MLS Preview: FC Dallas - Vancouver Whitecaps

Avi Creditor
MLS Preview: FC Dallas - Vancouver Whitecaps

FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps have fallen on uneven times, and, as a result, both sit just outside of the Western Conference playoff picture. For one, Saturday's match is a chance to create some separation while perhaps creeping back into the top five.

The two sides are level on 37 points, two points behind fourth-place Colorado and fifth-place Portland, and a win could vault either team back into the mix. Wins, however, have been few and far between for both sides recently. FC Dallas has just one win in its last 13 games, while Vancouver has just one in its last seven, with both lacking a killer instinct as the pressure increases.

Vancouver may have the tiebreaker between the two sides, by virtue of having 10 wins to FCD's nine, but the Texas side has taken four points off Vancouver this season. The club's played consecutive games in April, with FCD winning 2-0 on April 20 at FC Dallas Stadium -- which will be renamed on Sept. 10 -- before the two played to a 2-2 draw a week later at BC Place.

FC Dallas will be shorthanded up top for the match, as Panamanian striker Blas Perez, who leads the team with 10 goals, is with Los Canaleros for international duty and Kenny Cooper is suspended. That could pave the way for former Whitecaps Designated Player Eric Hassli to start against his former side.

Vancouver is harmed by international duty as well, with young attacking talent Russell Teibert and Darren Mattocks representing Canada and Jamaica, respectively. Vancouver could see captain and center back Jay DeMerit return to action for the first time since rupturing his Achilles' tendon in the season-opening match, though, as he has been included on the traveling roster for the match.