FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids Preview by Chris Brown
Colorado Rapids travel to the Lone Star state to take on FC Dallas in the second match against Dallas, in Frisco, this season.
Dallas dominated the first matchup between the two Western Conference sides winning the U.S. Open Cup matchup 3-1 behind goals from Mauro Diaz, Ryan Hollingshead and Javier Morales. Michael Azira scored Colorado’s only goal.
On Thursday Colorado traded midfielder Dillon Powers to Orlando City FC in exchange for midfielder Luis Gil and some Targeted Allocation Money. Gil won’t feature in the match against Dallas but Rapids fans may get their first look at the Rapids other recent signing as Stefan Aigner should make at least a substitute appearance.
FC Dallas also made a new acquisition before the transfer deadline passed by signing Venezuelan midfielder Luis Gonzales to add depth to the Dallas attack. Gonzales was signed on August 9th so it’s unlikely he’ll see any action against the Rapids this time around.
FC Dallas has slipped in the Western Conference standings in past weeks as Oscar Pareja’s team has lost three of their last four matches, falling to Sporting KC, Vancouver Whitecaps and Philadelphia Union. Most troubling for Dallas is the manner in which they lost those matches, giving up ten goals while only scoring one. The 4-0 loss to Vancouver was the worst display in that span.
Dallas currently sit on 34 points, the same total as the 2nd, 4th and 5th place teams in the Western Conference and only occupy third place on goal differential. Sitting just behind those five teams with 34 points, in the last playoff spot, is San Jose Earthquakes on 32 points. Dallas cannot afford to continue to slide.
Playing the Colorado Rapids may be the tonic Dallas needs to get back on track. Colorado’s goals scored sits at 22 on the season, the second worst record in MLS while the Rapids defense, which was so stellar in 2016, has given up 31 goal in 2017. Colorado currently sit dead last in Western Conference on 21 points from 21 games, a full 11 points outside the playoffs.
As if that wasn’t enough to have Toros fans salivating Colorado’s away form this season has been abominable. Through nine road games this season, a possible 27 points, Colorado has only claimed one point, a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC on July 22nd. Colorado hasn’t recorded a road win since October 8th of 2016. Given Colorado’s road form and their general offensive struggles this should be the match that gets Dallas back on track as the MLS regular season enters the homestretch.
Colorado’s defense will have its hands full against some of the best and most creative attacking talent in MLS. Dallas forward Maximiliano Urruti has scored 11 goals this season while winger Michael Barrios has ten assists. Mauro Diaz has only notched 4 assists this campaign but is always a threat and Kellyn Acosta rounds out one of the most impressive midfield units in the league. Carlos Gruezo is suspended for the match after making contact to the head of Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Yordy Reyna.
For Colorado fans, the hope of coming away from Dallas with a win may be too glass-half-full optimistic, but there have been signs of life from the Rapid offense lately and the addition of Stefan Aigner and the return to fitness of Shkelzen Gashi will buoy expectations, even if only slightly.
Pablo Mastroeni finally seems to have a fit team with key new additions around the pitch. Mohammed Saeid, Stefan Aigner, Nana Boateng, Alan Gordon and now Luis Gil have all been brought in this season as Colorado has sought to transform their style of play into a more attacking style. With all those pieces finally in place with the exception of new boy Luis Gil, Mastroeni can finally start shaping this team for who they will be in 2018, as the 2017 playoffs seem too far out of reach at this point in the season.
These two sides will face off two more times in 2017 with Colorado traveling to Toyota Stadium for a third time on September 27th before Dallas visits the Mile-High City for an October 7th match up.