Vancouver Whitecaps 2, FC Dallas 0 | MLS Match Recap
VANCOUVER, B.C. - Vancouver Whitecaps remained in the driving seat in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 2-0 win over FC Dallas at BC Place on Saturday afternoon.
The Whitecaps had promised to play "front-foot football" and they delivered it in some style, with Sebastian Fernandez grabbing a first half brace to put Vancouver in control, and they never looked back.
The win keeps Vancouver (10-8-13; 43 points) ahead of Portland for 5th place in the West, but they also have their sights set on perhaps catching Dallas (14-11-6; 48 points), and now close the gap on the Texans to five points with three games remaining.
Dallas started without breakout star Fabian Castillo for the third consecutive game, and David Texeira started up top alongside Blas Perez. Meanwhile, Vancouver started the same 11 that beat Real Salt Lake a week ago.
It was the visitors who had the first chance, when Perez was left unmarked at the back of the box but headed a Michel cross past the left post.
The Whitecaps then stepped up their game and took over, sparked by the hard work of Mauro Rosales in midfield.
With nine minutes gone Rosales showed some nice build up play, before playing the ball inside to Pedro Morales. The 'Caps captain dummied the pass into the path of Fernandez, who blasted over.
The Uruguayan wasn't to be denied though, and hit two goals in the space of four minutes to put Vancouver in control, both assisted by Rosales.
The home side took the lead in the 14th minute when Rosales sent in a perfect delivery from the right and Fernandez outjumped Je-Vaughn Watson and headed the ball high into the net for the opener.
The pair combined again in the 18th minute to double Vancouver's lead. Rosales picked up a loose ball just inside the Dallas half and ran upfield on goal before playing in Fernandez, who buried low past his namesake, Dallas 'keeper Raul Fernandez, to make it 2-0.
Perez thought he had pulled a goal back for Dallas in the 33rd minute, but he was controversially called for offside. Replays appeared to indicate the call was incorrect.
Morales had a great chance to make it three two minutes later, but hit a weak shot straight at Raul Fernandez when he should have done better.
The action died considerably in the second half, with Vancouver controlling the play. Both sides had half chances but neither goal was really threatened.
Vancouver now head on the road for their next two matches. A trip to Seattle on Friday night is first up with both crucial playoff points and the fate of this year's Cascadia Cup on the line. Dallas return home to take on the LA Galaxy on Sunday, as they look to secure their postseason berth.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Mauro Rosales||Showed impressive workrate on the day and linked up well with his teammates in the attack in setting up both goals|
|2||Sebastian Fernandez||Benefitted from good work from his teammates to grab the goals, but he did plenty of work himself in finishing his brace|
|3||Matias Laba||Prevented Dallas' midfield from gaining any rhythm all game, and had a vital tackle in the box to stop a goal|