Whitecaps considers establishing a new partnership early on when FC Dallas calls

The Bulls just fired their head coach. The Whitecaps still operate under interim head coach Vanni Sartini. But both sides know the importance of Saturday’s game in their playoff hopes.

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All the BC Lions needed was more cowbell. The Vancouver Whitecaps could get by with a little more cava.


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Last week against Colorado, Lucas Cavallini saw his second appearance off the bench as he works to get back in top shape since returning from international duty and rehabbing his injured left knee. In 30 minutes of action, he had team-highs in shots (3) and shots on goal (2), and he looked much more aggressive than he had been earlier this season.

His seven pressures, extrapolated to 90 minutes, would have been his second most of the year. Cavallini also came close to scoring twice, and he had a pass on the post to Brian White that was out of reach of his fellow forward.

That they were on the field at the same time was a new wrinkle for the Whitecaps.

They both have similar profiles and styles and are usually played interchangeably rather than paired. The Caps continued to play that double-striker lineup in practice this week, maybe ‘El Tanque y El Tractor?’ Somebody? Bueller? – but head coach Vanni Sartini has been cautious in not pressuring his designated player to return to his starting role too quickly.


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“I saw very good movement in pairs,” the interim head coach said of the 18-minute partnership between the two.

“When I put Lucas on, it was to play with … two 10s and a number 9, to have a little more pressure and presence up front.

“I think they connected very well. Lucas had two great opportunities and did a very good job also shooting a lot of balls. … Those 20, 25 minutes of the second half, we probably deserve to score the second goal. I really liked what I saw of the two of them. “

The Caps (7-8-9, 9th West) host FC Dallas Saturday night at BC Place Stadium as they continue their playoff run. With just 10 games remaining, Vancouver is tied on 30 points with San Jose, four behind seventh-place Minnesota and three behind No. 8 LAFC.


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The remaining Caps schedule is divided into five and five; five games at the Dome and five on the road.

Vancouver drew 1-1 with the Colorado Rapids on the road last week, and for Sartini the experience gave home the advantage that local teams have.



FC Dallas vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

7 p.m. Pacific Time, BC Place Stadium. TV: TSN, Radio: AM730

“I was physically destroyed in the morning,” he said, waking up in Denver on game day after his three-hour flight.

“I said, ‘If the players are destroyed like me, it will be a problem.’ We have a very good performance department that encouraged them and they lived up to it. But that is also the reason why Saturday is so important, because we cannot miss the opportunity to score points at home.


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“(These last games), they mean everything in the sense that we are pushing for the playoffs, especially the home games.”

The Bulls have just one win in their last eight games, and that was over last-place Austin FC. His only win since July before that? Also against El Tree.

A 3-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo, a game they were losing until Jáder Obrian scored a goal double in the 86th and 90th minutes, cost Dallas coach Luchi González the spot.

Soccer operations director Marco Ferruzzi has assumed the role of Dallas coach until a new head coach is found, but Sartini doesn’t think that will change the team’s personality too much.


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“They are a very technical team. They like to own, ”said Sartini, who will be in charge of his fifth game since stepping in to take the place of the fired Marc Dos Santos.

“They change coaches this week, but I think Dallas is one of the few clubs in MLS that has a clear philosophy as a club. I think they are going to have the same kind of focus. And you know, of course they have (Ricardo) Pepi at the top who is one of the best forwards in the league, so we have to be very careful ”.

While Cristian Gutiérrez and Erik Godoy remain out of the lineup, fullback Jake Nerwinski is available to play a full 90 minutes if asked. It may mean a continuation of the three-man defensive line that favors Sartini, with Nerwinski and Javain Brown at the side spots.


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“It actually helps a lot,” Sartini said of the return of Nerwinski and Cavallini.

“We cannot forget that it is not just Saturday, but that we are going to have three games in seven days. We will not need 11 players, it is likely that we will need many more. Having everyone back means that we can make decisions, you can have options even during the game, so I’m very happy about that. “

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