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FC Dallas-Chivas USA Preview

By MATT BECKER

STATS Senior Writer

(AP) -- FC Dallas wasted a golden opportunity to get a victory last weekend, but all hope is not lost in its quest for a playoff berth. Not when two of its final three matches are against a hapless Chivas USA club that hasn't scored in a month.

FC Dallas tries to boost its fading postseason hopes Sunday night in Southern California and extend Chivas USA's franchise-record losing streak to eight matches.

Dallas (9-12-10) is five points back of Vancouver for the Western Conference's final playoff spot but has a game in hand. It was on the verge of beating first-place San Jose last Saturday when Matt Hedges broke a 2-all tie in the 88th minute on a goal off a rebound from Blas Perez's shot. Dallas was unable to protect the lead, though, as the Earthquakes tied game in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

"It's unfortunate that we drew the way we did, but a point still keeps us in the playoff hunt," defender Zach Loyd told the club's official website. "So we can't dwell on it, we just have to get ready for Chivas."

Had Dallas been able to hang on for the win, it would have pulled into a tie with the Whitecaps for fifth place. The team dropped another three points back after Vancouver beat Chivas USA 4-0 on Wednesday.

Dallas now hopes to be the one to take advantage of a match with the West's worst club, with another scheduled for its finale Oct. 28.

Chivas (7-17-7) has surrendered four goals in two straight matches and hasn't scored in 532 minutes, the longest drought in MLS this season. Its last goal came against Seattle on Sept. 8 - loss No. 2 on its seven-game skid. Its last win came over Portland on July 28, having since gone 0-9-2.

"We've still got to keep fighting and fighting and don't give up even though we are out of the playoffs," midfielder Shalrie Joseph said. "There's a lot on the line still, there's guys' jobs and pride on the line so we've got to be ready to play for each other, play for the group, play for the team and play for the colors."

Chivas hasn't appeared ready for its last two matches, yielding a goal in the first 11 minutes in each. Playing from behind early isn't ideal for Chivas, which has scored a league-worst 21 goals - 11 fewer than the next-closest club.

While little has gone right for Chivas, Dallas is hoping Perez can build on an encouraging performance.

Perez scored in the 37th and 72nd minutes last Saturday, his first goals in four MLS games since returning from a right foot injury that sidelined him for three months. Despite missing 12 league matches, he still leads the team with seven goals.

"Now that he's back and the team is on all cylinders moving forward, he's starting to show his true value to this team," coach Schellas Hyndman said.

Perez was injured for the only meeting between these clubs this year, a scoreless draw June 23. Dallas had won the previous four matchups.

Updated October 6, 2012

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