FC Dallas aims to continue fast start vs. Vancouver

For the first time in two months, FC Dallas will have to make a change to its back line when it squares off against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday at Toyota Stadium.

Because of yellow-card accumulation, FC Dallas center back Reto Ziegler will serve a one-game suspension this weekend. Veteran defender Maynor Figueroa took Ziegler’s place at the end of Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy and likely will get his first start of the year in the middle against the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas received two goals from Roland Lemah and a club-record tying three assists from Mauro Diaz in the victory.

FC Dallas (4-1-4, 16 points in nine matches) has had one of the strongest backlines in the league. It has allowed a league-low nine goals on the year and expects to remain solid with Figueroa in the lineup.

“It helps to have that guy with a lot of experience, coming into the lineup and just knowing what’s going on,” FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges said of the Figueroa. “He’s played with us a lot, a lot of us have experience with him so it should be a smooth transition for us.”

Figueroa returned to the lineup just two weeks ago after missing almost a month of training with a knee sprain. Those 17 minutes the FC Dallas defense got late against the Galaxy, as well as the practice time it has forged this week, will be key as it vies for a second straight win this weekend.

“The fact that we have great teammates helps,” Figueroa told MLS.com. “I had an injury that took me out of the field for a month, but the experience could help a lot. Concentration will be very important for everyone. Being very attentive and trying to do what we did last match and being assertive in plays.”

The Whitecaps head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on the heels of a 2-2 draw at home on Wednesday versus San Jose. Vancouver netted the match’s first and last goals as Yordy Reyna sent a nice through-ball to Cristian Techera in the 19th minute and on a Reyna header that caromed off as San Jose defender in the 64th.

Vancouver outshot and created more chances than the Earthquakes Wednesday, continuing a run of form that’s seen it fail to make the most of generally good play.

The Whitecaps have only picked up only five points in their past seven matches and will be playing their third game in an eight-day stretch. Vancouver has been shut out three times in its last six matches.

“Deja vu, I think, wasn’t it?” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said after the draw on Wednesday. “We had too many individual errors that led to goals when we were in control of the game. When you do that and you get punished, it stings. We created chances, we just didn’t take them. I sound like a broken record. Does it concern me? Yes. Am I worried? No.”

Vancouver (4-5-3, 11 points) is ranked 21st in the league in goals per game, but forward Kei Kamara is back in the lineup, returning from a groin injury. Defensively, Vancouver has been solid outside of two slip-ups against Sporting KC and Atlanta.

“(Resiliency) is a good trait to have; character in your team. And we certainly have that, Robinson added. “What we need to try and instill in the team is a little bit of quality.”