MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Sunday, June 6 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: San Jose 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Dallas 9/5

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes welcome FC Dallas to Avaya Stadium in this key Western Conference clash on Sunday night.

Starting with this weekend’s fixture with FC Dallas, San Jose embark on a run of games that will really test their credentials and see if they can play with the so called ‘big clubs’ in MLS.

FC Dallas at home is just the start for the Earthquakes before they head to Seattle and host LA Galaxy. Although they have fallen out of the playoff places, a win over FC Dallas should see them propel into the top six again and that would give them terrific confidence before heading to the Sounders.

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San Jose have only lost one of their five games at home this season, in a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake back in April.

Some could argue that the Earthquakes are over relying on top scorer Chris Wondolowski, who has netted eight times this season, with no other player for the Quakes scoring more than one goal.

FC Dallas come into this one off the back of two consecutive losses. A 4-0 defeat away at Sporting Kansas City last week followed a 2-1 loss at Montreal Impact and those results have seen Dallas fall to fourth in the Western after a strong start to the season.

Dallas have only won twice away from Toyota Stadium so far with wins at the Philadelphia Union and also Houston Dynamo, so they will be desperate to get a third on Sunday.

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After this one FC Dallas have another three matches on the road before they head back home to Toyota Stadium in what is a testing spell.

The two sides meet for the second time this season on Sunday with the first coming on the opening day of the season. FC Dallas won 1-0 at home with Blas Perez’s injury time winner settling the match.

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes will be without Tommy Thompson as he is away on international duty. Innocent Emeghara is still out for another 4-5 months, while Leandro Barrera and Steven Lenhart are both struggling with knee injuries.

FC Dallas are without Zach Loyd through suspension. Jesse Gonzalez, Kellyn Acosta, Rolando Escobar and Blas Perez are all on international duty, while Stephen Keel remains out with a foot injury.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes last five: W/D/W/D/L

FC Dallas last five: W/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: There have been five red cards in the last six meetings between these two sides.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – The American has hit 100 MLS goals. He’s on eight for the season and will look to add to that tally against a weakened FC Dallas side.

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Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 FC Dallas – Hard to look past the Quakes in this one. They are good at form and take on a weakened Dallas side at the perfect time as they come into this one off a bad run of form.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. New England Revolution

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, March 15 – 17:00 ET (21:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports 1)

Match Odds: New York City 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – New England 5/2

Match Preview

New York City host the New England Revolution in the expansion clubs’ first ever home game on Sunday evening at Yankee stadium in a game that is live on Sky Sports for UK fans.

Both sides will see this as a must win. New York will want their first home game to be a memorable one, while New England needs to get back on track after a 3-0 opening loss to Seattle last weekend.

New York City picked up a point last week and would have had all three had it not been for a late deflected Kaka free-kick. So they will be confident of picking up the points in this one.

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If they are to win, they need their strikers David Villa and Adam Nemec to be on the same wavelength after they were both disappointing in Orlando. Nemec failed to impress but should be given another start as Jason Kreis will want him to form a good partnership with Villa.

New England are bottom of the MLS ladder at this early stage, but we can’t see that lasting long. They were missing key players Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones last week, and the Revs will be hoping the former returns on Sunday.

With 20 goals last term, Nguyen was a front-runner for the MLS MVP award. And they will need his ability on Sunday to beat New York keeper Josh Saunders who was exceptional last weekend.

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The Sounders undid the Revs with ease and New England need stability after losing defensive leader AJ Soares in the offseason. But this is the perfect opportunity to turn the tide. Juan Agudelo will be key if they do win.

This is certainly one to watch this weekend!

Team News

New York City FC: We’re expecting the same starting line-up from the Orlando game. However, Khiry Shelton could be called upon after impressing in preseason and in his short time on the field last week. Ryan Meara is nearing a return, but George John is still out. Both have knee injuries.

New England Revolution: Teal Bunbury is a major doubt with a shoulder sprain. Lee Nguyen is still a doubt but should be passed fit to play. Jermaine Jones is still a minimum of two weeks away from action recovering from a hernia operation. Andrew Farrell will start at centre-back once again with Kevin Alston at right-back.

Key Points

New York City FC’s form: D

New England Revolution’s form: L

Key Stat: Mix Diskerud had a pass completion rate of 94% in the draw at Orlando last weekend. Incredible.

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Key Player: David Villa – The Spanish World Cup winner is the star man for New York City and the home fans will be expecting magic. We expect the same.

Score Prediction

New York City FC 1-1 New England Revolution – This might only be the second game of the season but there is a lot of pressure on both sides going into this one. Neither will want to suffer defeat and an entertaining draw looks the most likely result.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders welcome the LA Galaxy to CenturyLink Field in what will be the last game of the 2014 season for one of these sides and a place in the MLS Cup Final is at stake.

The Galaxy take a narrow 1-0 lead to Seattle with them thanks to a deflected second-half strike from Marcelo Sarvas in the first leg at the StubHub Center last weekend.

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The Sounders will be thankful that they limited the damage to just a one goal deficit in a game where they will be the first to admit that they weren’t at their full-flowing best, but they’ve still managed to keep themselves very much alive in the tie.

It has been an amazing season for Seattle no matter what happens but they appear to be stuttering slightly in recent weeks and they will hope that they don’t fall at the final hurdle, so to speak.

They’ll be looking to their usually solid home form and hoping that it will be their saviour in this clash and also hoping that Osvaldo Alonso will return from injury in time to give his side the edge they need in midfield.

Seattle Sounders 2014 home record: Played 18 – Won 12 – Drawn 2 – Lost 4

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Boosted from their 5-0 thrashing of Real Salt Lake in the semi-final, LA Galaxy look like a revitalised team from the one that succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against the Sounders on the last day of the regular season and will be happy with their lead, as well as being quietly confident they can get themselves over the line.

Hitting a good vein of form at the right time is crucial in competitions like this because one moment in a game can change the face of everything, so LA can be pleased that they’ve scored six in their last three games and conceded none.

They know that they are now the slight favourites as keeping a clean sheet at home means that the Sounders don’t have an away goal to their name, so if the Galaxy can knick one in Seattle, they will be firmly in the driving seat and will leave their opponents needing three.

LA Galaxy 2014 away record: Played 18 – Won 5 – Drawn 7 – Lost 6

It’s a clash of the Western Conference titans and the incentive to get to the final couldn’t be higher as both are seeking to make history – MLS Cup success for Seattle would see them become the first team in MLS to win the treble (Supporters’ Shield, U. S. Open Cup and MLS Cup) while LA Galaxy are looking to record their fifth MLS Cup glory and become the most successful club in the history of the competition.

Both sides know what to expect from each other and they both also know how tough a game it will be, which can only make for a tight and intense encounter which looks set to go down to the wire.

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Key Player: Clint Dempsey – he’s missed a few good chances of late and he knows he can do better. He’s a player of real high quality and the Sounders will be looking to him to inspire the team.

Key Stat: LA Galaxy are without a win on the road in their last five attempts – their last win away from home came at Chivas USA on September 1.

Seattle Sounders last five: D/W/D/D/L

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/L/D/W/W

Score Prediction: Seattle Sounders 1-2 LA Galaxy – We aren’t expecting a goal-fest but it should be a tight game. The Galaxy are high on confidence right now and look hungry for success, while Seattle look like they have run out of steam right at the end.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs New England Revolution

The Eastern Conference Final kicks off on Sunday night with New England Revolution travelling to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls in the first-leg.

The Revolution have never won at Red Bull Arena and lost twice to New York during the regular season.

But the Revs are expected to come into the game at full strength seeing as Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen came home early from the USMNT’s mini-UK tour after facing Colombia last Friday.

The Red Bulls should be much of the same with their illustrious front three of Lloyd Sam, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry firing on all cylinders. While Peguy Luyindula will look to continue his fine run of form in the playmaking role.

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New York have made Red Bull Arena a bit of a fortress of late, having won nine out of their last ten at home. And have won back-to-back playoff games at home too as the days of home playoff losses could be over. New England will need to perform as they have been in recent weeks to change that.

New York Red Bulls Home Form: Played 19 – Won 12 – Drawn 4 – Lost 3

However, the Revs come into the game unbeaten in their last seven. And with the emergence of Charlie Davies and his recent proficiency, they haven’t had to rely on the outstanding Lee Nguyen as much.

Don’t Miss: Stats: Thierry Henry vs Lee Nguyen – Which playmaker will make the difference on Sunday?

The MVP candidate has stayed sharp from his trip to the UK with the National team and will look to be the difference-maker once more.

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New York are the favorites here though, seeing as their home form has been superb. And they will want to lay down a marker for the second-leg while remaining tight at the back to try and ensure away goals don’t become a deciding factor.

Red Bull Arena is expected to be at full capacity as the club revealed they had sold out the stadium ahead of the first-leg this Sunday.

New England’s Away Form: Played 18 – Won 7 – Drawn 2 – Lost 9

The Revs have netted a staggering 11 goals in their last four away games and with Lee Nguyen in the form of his life, it would take a brave man to back against them getting at least one in New York.

This should be a cracker!

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – ‘MVLee’ scored 18 goals in the regular season and is integral to any MLS Cup hopes the Revs have. Classy player, always expect the unexpected.

Key Stat: New York have not lost to New England in 11 home games. The Revolution’s last win against the Red Bulls in MLS was in July 2012.

Prediction: New York Red Bulls 2 – 1 New England Revolution

Playoff Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake

LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake meet again in the reverse leg of their Western Conference playoff semi-final at the StubHub Center on Sunday.

This second leg is so delicately poised after a hard-fought goalless draw in the blustery wind at the Rio Tinto Stadium last weekend, much to the credit of the Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo who kept them in it.

The onus will very much be on LA Galaxy to produce after they’ve now gone four games without a win if you include the three games at the end of the regular season and have hit a stale run of form at the worst possible time.

The Galaxy have drawn two and lost two of the last four and it equals their worst run of form since the turn of April in to May when they went on a four game winless streak, also recording two draws and two defeats.

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[Jaime Penedo kept his side in it last time out]

LA will be looking to their strong home form and desperately hoping that it’s going to come up trumps for them once again.

With just one home defeat in the entire regular season, they will take some confidence from that, but they need to win this game or they risk being eliminated on away goals.

LA Galaxy’s home form: Played 17 – Won 12 – Drawn 4 – Lost 1

Real Salt Lake will come away from the first-leg with mixed emotions after they spurned the opportunity to take a lead with them to LA.

They dominated the majority of their home game but couldn’t capitalise on it and it may come back to haunt them.

However, a 0-0 draw at home is never a bad result in the first-leg as they know that a score draw sees them through on the away goal rule.

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[Main man: Joao Plata has had a great season for RSL]

They haven’t won on the road for six games since a 1-0 win in Colorado at the beginning of August, so they’ll be thankful that a draw could be enough to see them home.

Real Salt Lake’s away form: Played 17 – Won 4 – Drawn 6 – Lost 7

With the game on such a knife edge, it promises excitement and drama, especially as the newly introduced away goals rule may well play a crucial role in the final outcome.

Many will be expecting another tightly contested game and it could take a moment of magic or a moment of madness from someone to turn the tide in favour of either side.

Extra-time and penalties are looming if we see a repeat result of last weekend’s game, so can either side take the initiative?

Key Player: Landon Donovan – he will be desperate to ensure that this isn’t his last ever game for LA Galaxy and there isn’t a better moment for him to shine.

Key Stat: These two sides have only produced four goals in their last four meetings so we expect another cagey affair.

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/L/D/L/D

Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/W/D/W/D

Prediction: LA Galaxy 1 – 1 Real Salt Lake – The Galaxy to suffer the pain of an away goals defeat for the first time in Major League Soccer.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: D.C United vs New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls take a 2-0 lead to RFK Memorial Stadium on Saturday night in the second-leg of their Eastern Conference semi-final, and D.C United has it all to do to overturn the deficit.

Firstly, the home side have to make more scoring chances, as they looked like a defensive team in a training session during the second-half of the first-leg last week.

And more importantly they have to tighten up defensively. For both goals on Sunday night they were opened up by the formidable Red Bulls attack, as Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips were given too much time and space on many occasions.

Having enjoyed 53% of the possession, we were hoping there would be more life in United; with Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson nullified by the Red Bulls defense.

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D.C being at home in this game may sway the momentum and we may get a classic. However, it’s hard to see D.C shutting out the Red Bulls, and if that’s the case they will need at least four goals to progress. Though with a keeper of Bill Hamid’s quality, D.C always has a chance of keeping a clean sheet, and they did in this fixture twice in the regular season.

D.C’s home record: Played 17 – Won 11 – Drawn 4 – Lost 2

This one could go down to the wire, as both sides have been sublime as of late. But one of them has to exit the competition.

Their long-time rivalry means it could be an aggressive match and that will suit New York more than the hosts, as the Red Bulls know that they need to just remain tight and organised to keep the clock ticking.

New York’s away record: Played 17 – Won 3 – Drawn 7 – Lost 7

The Red Bulls are taking an impressive 1,000 fans to D.C for the away-leg and that support will be key, as we should see a fantastic atmosphere for the game.

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New York lost 1-0 and then 2-0 at D.C earlier in the regular season and the same result as the latter here would force the game to extra-time and potentially penalties, in what should be a drama-filled night regardless.

Key Stat: The first-leg saw D.C fail to score for the first time in an MLS Playoffs match since 2007.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – The Red Bulls look favorites, but if D.C are going to progress, expect the former-Red Bull to be key.

D.C’s last five: D/W/W/D/L

New York’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

Prediction: D.C United 2 – 1 New York Red Bulls. Should be a tight contest, but New York to seal their place in the Eastern Conference final come the end of the game.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs DC United

DC United will start their playoff campaign on Sunday night when they travel to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls in the first-leg of their Eastern Conference semi-final.

The Red Bulls came through a tough game on Thursday as they came from behind late on to knockout reigning champions Sporting Kansas City 2-1.

DC come into the game fresh, so should have a fitness advantage over the Red Bulls. However, New York has sparked up a run of form, and looks tough to beat, whoever they face.

Eastern Conference top seed DC will have to keep the deadly Bradley Wright-Phillips quiet if they are to succeed and even if he isn’t productive, Thierry Henry knows how to find the net too.

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Wright-Phillips has hit his best at the perfect time of the season for New York, netting four times in his last two outings. While Henry has proved that he can still perform to his best at 37 years of age.

Home advantage will play a huge factor in the results of the playoff ties and we see no difference here, and the Red Bulls will want to build on their first ever home win in the playoffs with a second game in three days.

New York Red Bulls’ home form: Played 18 – Won 11 – Drawn 4 – Lost 3

The sides are meeting in the playoffs for the fifth time, and DC have come out on top in all four previous meetings, most recently at this stage in 2012.

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New York did beat the Washington-based club at home in the regular season, but lost twice on the road this year and this looks a tough one to call.

DC United’s away form: Played 17 – Won 6 – Drawn 4 – Lost 7

This should be a tight contest, and if DC can walk out of New York with a win, they will have one foot in the Eastern Conference Championship game. The Red Bulls cannot afford to lose this one.

Key Player: Bill Hamid – odd choice we know, but if D.C want to stay in this tie come the final whistle, Hamid is crucial in stopping this Red Bulls attack.

Key Stat: New York has scored at least one in their last seventeen games at home this season.

New York’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

DC’s last five: W/D/W/W/D

Prediction: New York Red Bulls 1 – 1 DC United

Playoff Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy

Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy will meet in a Western Conference heavyweight clash at the Rio Tinto Stadium in their playoff semi-final first leg on Saturday night.

Both sides share a vast experience of competing in the MLS Cup, so they’re certainly no strangers to the responsibility and pressure that comes with playoff matches.

Real Salt Lake were runners-up in the final last year following a penalty shootout defeat to Sporting Kansas City after they had tied the game 1-1 and have qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs every season since 2008.

They won the competition in 2009 when they beat LA Galaxy on penalties – their only MLS Cup title to date.

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Real Salt Lake will look to their home advantage to try and get themselves ahead in this tie as their form at the Rio Tinto Stadium has been excellent this year, with 11 wins and just the one defeat.

Real Salt Lake’s home form: Played 17 – Won 11 – Drawn 5 – Lost 1

LA Galaxy are the joint most successful team in the history of the MLS Cup alongside DC United with both sides having won four titles.

However, the Galaxy were dumped out of the competition at this stage last year by the same opponents, losing 2-1 on aggregate, so they will be looking to avoid a repeat performance.

They will also have to recover from their Supporters’ Shield disappointment after their 2-0 defeat against Seattle Sounders in the last game of the season saw them finish in second place, while the Sounders lifted the title.

They’ve struggled for consistency away from home and their last win on the road was a 3-0 win at Chivas USA on September 1, so the key will be to keep it tight on Saturday night.

LA Galaxy’s away form: Played 17 – Won 5 – Drawn 6 – Lost 6

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It’s crucial to still be alive in the tie when the second leg comes around, so neither side will want to hand the initiative to the opposition, so this should make for a tense but entertaining affair.

Key Player: Alvaro Saborio – Real Salt Lake’s Costa-Rican forward has been in fine form this season, having scored 8 goals from just 13 starts. He boasts the best goals-per-game ratio for the home side and if he plays a part, he could make the difference.

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have faced Real Salt Lake twice before in the MLS Cup and have been on the losing end both times:

  • 2013 – Western Conference semi-final – Real Salt Lake 2-1 LA Galaxy (aggregate score)
  • 2009 – MLS Cup Final – Real Salt Lake 1-1 LA Galaxy (Real Salt Lake won 5-4 on penalties)

Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/L/W/D/W

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/W/L/D/L

Prediction: Real Salt Lake 1 – 1 LA Galaxy

Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Sporting Kansas City

Thursday night will be the last game of the season for one of these MLS heavyweights. Either New York Red Bulls or Sporting Kansas City will be eliminated from the playoffs as they go head-to-head at Red Bull Arena in the Eastern Conference knockout round.

This is one that shouldn’t be missed and it could well turn out to be the tale of two strikers; Bradley Wright-Phillips and Dom Dwyer. Two English strikers who are extremely clinical, and are the top two goalscorers in the league.

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New York Red Bulls home form: Played 17 – Won 10 – Drawn 4 – Lost 3

Whoever outscores the other will likely win the game for their team; as Wright-Phillips did on Sunday night in the final regular season game at Sporting Park.

Sporting Kansas City will be looking for their first win against the Red Bulls in MLS since April 2013. They looked poor defensively in the 2-0 defeat to New York on Sunday, and the fifth-seeded team has it all to do.

Sporting Kansas City away form: Played 17 – Won 6 – Drawn 6 – Lost 5

However, with World Cup stars such as Graham Zusi and Matt Besler in your team you are always in with a shout. Without mentioning they are last year’s MLS Cup winners, so they know how to progress in the playoffs.

Both teams have players that boast strong reputations, but only one side can advance and this is set up to thrill. Enjoy!

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Key Player: Thierry Henry – Potentially his last game of professional football. He has always loved the big occasions and is a legend of the game and a huge asset to this Red Bulls team.

Key Stat: Kansas City has only won two of their last ten in MLS. Not great form to bring into the playoffs.

New York’s last five: L/W/W/L/W

Kansas City’s last five: L/D/W/L/L

Prediction: New York Red Bulls 2 – 1 Sporting Kansas City

Playoff Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Vancouver Whitecaps

FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps have both earned their spot in the playoff positions after successful regular seasons in the Western Conference but the dress rehearsals are over and now it’s time for the real thing as they clash in the knockout round at the Toyota Stadium on Wednesday.

Dallas are appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 when they fell at this stage, losing 2-0 to New York Red Bulls – they were MLS Cup runners-up in 2010 which is the furthest they’ve ever been.

They’ve finished the regular season with slight inconsistency with four wins and five defeats from their last nine games.

Dallas met with Vancouver twice in the closing stages of the season, winning 2-1 at home in September and losing 2-0 away in October, so this is a game that couldn’t be harder to predict and should make for a fascinating tie.

FC Dallas home form: Played 17 – Won 12 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

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Vancouver’s only appearance in the playoffs came in the 2012 season when they were beaten 2-1 in the knockout round by LA Galaxy so they will be hoping to make it through to the semi-finals this time around.

As the regular season was nearing its conclusion, Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey stressed the importance of going into the playoffs in a good run of form and they’ve certainly done that, winning four and drawing one of their last five games.

Picking up victories on the road has proven to be a slight issue for the Canadian outfit, but they don’t lose too many games either, so if they don’t win this in 90 minutes, they may be able to force extra-time and penalties.

Vancouver Whitecaps away form: Played 17 – Won 3 – Drawn 9 – Lost 5

This game marks the beginning of the MLS Cup 2014, so let’s hope these two sides can set the tone with an entertaining spectacle.

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Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Whitecaps playmaker has been crucial to their success this season (10 goals, 12 assists) and a lot of responsibility will fall on his shoulders again.

Key Stat: Vancouver Whitecaps have never beaten FC Dallas at the Toyota Stadium – is there a first time for everything?

FC Dallas last five: W/L/W/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps last five: W/W/W/D/W

Prediction: FC Dallas 0 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps