FC Dallas coach Nico Estevez believes the international break will have helped his side ahead of an MLS clash with Vancouver Whitecaps.
Dallas have enjoyed a remarkable campaign, sitting second in the Western Conference – four points behind leaders Los Angeles FC.
The Texan outfit were 3-1 winners at Orlando City last time out, but Estevez was grateful to have a break for his side to recharge their batteries.
“Honestly, I think it was a break the group needed,” he said. “We were working really hard since preseason with a strong demand and competing well.
“I think this mental rest is positive to recharge, to be more fresh, and also, we were able to work on certain areas to improve. The boys worked really well. It was a good dynamic.
“We’re going to see how we face the game against Vancouver, which won’t be at all easy, but I think the preparation is going well and we’re ready to compete.”
The Caps are just two points off the West playoff spots but boast the second-worst defensive record in the division.
Vancouver coach Vanni Sartini implored his side to respond after a 4-0 hammering by Seattle Sounders in their last game.
“We had a very honest conversation in the locker room and said that it’s unacceptable the way that we approached the game in Seattle,” he said.
Caps defender Jake Nerwinski added: “We know it’s gonna be tough.
“It’s gonna be hot, it’s against one of the best teams in the West, but we beat them before and we know how to beat them. So we’re going to have to go and do that there.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
FC Dallas – Jesus Ferreira
Jesus Ferreira has lighted up MLS with nine goals and four assists to earn him a place in the United States team.
Vancouver Whitecaps – Lucas Cavallini
Lucas Cavallini will be tasked with delivering against Dallas. He tops the Caps scoring charts in MLS this season with four goals.
KEY OPTA FACTS
·Vancouver hasn’t lost any of its last five matches against FC Dallas (W3 D2) and has lost just one of the last nine MLS meetings (W4 D4) dating back to 2017. The Whitecaps are unbeaten in four straight trips to Dallas (W1 D3) after losing each of their first eight league games in Dallas.
·FC Dallas saw its five-match home winning streak come to an end in its last match at Toyota Stadium, losing, 2-1, to Minnesota United on May 22. It was the first time this season that Dallas allowed multiple goals in a match at home, having previously let in just four goals in six home league games in 2022.
·Vancouver lost, 4-0, at Seattle on Tuesday night, the eighth loss in the Whitecaps last nine road MLS matches (W1, including playoffs). Vancouver has allowed at least three goals in five of those nine games.
·Paul Arriola has scored in five straight MLS matches, equaling the third-longest streak in FC Dallas history. Only Carlos Ruiz (7 straight in 2006) and Jeff Cunningham (6 straight in 2009) have had longer runs of MLS games with a goal for Dallas.
·The Whitecaps failed to register a shot on target in Tuesday’s loss in Seattle, the second time this season they’ve failed to do so (vs. Columbus in February). This is the fifth time since the start of the 2020 season that the Whitecaps have failed to record a shot on target in a match, most in MLS in that span.