Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted has discovered he's not a big fan of high-scoring soccer games — especially when his team is on the losing end.
Heading into Saturday's game against FC Dallas at B.C. Place Stadium, he and the Whitecaps are looking to get back to their usual tight defensive ways after twice squandering a two-goal lead in a loss at Sporting Kansas City last weekend.
"It was one of the most horrible feelings I think I've ever felt," said Ousted about the setback. "But looking back on it now, we need just to figure out how to use it positively. I thought we did that Tuesday (in a team meeting) and I (think) we're going to do that going forward."
The Whitecaps (13-9-3) face Western Conference rival Dallas (11-7-5) for the first time since the Texas club ousted them from last year's playoffs. Saturday's game is the first of three important meetings between the clubs during the stretch drive of the regular season. The Whitecaps sit second in the conference, while fifth-place Dallas, on a two-game losing skid, only trails them by four points.
"They've got quality up front and both teams like to go and (counter-attack) and get in on the transition," said Ousted. "So it's going to be an exciting game on Saturday — and, hopefully, not too exciting."
In other words, Ousted, who ranks among MLS shutout leaders with nine, does not want to see another opposition goal spree. After watching Sporting Kansas City erase 2-0 and 3-1 deficits en route to a 4-3 win, Ousted wants the Whitecaps to put the setback behind him — just like he has done with their 2-1 playoff loss at Dallas last October.
"It was definitely a tough loss, but they're coming into our place now and we're in a good position," said Ousted. "We need to get at it now from the word go and try to get this win. We have (Dallas) three times now before the season's over, and we want to get as many points as possible."
To do that, the Whitecaps will have to staunch their sudden defensive bleeding. The Caps let Sporting Kansas City become only the second team in MLS history to overcome a two-goal deficit after the 80th minute. The comeback resulted after the Whitecaps squandered a 2-0 lead in their previous game, a 2-2 Canadian Championship series draw at Montreal.
"Suddenly, we're allowing goals for fun," said Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson, whose club has allowed the second-fewest goals against (26) in MLS. "It's been a tough few days for us. We need to concentrate a little bit more."
Vancouver's defence will be bolstered by the return of central defender Kendall Waston, who missed the Kansas City game due to a suspension for yellow-card accumulation. Waston is dominant in the air and should help the Whitecaps do a better job of negating opposition scoring chances.
"I think you saw how much we missed him when we were getting bombarded in the box and we weren't able to clear crosses," said Robinson. "Kendall's probably the best in the league at doing that, so it's a delight to have him back."
Waston is delighted to return after experiencing some of the same emotions that Ousted did in Kansas City, albeit from the press box.
"I was crazy, because you want to help your teammates, to talk (to them), to train them, to push, to try to do anything possible to help them," said Waston. "But it's part of the learning. I learned a lot of things outside - but I prefer to play inside the pitch."
Notes — Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz is questionable due to a leg injury. … Vancouver central defender Pa-Modou Kah is expected to miss the game with a fractured cheekbone. Rookie Tim Parker appears likely to fill in for him.
Monte Stewart, The Canadian Press