The Big D will take on new meaning Saturday.
Dallas is known as the Big D, but the city’s Major League Soccer club will pose the Big Difficulty for the Vancouver Whitecaps when the teams clash at Toyota Stadium in the suburb of Frisco, Texas.
With only one loss, FC Dallas (4-1-4) has suffered the fewest setbacks in MLS this season. The Big D is also unbeaten in six home games and is the only team in the league that has not been shut out yet in 2018.
“Certainly, we have still a long way to go and reach our potential as a team during the year,” Dallas coach Oscar Pareja told reporters. “But, so far, we are progressing.”
Dallas will have to play without suspended top central defender Reto Ziegler after he was sent off for taking two yellow cards in last weekend’s 3-2 home win over the Los Angeles Galaxy. Maynor Figueroa, 35, is expected to replace him. If Figueroa does draw in, it will be his second start of the season.
“Maynor came in and did well in the L.A. game, and I know he’s eager to get his opportunity,” midfielder Kellyn Acosta told reporters. “I have no doubt in my mind he’s going to go out there and do the job.”
The Whitecaps (4-5-3) blanked Dallas 4-0 in Frisco last season and have two wins in their past four visits to Dallas. But the Caps have only one victory in their last seven games overall and have struggled to score after many near misses and clanged crossbars and posts.
“We need to go back to the drawing board on our finishing,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said. “That’s the worrying thing, but it’s a positive as well. We are creating [scoring chances], but we just have to hit the target more.”
Robinson plans to make a few lineup changes as the Whitecaps have a short turnaround following Wednesday’s 2-2 home tie with the San Jose Earthquakes. The Whitecaps, who have come back to earn a draw in each of their last two outings, will play their third game in nine days.
Midfielder Felipe Martins wants the Caps to start showing more confidence.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” he said. “We know the situation we are in. We are getting into the middle of the season. The important thing is how we are going to finish.”
Vancouver sits just a point back of Dallas for the third spot in the Western Conference, but the Whitecaps have played three more games.
—Field Level Media