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07.08.2019 11:03
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After an emotionally charged night at BC Place on Saturday when Vancouver Whitecaps beat Colorado Rapids to secure a place in the MLS Playoffs, Carl Robinsons men now face another must-win encounter as they open the postseason in Dallas on Wednesday night in the Knockout Round. Jahlil Okafor Pelicans Jersey . It is the Whitecaps second appearance in the playoffs since joining Major League Soccer in 2011. Their last trip to the postseason lasted just 90 minutes when they were beaten by an LA Galaxy side that went on to win the MLS Cup. This time around, the Whitecaps are in much better shape heading into the playoffs after finishing the season well. The Form: The Whitecaps ended the season as one of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer, unbeaten in five games with four wins and a tie. During that time, they have beaten three teams above them in the Western Conference and have been very good defensively. In fact, the Whitecaps enter the playoffs having had four clean sheets in a row. It is 393 minutes since the Caps last conceded a goal but Kendall Waston and company will be faced with a very difficult challenge against a potent Dallas attack. Carl Robinsons squad has a fantastic team spirit and they will go into the match in a confident mood, having shown they have the ability to get big results away from home when they beat Seattle 1-0 three weeks ago. They finished the season with what Robinson described as five Cup finals so have now become used to dealing with the pressure of having no margin for error. Dallas fell to a surprise 2-0 defeat to Portland on the final day of the regular season. Had they won that game, Oscar Parejas men would have avoided having to play in the Knockout Round. Before that loss, they set a new club record of eight home wins in a row. They won 12 of their 17 home matches during the regular season. The Texas club had some good and bad spells during the year - they were winless in eight matches in late April and throughout May, but also had a 10-match unbeaten run in late spring and early summer during which time they won six of seven matches. The Big Question: Can the Whitecaps win the midfield battle? When the Whitecaps won in Seattle, Matias Laba and Russell Teibert were magnificent in midfield. They helped ensure there was no space for Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins to take advantage of. They were first to every ball, breaking up play and frustrating the Sounders. If Robinson sticks with the 4-2-3-1 formation he has utilized the last few weeks, Laba and Teiberts roles will be key to Vancouvers chances. Kendall Waston and Andy OBrien have struck up an excellent partnership in central defence, but having Laba and Teibert in front of them certainly helps. Further forward, Pedro Morales will need to be influential if the Caps are to dominate the midfield. On Saturday, he was excellent against Colorado, dropping deep to get involved, and getting the Caps going forward with his excellent range of passing. There have been times away from home this season when Morales has struggled. On Wednesday in Dallas, he needs to be at his best. The Opposition: FC Dallas finished fourth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of the Whitecaps to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2011. Their haul of 54 points set a new club record for points in a season. Panama international Blas Perez led the way with 11 goals during the regular season and has been a constant threat to the Whitecaps in previous matches over the last couple of years. He always seems to find a way to grab a goal and has three against Vancouver this season, including two in the win against the Caps in Frisco in September. Dallas have a very good home record and much of that comes down to the attacking pieces they have within their squad. Along with Perez, they also get attacking production from the likes of Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, Andres Escobar and David Texeira. When they are on form, they are very difficult to stop. Dallas finished the season with 55 goals to tie the club record for most goals scored in a season. The Lineup: The Whitecaps will have to make at least one change with right back Steven Beitashour ruled out with a hamstring injury that forced him to leave the win over Colorado during the first half. There are two options for Robinson. He could do what he did on Saturday and bring in teenager Sam Adekugbe at left back, but that also means switching Jordan Harvey across to the right back position. Robinson describes Adekugbe as something special, and theres no doubt he has all the tools needed to become a top class fullback. He showed that in the game on Saturday, having come on in a high pressure situation. He also gives the Caps an added dimension going forward. The other option is to bring in Ethen Sampson who played in Dallas last month, Sampson hasnt seen many minutes this season, but on the two occasions he started for the Caps, he certainly didnt let himself down. He is also the kind of player who will relish the expected physical nature of the game ahead. Losing Beitashour is a blow for Vancouver as he has been extremely reliable all season long, but Robinson has two solid replacements available. The Odds: The three matches between the teams this season have been split. The Whitecaps beat Dallas 2-0 at BC Place earlier this month, and were by far the better side in July despite only tying the game 2-2. Dallas won 2-1 last month in the only previous meeting in Texas this season. Dallas will go into the match as favourites due to their excellent home record and Vancouvers five straight losses in their previous visits to Frisco, but when the Whitecaps were in Dallas last month, they played well and were unfortunate to lose. It could be a long night. Im expecting a hard-fought, close encounter that has the potential to go all the way to extra time and penalties. These two teams dont like each other, so there is a chance of fireworks. Seattle awaits the winner in a two-leg conference semifinal. Where to Watch: The match will be broadcast live on TSN1. Join me with Jason deVos, Kristian Jack and Perry Solkowski for the pre-match show which gets underway from Toyota Stadium at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt. ETwaun Moore Pelicans Jersey .com) - The Los Angeles Kings peppered Ryan Miller with shot after shot. Custom New Orleans Pelicans Jerseys . The Force had two men, including former Wallabies No. 8 Ben McCalman, in the sin-bin in the dying minutes of the match, but were able to resist a late Highlanders surge to post a four-try, bonus point win. . On July 27 cyclings best-known race will host "La Course by Le Tour de France" -- a one-day womens competition staged hours before Tour riders race on the same circuit to finish the three-week event on Paris Champs-Elysees.ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With the Anaheim Ducks bearing down on him all night, Jaroslav Halak couldnt relax for even a moment in front of the Washington Capitals net until the horn sounded on another victory. None of the Caps can afford to take many more breathers if they hope to make it back to the post-season. Alex Ovechkin scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and the Capitals kept up their playoff push with a 3-2 victory Tuesday night. Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Capitals, who have won three straight to pull into an eighth-place tie with Columbus for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They barely held off the Ducks, who threw 45 shots at Halak and pressed right up to the final seconds. "We cant worry about anything else thats going to happen except for our games," said Halak, who made 43 saves in his sixth consecutive start. "Right now, two points are all huge, any way we can get them." The Caps havent trailed during their winning streak. But even after Ovechkin scored his 46th goal early in a power play, they were in a nail-biter against Anaheim. "That was a huge game," Ovechkin said. "We prepared for it, and we were ready for it. We played one of the best teams in the league." Ovechkins goal was just the second in seven games for last seasons NHL MVP, but the Capitals need every goal and victory possible on their three-game California road trip. The Blue Jackets and Detroit, one point back in ninth place, both have two games in hand on Washington. Ben Lovejoy and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Ducks, who have lost four straight home games while falling out of first place in the overall NHL standings. Anaheim is still near the top of the Western Conference playoff race, but San Jose has caught the Ducks atop the Pacific Division standings. The teams meet Thursday at the Shark Tank. Jonas Hiller stopped 27 shots, but the Ducks have lost to the Capitals in each of their last four visits to Honda Center. "I think we had a lot of looks and were shooting the puck, but we werent getting to any loose pucks," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You can make a million and one excuses, but were just not getting the job done." Washington hadnt visited Honda Center since Feb. 16, 2011, nine months before the Cappitals fired Boudreau, who was hired by Anaheim two days later. New Orleans Pelicans Jerseys. "This was a big one for Bruce, and we all knew it," Lovejoy said. "I think we came out with a lot of passion. When were skating and playing tough hockey, we get our forecheck going, and we had that going tonight. We just werent able to put more than two in the net." Ward got his 21st goal on a fat rebound just 2:11 in, scoring in his third consecutive game. Lovejoy tied it 59 seconds later on an unobstructed slap shot set up by a terrible Washington line change. Brouwer scored on a power play in the final seconds of the first period for the Caps, getting his third goal in two games off another rebound. Anaheim generated nothing from a two-man advantage for 1:51 early in the second period, adding to the power-play woes of an otherwise powerful offensive club. The Ducks entered the game in a 2-for-42 slump in their previous 13 games, and they went scoreless in their first four chances against Washington. "At the end, it came down to the fact that our special teams werent special," Lovejoy said. Perreault, the former Capitals centre, put a wrist shot past Halak, who was thoroughly screened by Patrick Maroon, to tie it right after a power play expired early in the third period. But just 1:12 later, Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff and John Carlson got the puck to Ovechkin, who put a typically vicious one-timer past Hiller. Stephane Robidas played more than 13 minutes in his debut for the Ducks, who acquired the veteran defenceman from Dallas two weeks ago for the playoff push. Robidas filled in for Cam Fowler, who missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. "It wasnt my best, but the first one is out of the way now," Robidas said. NOTES: Dustin Penner returned to Honda Center for the first time since Anaheim traded him to Washington on March 4. Penner had 13 goals and 19 assists in 49 games this season in his second stint with the Ducks, but was a frequent healthy scratch. ... Halak was in Anaheim with the Blues on Feb. 28 when he was traded to Buffalo, forcing him to leave Honda Center early while St. Louis faced the Ducks with a locker room attendant as their backup goalie. ... Boudreau won his first game against his former team when the Ducks beat the Capitals 3-2 on Dec. 23. ' ' '

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