last weekend in the 2-0 win over the Revs, and defender Zach Loyd believes his men are starting to build some momentum heading into the second half of the campaign.
"It always feels good to get the shutout when you are a defender," Loyd said after the match. "Overall, it was a great result for us, especially the back four and the goalkeeper. There's a little bit of a pride thing. Hopefully we can build off of this going into the second half of the season."
A late-season injury suffered by Loyd at the end of last season carried over into this term and hampered his play in the first few months. But Loyd's return to top form has been a big reason why Dallas is now starting to tighten up at the back and make the team a real contender in the Western Conference.
The team has also been able to overcome a rash of injuries to key players with others like Andres Escobar and Tesho Akindele stepping forward to pick up the slack.
Both men found the net for Dallas in the last game, and once the team is able to get back some of its injured players, it will only give head coach Oscar Pareja more options.
07/26 16:58:26 ET