Vancouver Whitecaps at FC Dallas
The MLS playoffs kick off tomorrow night with a showdown between Vancouver and Dallas. The Whitecaps haven't allowed a goal in the month of October including a 2-0 win over Dallas in Vancouver on October 4th. Dallas meanwhile has split its last six with 3 wins and 3 losses. Dallas has the more potent offense led by Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo, but Vancouver's defense anchored by Costa Rica's Kendall Waston and David Ousted, the league leader in shutouts, has been one of the league's best.
Players to Watch:
For Dallas: Blas Perez. The Panamanian striker led Dallas with 11 goals this season including both goals in Dallas's 2-1 win over Vancouver on September 13th and a third goal against Vancouver in a 2-2 draw in July. He also led the club with 6 assists.
For Vancouver: Mauro Rosales. Acquired in a midseason trade from Chivas USA, Rosales, has hit double digit assists in three of his four MLS seasons. Rosales assisted on both of Vancouver's goals in their win over Dallas on October 4th.
Vancouver 1 Dallas 0 - Vancouver has the momentum while Dallas has been inconsistent. Ousted makes it 5 shutouts in a row while the offense does just enough.
Sporting Kansas City at New York Red Bulls
The Defending Champs are on the ropes. Banged up and burned out, Sporting has won just three times in their last thirteen matches. They also got themselves knocked out of the Champions League last week, and they haven't beaten New York this year, most recently falling 2-0 on Sunday night. They have the star power and the experience, but New York has Bradley Wright-Phillips and a rested Thierry Henry.
Players to Watch:
For New York: Bradley Wright-Phillips scored 27 goals this season and scored at least one in all three matches against Sporting this year. With a banged up back line, stopping BWP doesn't sound promising.
For Sporting: Dom Dwyer came out of nowhere to finish second in MLS with 22 goals this year, but only one of those came against the Red Bulls. Dwyer is one of the few healthy bodies for Sporting right now, but he'll need help if his struggling club is going to defend their title
New York 3 Sporting KC 1 - All things being equal I think Sporting is the better team, but they've undergone a brutal stretch of games and I don't know that they're healthy enough to contend with BWP and Henry right now.