Whitecaps FC-FC Dallas Preview
Luchi Gonzalez is happy to adapt his playing philosophy if it ensures FC Dallas can finally start building some momentum, with his side seeking back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Homegrown forward Ricardo Pepi's double helped the Toros to a 2-0 win over Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution last week, snapping a six-game winless streak for Gonzalez's side.
Dallas have often dominated possession this season without having much to show for it, best exemplified by their 2-0 loss to Los Angeles FC four days earlier, whereas against the Revs they were far more pragmatic.
And while Gonzalez is not going to entirely sacrifice his ideals, the 40-year-old accepts that playing different ways can ultimately help his side to move up the Western Conference standings.
"I think you see a foundation in the group," he said. "We're not afraid to touch the ball, move it around against different presses.
"I think the efficiency wasn't showing in the results in terms of our verticality to get behind lines, to get behind the last line and get closer to the opponents' goal, get quality shots off.
"We had less shots than New England, but they were higher-quality chances. That's going to be the focus that I believe we worked hard the last weeks to improve."
Dallas' shock win over the Revs was just their second all season and gives them 10 points for the season, two more than next opponents Vancouver Whitecaps, who are at the foot of the division.
However, the Caps also picked up a credible result last time out with a 2-2 draw against the Seattle Sounders, a point that head coach Marc Dos Santos is eager for his side to build on at Toyota Stadium on Sunday.
"It's important that we believe in what we're doing and we believe in what is the best thing for us as a team," he said.
"We need to focus on doing what we have to do as a team and not play this game thinking about what Dallas are going to do.
"Dallas have to be concerned with our weapons, with what we can do and how we're going to hurt them."
FC Dallas - Ricardo Pepi
Texas-born Pepi's first-ever MLS brace last week took him to four goals from just 381 minutes this season - a goal every 95 minutes. Up against the team that has conceded the joint third-most goals in the Western Conference heading into this weekend's games, the youngster will be confident of adding to his goals tally here.
Vancouver Whitecaps - Lucas Cavallini
Cavallini and Maxime Crepeau have both been called to the Canada national team for the upcoming Gold Cup, but they are available for selection against Dallas and will be eager to sign off in style. Striker Cavallini's absence in particular will be felt over the coming weeks, having played a direct part in three of his side's pretty poor return of 10 goals this term. That includes a strike against the Sounders last week - not since last October has he scored in successive games in the same season.
- Vancouver are unbeaten in their last three trips to Dallas (W1 D2), scoring eight goals over the three visits. The Whitecaps had lost their first eight games at Toyota Stadium (including playoffs), scoring just three times in those games.
- FC Dallas picked up their second win of the year by beating New England 2-1 last Sunday, also ending a six-match winless run (D3 L3). Dallas have not recorded the same result in consecutive matches this season.
- Vancouver drew 2-2 in Seattle on Saturday, earning juts their second point in their last 11 road matches. It was the first point the Whitecaps took in a true road game since a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake in September 2020 (one draw v Toronto FC in Orlando in April).
- Ricardo Pepi scored both goals in FC Dallas' 2-1 win over New England on Sunday. At 18 years, 169 days, Pepi became the youngest player to score multiple goals in an MLS match in FC Dallas history and the sixth youngest to do so overall in MLS.
- The Whitecaps have not scored in the first half of any of their 10 games this season. It is the longest first-half goal drought in team history and the 11th time a team has gone 10 or more games without scoring in the first half in MLS history.
Updated July 3, 2021