Marco Ferruzzi has acknowledged the magnitude of his first match in interim charge of Vancouver Whitecaps as they prepare to host FC Dallas at BC Place.
The former director of soccer operations has been tasked with overseeing Dallas’ slim MLS Cup Playoffs charge following the sacking of Luchi Gonzalez earlier this week.
The Toros are winless in four, most recently going down 3-2 to Houston Dynamo, and are now seven points adrift of the playoff spots.
However, Ferruzzi believes a positive result at home to a Vancouver side just three points better off in the Western Conference could change the dynamic completely.
“Just by the numbers, three points for us takes away three points from a conference rival,” he said. “That’s the math.
“But really for us to get into flow and the idea of what all these games mean, it’s not so much that it’s Vancouver, they just happen to be the ones we’re playing next.”
The Whitecaps have taken only one point from their last two matches, with Lucas Cavallini used as a substitute in both games as he works his way back to full fitness.
Cavallini has been paired alongside fellow striker Brian White and that is a partnership Vanni Sartini – also in interim charge – may stick with this weekend.
“I saw very good paired movement,” Sartini said. “When I put Lucas on, it was to play with two 10s and one No. 9, to have a little more pressure and presence up front.
“I think they linked up very well. Lucas had two big chances and he did a very good job also firing in a lot of balls. I really like what I saw from the two of them.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Lucas Cavallini
Despite only playing 30 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Colorado Rapids, Cavallini led the way for shots (three) and shots on target (two). The Canada international also went close to scoring a couple of times and looks as though he is ready for only a second start at club level since early July.
FC Dallas – Jader Obrian
Colombian attacker Obrian has scored four goals in his last two matches to make it eight goals in his maiden MLS campaign, the second-most of any Dallas player. Obrian’s form will be a big relief for Ferruzzi as it lifts the goalscoring burden off Ricardo Pepi, who has gone back-to-back games without finding the net.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Whitecaps have lost only one of their last seven meetings with FC Dallas (W2 D4), with the last two meetings ending in 2-2 draws in Dallas. Vancouver have lost only one of their nine home meetings with Dallas since the start of the 2013 season (W4 D4), a 2-1 defeat in September 2018.
– Vancouver have lost only two of their last 15 MLS matches (W5 D8) dating back to late June. It is only the second time in team history that the Whitecaps have suffered two defeats in a 15-match span within a single season, also doing so in the 2014 season.
– FC Dallas have just one win in their last eight matches (D3 L4), including going winless in four straight (D2 L2). Dallas have allowed three goals in four of their last five matches and have now allowed at least three goals in seven games this season, only FC Cincinnati (eight) has done so more often.
– All 30 of Vancouver’s goals this season have been scored inside the box as they are the only team in MLS without a goal from outside the area this season. In fact, the Whitecaps’ last 34 goals (including own goals) have all been scored in the box dating back to an Ali Adnan direct free-kick goal on October 24, 2020.
– Obrian has scored braces in two straight matches, finding the net twice against New York City and Houston. Obrian is the first Dallas player to score multiple goals in consecutive matches since Roland Lamah did so in July 2017.