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FC Dallas-Whitecaps FC Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- Late scoring and solid defense have helped FC Dallas rebound from a slow start.
Some suddenly poor defense has slowed the Vancouver Whitecaps' early season momentum.
Dallas looks to extend its winning streak to three Saturday night when it visits the Whitecaps, who will try to avoid a third consecutive defeat.
Since losing road games to Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United, Dallas (3-2-1) has won its last two - both at home - by scoring the go-ahead goal in the final minutes. After captain Ugo Ihemelu helped the club end a three-game winless streak with a stoppage-time goal in a 1-0 victory over New England on April 5, Brek Shea scored his first of the season in the 88th minute of last Saturday's 2-1 win over Montreal.
"It shows what kind of character we have, and we have a strong one," midfielder Bruno Guarda told the league's official website. "We'll take no losses or ties at home, so we'll fight all the way until the whistle is blown. We are going to work hard every minute to take those three points at home."
Dallas, though, has been outscored 6-2 while losing both of its matches away from home. The last time the club dropped its first three road games was in 2000 when the team, then known as the Burn, lost its first six.
While Dallas' Kevin Hartman has stopped nine of 10 shots in the last two games after allowing six goals in his previous two, Vancouver's Joe Cannon has not fared as well lately.
Cannon has allowed six goals in the last two matches after helping the Whitecaps set a league record by not giving up one in the opening 427 minutes of the season.
"Sometimes little mistakes get you punished - and in the last two games it seems like every little mistake we've made has been punished," coach Martin Rennie told the club's official website.
Vancouver is coming off a second straight 3-1 defeat, at home to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
The Whitecaps (2-2-2), though, have been getting a good scoring punch from newcomer Sebastien Le Toux, who netted his team-high third goal Wednesday in the 80th minute.
Despite the quick turnaround, Rennie will likely keep Le Toux in the lineup Saturday. However, it's possible Brazilian striker Camilo, the team leader with 12 goals last season, could start after being a second-half substitute the last two games due to a quadriceps strain. If that's the case, French striker Eric Hassli, scoreless in his last 15 games, or former Dallas midfielder Atiba Harris, could start Saturday on the Whitecaps' bench.
With David Ferreira and Ricardo Villar still out with foot injuries, Dallas will look for continued production from Blas Perez, who has team highs with three goals and three assists.
FC Dallas won both matches between these clubs during the Whitecaps' inaugural MLS season in 2011. Dallas scored twice in the second half and overcame the loss of Ferreira, who suffered a season-ending right ankle fracture, to win 2-1 at Vancouver on April 23.
It was the first home loss for the Whitecaps after opening 1-0-3.
Updated April 20, 2012