Vancouver Whitecaps boss Vanni Sartini hopes his side’s blistering start to their CONCACAF Champions League campaign can aid their confidence when they face FC Dallas in an MLS clash this weekend.
The Canadian outfit ran out 5-0 victors against Real Espana in their first game of the tournament, notching the biggest win of the Italian’s reign to date across all competitions.
After something of a mixed-to-positive start on the domestic front this term, there are hopes among the staff such a resounding result can be a catalyst for impressive performances going forward.
“It does a lot (for our confidence),” Sartini said. “Of course, we were coming from two performances where one was very good, one okay, but we didn’t harvest anything. So, it gives confidence again. It gives a little smile again to everyone.
“In the year-and-a-half tenure that I’ve had, we’ve never scored five goals. The fact that a lot of players who arrived [in the offseason] had chances, it means that we are there.
“So, that’s the kind of hopefully the idea – we arrived and created in that position because of the way of playing, it’s not about relying on one player to make the magic.”
Dallas boss Nico Estevez meanwhile knows his side face a tough challenge across the border, and says the Whitecaps are a team who can take results even when they are under the weather.
“The first thing we have to understand is that Vancouver is a difficult place to play, a weird place to play,” he added. “They don’t need to play well to win games there, they do not need to do great to get something out of the game. They have that aura there.
“We need to know that it is not only going to be about the performance. This is what we have learned from last year. This is an amazing challenge that we have in front of us. We can change the narrative that it was last year.”
The Whitecaps secured the double over Dallas last term, taking a 2-1 win on home turf before a 2-0 road victory in the return fixture.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon
The right-back was last year’s penalty hero in the Canadian Championship Final and he nabbed a rare goal in their 5-0 rout against Real Espana earlier this month too.
His defensive nous will likely be key to ensuring any lockout at the back that can keep the Texan visitors struggling for a result.
Dallas – Jesus Ferreira
The USMNT international scored twice in Dallas’ 3-1 win over LA Galaxy on Saturday, his seventh multi-goal game in MLS for the club, matching Jeff Cunningham for the second-most such games in club history.
Only Jason Kreis has scored multiple goals in more MLS matches for Dallas than Ferreira, having done so on 10 occasions.
MATCH PREDICTION – VANCOUVER WIN
The Whitecaps have won their last three meetings with Dallas, including both in 2022, after not previously winning consecutive times in the first 24 games between the sides. Vancouver were the only team to complete the regular season double over Dallas last season.
FC Dallas lost only six regular season road games last season (W4 D7), the fewest in a full season since suffering just three defeats away from home in 2010. They had lost at least 10 road games in each of their previous two full MLS seasons (10 in 2021, 11 in 2019).
The Whitecaps have lost their first two MLS matches this season despite leading both of them at half-time. This is the first time in club history that the Whitecaps have played consecutive matches in which they lost after leading at half-time, and they’re the first MLS team to do so since D.C. United in November 2020.
OPTA WIN PROBABILITY
Vancouver: 35.3 percent
Dallas: 35.2 percent
Draw: 29.5 percent