FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Blas Perez scored in the second half, Raul Fernandez made three saves for his fourth shutout of the season and FC Dallas beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 Saturday night.
Perez now has three goals in five games for league-leading Dallas (6-1-1), which also benefited from an own goal by Vancouver's Brad Rusin to improve to 5-0-1 in its last six matches.
"It's great to get off to such a hot start," Dallas defender George John said. "The more points you get early in the season, the better. Obviously, it's still very early, but we're putting ourselves in a good position to do well."
FC Dallas remained perfect at home, winning all five contests by a combined 9-2 margin — including three straight shutouts.
"We keep being strong at home and that's exactly what we've been wanting," Fernandez said through an interpreter. "It's a great group and over the weeks, we've been working really hard to accomplish what we're doing right now."
The Whitecaps (2-2-3) dropped to 0-3-1 on the road this season and 0-3-2 in their last five matches overall.
"I think we were poor tonight, I think this is one of the first games this season I can say that," Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. "We'd been performing well, but tonight wasn't a good night for us. On top of that, I thought FC Dallas played very well tonight, and they took advantage of our poor play."
FC Dallas, which has scored the opening goal in every game this season, went ahead 1-0 in the 29th minute on Rusin's own goal, then went up by two on Perez's goal in the 50th.
"Blas is in great form," Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. "He's not only playing well for us, he's playing well for Panama, who's trying to qualify for an historic first World Cup, so he's very focused, very motivated. He trains extremely hard, he's very competitive and I thought tonight, he held the ball up really well."
The Whitecaps began to apply more pressure after that, but Fernandez would not let anything past him. He preserved the shutout in the 88th minute when Tommy Heinemann raced in alone, but could only manage an off-speed chip shot that Fernandez calmly knocked aside.
Dallas controlled the action for most of the first 27 minutes, building a 6-1 edge in shot attempts, but Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon made several outstanding saves to keep the game scoreless, starting with a diving to deny Perez's 25-yard blast just 50 seconds into the contest.
He then managed to get a hand on Kenny Cooper's shot to deflect it just over the crossbar in the 11th minute and made a strong hand save on Perez's header in the 16h minute.
Dallas finally broke through when Rusin blocked David Ferreira's corner kick in the middle, but the ball bounced off him and landed just over the goal line before Cannon could clear it out.
"I thought at that point, we had weathered a storm," said Cannon, who ended the contest with five saves. "They had come at us, and I felt bad for our guys because they fought hard and to have an unlucky bounce like that was kind of demoralizing."
The Whitecaps nearly tied it in the 41st minute when Fernandez couldn't hang on to Nigel Reo-Coker's 25-yard shot, leaving a loose rebound for Matt Watson that appeared headed in before defender George John made a sliding clear off the line.
"I think Raul might have mishandled it a little bit and I knew Heinemann was on my back and was going for the goal, but Zach (Loyd) and I were there to clear it off the line," John said. "We were scrambling and luckily, I was able to get there, get my foot on it and clear it out."
Dallas players wore black armbands with the words "Peace" and "West" printed on them, honoring the casualties from this week's Boston Marathon bombings and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.