Whiter­caps ready for tough game against Dal­las

Penticton Herald - - SPORTS - By JOSHUA CLIP­PER­TON

Fredy Mon­tero smiled and let out an ex­ag­ger­ated sigh.

What will it take, he was asked, for the Van­cou­ver White­caps to fi­nally end their road mis­ery against FC Dal­las?

“Oh, God,” the star striker re­sponded. “It’s go­ing to be a tough game. I guar­an­tee you it’s not go­ing to be pretty.

“We’re look­ing to play as hard as the game is ask­ing for and get some points.”

For that to hap­pen Satur­day night in swel­ter­ing Frisco, Tex., where the game-time tem­per­a­ture is ex­pected to be 39 C with the hu­mid­ity, Mon­tero and the White­caps will have to buck a trend stretch­ing back to the fran­chise’s in­au­gu­ral Ma­jor League Soc­cer cam­paign.

Van­cou­ver is an anaemic 0-8-0 at Toy­ota Sta­dium in com­bined reg­u­lar-sea­son and play­off ac­tion since 2011, while get­ting outscored 16-3.

The White­caps are also 0-4-1 at Hous­ton — the only point came in a score­less draw last sea­son — for an 0-12-1 all-time mark in the Lone Star State.

“De­fen­sively, it’s go­ing to take a 90-minute per­for­mance,” said goal­keeper David Ousted. “(With the heat), it’s go­ing to take some game man­age­ment of know­ing when to go at them, when to take our op­por­tu­ni­ties to of­fen­sively be a threat and when to sit in.”

Dal­las (9-3-7) en­ters the week­end first in the Western Con­fer­ence, seven points up on sixth-place Van­cou­ver (8-8-3). Both clubs have at least two games in hand on the other four teams above the post-sea­son cut­off.

De­spite the White­caps’ dis­mal his­tory in Frisco, the clubs are 2-2-2 over­all in head-to­head matchups since the start of 2015.

That in­cludes last month’s 1-1 draw at B.C. Place Sta­dium.

Dal­las striker Max­i­m­il­iano Ur­ruti leads his team with 11 goals, while mid­fielder Roland Lamah has eight.

“We know they’ve been ruth­less when we’ve played them be­fore,” said Van­cou­ver head coach Carl Robin­son. “We’ll need a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing to go and get a re­sult, but I firmly be­lieve we can.”

The White­caps will be look­ing to re­bound from Sun­day’s dis­ap­point­ing 2-1 home loss to the se­verely un­der­manned Port­land Tim­bers after pick­ing up en­cour­ag­ing vic­to­ries against New York City FC and the Los An­ge­les Galaxy.

Robin­son dis­agreed with the as­ser­tion his team some­times plays up or down to the level of its op­po­nent. But the Port­land re­sult and a 1-0 home de­feat to last-place D.C. United give weight to the ar­gu­ment.

“We need to be bet­ter in cer­tain ar­eas,” he said. “Ir­rel­e­vant of who we’re play­ing, I try to keep a fo­cus on us.

“We’ve beat L.A. away, we’ve beat New York City FC at home, which is great, and then we lose to Port­land at home. It hap­pens.”

Pe­ru­vian at­tack­ing mid­fielder Yordy Reyna has made four straight ap­pear­ances as a sub­sti­tute after break­ing his foot in train­ing camp. He looks primed to make his first start since sign­ing with Van­cou­ver in January.

“We’ve had to be pa­tient with Yordy,” said Robin­son, whose team plays its next three on the road. “An­other key ad­di­tion for us to bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to break down a de­fence.”

The hope is Reyna will find chem­istry with Mon­tero, a des­ig­nated player on loan from his Chi­nese club. The Colom­bian, who turned 30 on Wed­nes­day, has six goals for Van­cou­ver but has looked lost at times as a lone striker.

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