Preview: Rapids, FCD look for win to spark final run

COLORADO RAPIDS vs FC DALLAS
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
October 1, 2011
9 p.m. ET (Altitude; FS-SW+; watch LIVE online)

MLS Cup Finalists last season, the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas meet as both teams look to jumpstart their advancement into the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Rapids are winless in five games after last week’s 1-1 draw with San Jose, now sitting three points ahead of the final wild card spot with three games to play. FC Dallas have dropped three league games in a row, last a 1-0 home defeat by Houston, sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference.

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REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Daniel Belleau; JAR (opposite): Joe Fletcher; 4th: Paul Ward. MLS Career: 35 games; FC/gm: 28.4; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 6; pens: 5

INJURY REPORT

  • COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: FW Conor Casey (L achilles tear); DF Anthony Wallace (R knee arthroscopic surgery); PROBABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R hamstring strain / R calf strain); GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain)
  • FC DALLAS – OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jeremy Hall (L ankle)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL:Conor Casey, Caleb Folan, Brian Mullan, Sanna Nyassi … DAL: Daniel Hernandez
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Ross LaBauex, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Wells Thompson, Anthony Wallace … DAL: Marvin Chavez, Jeremy Hall, Andrew Jacobson, George John, Zach Loyd

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (52 meetings): Rapids 17 wins (1 shootout), 63 goals … FC Dallas 25 wins (2 shootout), 87 goals … Ties 10
  • AT COLORADO (25 meetings): Rapids 12 wins (0 shootout), 37 goals … FC Dallas 7 wins (0 shootout), 35 goals …Ties 6
  • The teams met for the first time since last year’s MLS Cup Final on April 8 of this year. David Ferreira scored twice after Ugo Ihemelu put FCD into the lead in a 3-0 Dallas win at Pizza Hut Park.
  • The game is a rematch of MLS Cup 2010, won 2-1 by the Rapids in extra time at Toronto’s BMO Field. The teams played to draws in both league meetings last season.
  • FC Dallas last won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2007; the Rapids last came away with a victory from Pizza Hut Park in 2008.
  • Coaches' records: Gary Smith vs. DAL: P7 W2 L2 D3 … Schellas Hyndman v COL: P8 W2 L2 D4

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 4/8: DAL 3, COL 0 (Ihemelu 26; Ferreira 40, 46)
  • FC Dallas took a deserved lead 26 minutes into the match. Marvin Chavez hooked a partially cleared corner back into the goalmouth, and it fell for defender Ugo Ihemelu to prod home from close range.
  • The home side doubled the lead in the 40th minute. Fabian Castillo threaded a pass through the Rapids backline and into the path of a streaking David Ferreira, who then finished with a cheeky chip to the right of goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
  • Just 25 seconds into the second half, FCD captain Daniel Hernandez one-timed a pass through the Rapids defense to Eric Avila, who then launched a rolling cross across the six-yard box toward a wide-open Ferreira.
  • The Colombian finished it off with a sliding tap-in for his second goal of the match.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Brek Shea - Daniel Hernandez - Marvin Chavez (Eric Avila 30), David Ferreira, Andrew Jacobson (Eric Alexander 70), Fabian Castillo – Milton Rodriguez (Ruben Luna 66)
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace (Tyrone Marshall 63) - Sanna Nyassi (Brian Mullan 46), Joseph Nane, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith – Omar Cummings, Caleb Folan (Quincy Amarikwa 61)

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids ended their losing skid at three games, but still saw their winless run stretched to five games, playing to a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have 42 points from 31 games, sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Earthquakes opened the lead in the 18th minute. Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens failed to hold a long distance shot from Khari Stephenson and Chris Wondolowski pounced to sweep the rebound home.
  • But the Rapids hit for the leveler in the 71st minute. A corner kick wasn't cleared and Jeff Larentowicz's shot stopped on the line, but Drew Moor was there to sweep it into the back of the net.
  • Rapids head coach Gary Smith made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. Jamie Smith and Caleb Folan came into the side in place of Brian Mullan and Wells Thompson.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Miguel Comminges (Wells Thompson 90) - Sanna Nyassi, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith (Brian Mullan 58) - Omar Cummings (Macoumba Kandji 65), Caleb Folan.

TEAM NEWS

  • The five-game winless streak in league play is one short of the season-long – when Colorado drew six games in a row from May 7-June 4.
  • “The message was, at this stage of the season, where of course we would have been banking on three points and would like to have added three points, the message was you just added a very valuable point,” said Rapids head coach Gary Smith. “And we won’t know how valuable it was until the end of the season, but it stops the rot."
  • The game against San Jose kicked off three consecutive games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for Colorado – but they are now winless in their last three home games. The Rapids have just five wins in 15 home games this season.
  • "We haven’t been able to find a way to score first, most importantly, and we haven’t found our way in too many games. … When you have the ball it makes running that much easier and defending that much easier and it makes the game that much easier,” midfielder Pablo Mastroeni said. “So it’s something to build on for the next couple of games here at home."
  • The Rapids have fallen conceded the opening goal in four consecutive games
  • “Too many people are doubting themselves and how they fit into the team and what they need to do for the team,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. “I think that last year we were hardworking role players. This year, we try and do too much, and we over extend ourselves. Then, you can get down on yourselves. A lot of the guys have lost confidence as opposed to being part of the team structure and relying on each other the way we always have.”
  • On Wednesday, the Rapids recorded an impressive victory, defeating El Salvador’s AD Isidro Metapan 3-1 in the CONCACAF Champions League. Eddie Ababio gave the Rapids a first-half lead, then goals from Quincy Amarikwa and Omar Cummings after the break put the game away.
  • Here’s the Rapids team: Steward Ceus, Mike Holody, Scott Palguta, Tyrone Marshall, Danny Earls, Eddie Ababio (Davy Armstrong 62), Joseph Nane, Ross LaBauex, Wells Thompson, Andre Akpan (Omar Cummings 72), Quincy Amarikwa (Mac Kandji 90)
  • Heading into the trip to El Salvador, Smith split the squad into two. He remained behind in Colorado, while assistant Steve Guppy took charge of the team against Metapan.
  • “The group that will travel will focus firmly on the game on Wednesday and will have little inclusion other than substitutes on Saturday. The group that stays here will focus firmly on Saturday’s game against a Dallas team that we’ve always had a real battle against,” Smith said.
  • The Rapids moved into second place in Group B with one game to play, but face a massive trip to Mexico to face group leaders Santos Laguna on Oct. 19. With a victory or a draw, Colorado can advance to the CCL quarterfinals.
  • “I have to appreciate that through our successes last year, there are two competitions that we’re in, and making sure that we’re competitive on both fronts and dealing with both competitions, has proved to be very difficult. Of course, our domestic form really comes into that, and that’s where we find ourselves,” Smith said.

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas saw their losing streak hit three games, falling to another 1-0 defeat, this time to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon at Pizza Hut Park. FCD has 46 points from 30 games on the season, now in fourth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The only goal of the game came three minutes from full time. Brad Davis flighted in a corner kick from the left and Geoff Cameron steamed in to power home a header and give the Dynamo the full points.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made one change to the team that, lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls at Pizza Hut Park. Brek Shea came back from suspension in place of Daniel Cruz.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd (Jack Stewart 71), George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez - Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson - Jackson, Ricardo Villar (Daniel Cruz 53), Brek Shea - Maicon Santos (Marvin Chavez 46).

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas have lost three games in a row – all by shutout – after their 1-0 home loss to Houston last weekend. FC Dallas haven’t been shut out in three consecutive games since Sept. 12-27, 2006.
  • “It cannot be that we have that many chances and none of them go our way,” said Ricardo Villar. “We've got to start getting goals, it’s on us. It’s on the forwards; it’s on the midfielders. After today it seems that the ball – there is a shield in the other goal.”
  • At halftime, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman moved Jackson from his wide midfield role to the lone attacker, with Maicon Santos sacrificed. Marvin Chavez came in on the right side of midfield.
  • “It seems that we need a little more in that position,” said Hyndman. “He was working hard. He had a couple good opportunities, but then he took a knock to that ankle and it seemed like a good opportunity for us to make a change.”
  • Like Maicon before him and also defender George John, Jackson saw an effort come off the woodwork.
  • “If he was a clinical finisher he’d probably be playing in Europe somewhere,” said Hyndman. “I remember one of the later opportunities when he ran through four defenders and everybody was trying to catch up to them … and just not getting the ball to bounce right for him.”
  • Of FCD’s 10 losses in league play on the season, seven have come when the club has been shut out in attack.
  • “We have a good core of guys who have enough experience – the confidence is going to be there,” said midfielder Andrew Jacobson. “It’s not like people are playing poorly. It’s just the act of putting it in the back of the net. That’s the hardest thing to do.”
  • On Wednesday, FC Dallas suffered a shock 5-3 defeat to Tauro FC in Panama. After Jair Benitez recorded a penalty kick to level the score at 1-1 in the 23rd minute, Tauro scored three consecutive goals. Ruben Luna scored in the 85th minute, but Tauro answered right back; Luna converted a penalty in stoppage time for the final scoreline. FCD also saw Benitez and Fabian Castillo sent off.
  • Here’s the FCD team: Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez, George John, Jack Stewart, Zach Loyd, Fabian Castillo, Daniel Cruz (Andrew Jacobson 67), Bobby Warshaw (Ugo Ihemelu 70), Marvin Chavez, Ruben Luna, Maykel Galindo (Bruno Guarda 46).
  • The defeat leaves FC Dallas facing a winner-take-all match for qualification against fellow MLS side Toronto FC at Pizza Hut Park on Oct. 18.
  • “Our mentality was to do well tonight and not have to fight in the last and final game,” Hyndman said. “As it turns out, I think everybody is going to be fighting for the last game.”