Frisco, TX – Vancouver Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas square off in a crucial Western Conference matchup at FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday that could prove vital in the playoff race.
The Whitecaps enter the game in the fifth and final playoff spot in the West, four points clear of Dallas with a game in hand.
A win for the Canadian side would not only snap a four-game losing skid, which matches the club's longest losing streak in its two MLS seasons, but would also put some distance between the 'Caps and the chasing pack.
Vancouver's 2-0 defeat against the Los Angeles Galaxy last time out continued the club's slide. And with the season approaching its final stretch, Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie knows his team must turn things around quickly.
"All we have to do is really evaluate exactly how we want to go for the remainder of the season," said Rennie. "Because we've been playing reasonably well for the last six, seven months, we're still in a position where we can accomplish the goals that we've set out to. But what we have to do is improve our performances as a team, and maybe even look at a couple of things about the way we play."
"We're losing games, we're not scoring goals, we're not really looking threatening enough, so we have to figure out a couple of things and improve it dramatically, very quickly."
Dallas knows a thing or two about urgency, and it would not be a stretch to consider Saturday's contest a must-win game for Schellas Hyndman's team.
The Hoops have only five games remaining to make up ground, and they didn't really help themselves with a frustrating 1-1 draw against Seattle in their last match.
Dallas more than doubled the shot total for Seattle, but despite controlling the match, was only able to come away with a point.
"Any time you get 24 attempts [on goal] you hope to get more than one goal," Hyndman said after the game. "At the same time, we're in desperate mode trying to get three points, and tonight, I said to the players, 'It can be a cruel game sometimes.'"
After collecting three straight wins in the middle of August, Dallas has taken just one point from its last two games, which isn't good enough for a team trying to make up ground.
A failure to take three points from Saturday's match will leave Dallas in a precarious position, and will offer up another example of how cruel the game can be.