FC Dallas hosts Vancouver, looks to improve playoff position

October, 14, 2011
10/14/11
10:46
PM CT
Fresh legs have been a concern for FC Dallas over the last month, and that could be an issue again as it prepares for its second game in four days.

Trying to get back on track before the playoffs, Dallas hosts the last-place Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.

Dallas (14-11-7) has already clinched a playoff spot and will likely enter the postseason with the top wild-card seed, though it could still catch Real Salt Lake for third place in the Western Conference.

The club is lamenting some missed opportunities after getting shut out in four consecutive league losses Sept. 10-Oct. 1, but it snapped that skid Wednesday at Chicago. Jackson and Daniel Cruz scored in the first half and Dallas held on for a 2-1 win.

The team blamed a tough schedule in September, during which it played seven games -- including three CONCACAF Champions League contests -- for its struggles.

"September was a rough month for us," defender Zach Loyd said. "I think fatigue caught up with us last month. But with international break, I think a lot of guys got their legs back, got some time off and mentally got their heads right. [Wednesday] we came in here with the energy we were bringing in a couple months ago and I think it showed in the result."

Brek Shea, the team's leading scorer with nine goals, should be rested after being held out of the starting lineup Wednesday. He played 45 minutes for the U.S. national team in a friendly Tuesday and didn't get into Wednesday's game until the 62nd minute.

Dallas has the chance to build some momentum before the playoffs against two of the worst teams in the MLS. It wraps up the regular season next Saturday at San Jose, the only team above Vancouver in the West.

Vancouver (6-16-10) has been outscored 29-11 while going 0-5-11 on the road, but it has won its past two contests at BC Place. The Whitecaps defeated D.C. United 2-1 on Wednesday after beating Real Salt Lake 3-0 in their previous game.

Camilo and Long Tan scored against United, with Tan -- the only Chinese-born player in the league -- recording his first MLS goal. Camilo's was his team-leading 12th and fourth in as many games.

The win also allowed Vancouver to move a point ahead of league-worst New England.

"Mentally, for the club, for everyone, it's something you don't really talk about, but it's great that we're (off the bottom of the table)," goalkeeper Joe Cannon told the Whitecaps' official website.

"Obviously, we have two more games and anything can happen, so let's try to keep moving up and start something special for next year for this club."

Dallas defeated Vancouver 2-1 on April 23, getting goals from George John and Eric Avila.

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