Dallas back home to battle Rapids

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COTTON BOWL

DALLAS, Texas

7:30 pm CT (no TV)

A banged-up FC Dallas return home for a brief visit before embarking on another lengthy road stint, looking to reclaim the lead in the Western Conference while putting some breathing room between them and the bottom half of the division - and also ending a three-game winless streak. The Colorado Rapids hit the road for the first of a pair of games having yet to take a point on their travels this season, but coming off a heartening late victory against Chivas USA last weekend.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Chris Strickland; JAR (opposite): David Bragg; 4th: Kevin Terry

MLS Career: 5 games; FC/gm: 33.0; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 0; pens: 6

Games involving FC Dallas: first game

Games involving Rapids: first game
INJURY REPORT: FC DALLAS - OUT: MF Richard Mulrooney (R knee ACL tear); DF David Wagenfuhr (R knee bruise) ... COLORADO RAPIDS - PROBABLE: MF Terry Cooke (R knee strain); FW Jeff Cunningham (L knee injury); MF Matt Crawford (R quadriceps strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: COL: Hunter Freeman (through May 18)
YELLOW PERIL: DAL: Ronnie O'Brien (8 CP in 2 gms)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (33 meetings): FC Dallas 15 wins (2 shootout), 56 goals ... Rapids 14 wins (1 shootout), 46 goals ... 4 draws
IN DALLAS (16 meetings): FC Dallas 11 wins (2 shootout), 32 goals ...Rapids 4 wins (1 shootout), 17 goals ... 1 draw

• The Western Conference rivals face off for the second of four meetings between the clubs this season. They'll meet in their second match in Denver on June 25, with their final meeting scheduled for Frisco on Oct. 8.

• The teams split the season series a year ago. They played to 1-1 draws at each ground in the first two meetings, before each team won at home.

• The clubs played to a draw in the season opener for both teams on April 3 at the Cotton Bowl (Rhine 75 pen - Spencer 36), then it was another draw at Invesco Field on June 19 (Henderson 51 - Kreis 49).

• A late penalty gave the then-Burn a dramatic 1-0 victory in Dallas on Aug. 7 (Johnson 90 pen), but the Rapids rebounded to claim a 2-1 victory in the Mile High City on Sept. 4 (Spencer 52, Borchers 85 - Behncke 43)

• It was the second consecutive season and third in the last four where the teams had split honors in the season series. The Burn won the 2002 series with two victories to Colorado's one (and one draw).

• Coaches record: Colin Clarke vs. COL: P6 W2 L1 D3 ... Fernando Clavijo v DAL: P6 W2 L2 T2
LAST MEETING

• FC Dallas remained undefeated on the season while the Rapids claimed their first point on the season when they played to a scoreless draw April 9 in Denver.

• While FC Dallas remained unbeaten, the Rapids continued their good form at home. But the game almost took an abrupt change in the first minute when Carlos Ruiz's corner found Eddie Johnson, but his header was denied by the crossbar.

• Here's Fernando Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman, Nat Borchers, Guy Melamed, Ritchie Kotschau -Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman (Leo Cullen 55), Alain Nkong (Eric Denton 46), Mark Chung - Luchi Gonzalez, Wolde Harris

• Here's Colin Clarke's team (4-3-3): Scott Garlick - Philip Salyer, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr - Richard Mulrooney, Oscar Pareja (Ramon Nunez 69), Carey Talley - Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz, Ronnie O'Brien

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas drew for the second match in a row, playing to an injury-hit scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at Spartan Stadium. But FCD pulled back into a tie for first place in the Western Conference with the result, with 12 points from seven matches, level with the Los Angeles Galaxy (who have a game in hand).

• The Earthquakes and FC Dallas battled to a scoreless draw in a match that was filled with injury substitutions. The home side saw center back Troy Dayak, forward Brian Ching and midfielder Brian Mullan all forced to leave through injury, while FC Dallas had influential midfielder Richard Mulrooney and left back David Wagenfuhr also injured over the course of the match.

• Quality chances were few and far between, but FC Dallas goalkeeper Scott Garlick saw more of the two 'keepers, called upon to make a couple of fine saves in short order midway through the second half.

• "I've never seen anything like it," said Quakes 'keeper Pat Onstad. "When Troy [Dayak] and Richard Mulrooney go down, I guess that was just a sign of things to come. Then we lose two more guys; it seemed like there was always someone down on the field. It is unfortunate."

• For his starting lineup, FC Dallas coach Colin Clarke kept his team the same for the fourth consecutive week. Here's Clarke's team (4-1-3-2): Scott Garlick - Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr (Drew Moor 76) - Simo Valakari - Ronnie O'Brien Richard Mulrooney (Oscar Pareja 34) (Arturo Alvarez 90), Carey Talley - Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz

• "I thought we had a good bit of the play, we got in some great positions in the second half, and our final ball let us down. Our service into the box wasn't good. We had them pushed back a few times and we were running down the right or left, and our final ball was poor," Clarke said. "Both 'keepers probably had a lot of stuff flashing around in front of them. Scott [Garlick] made a great save on the header, and Pat [Onstad] had one. I don't know how Ronnie's [O'Brien] volley early on didn't go in. Other than that, we had good opportunities that we didn't make the most of."
TEAM NEWS

• FC Dallas suffered a devastating blow when they discovered Mulrooney suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, which will end his season. Mulrooney underwent an MRI examination and will undergo surgery in the next two weeks. After suffering the injury midway through the first half last Saturday, he tried gamely to continue before going down again about five minutes later. "Something wasn't right when I landed,'' said Mulrooney. "It's something I had never felt before.''

• There was better news on the injury front after the team's return, when David Wagenfuhr was diagnosed only with a bruised kneecap. After he was injured late in the match in San Jose, he was rushed to the hospital with what was feared to be a fracture in the patella.

• But Clarke will still be certain of having to make a lineup change on Wednesday. He had kept the same starting XI together since the April 23 match v Real Salt Lake.

• The Rapids match could be another key one for FC Dallas, their last match at the Cotton Bowl for exactly one month, before returning for a June 18 rematch with Los Angeles Galaxy.

• "We've played seven games, five on the road and two at home and we are sitting tied for the top in our conference, so I'm delighted," Clarke said. "We go home on Wednesday and hopefully get a chance to get three points and then go on the road for another four, and we will evaluate how we are then."

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids won for the second time on the season, scoring the winning goal after being put a man down in a 2-1 victory at home against Chivas USA on Saturday night. The Rapids are still in fifth place in the Western Conference, now with seven points from seven matches, five behind joint first-place FC Dallas and Los Angeles Galaxy and three ahead of Chivas USA.

• Super-sub Jeff Cunningham again came to the rescue of the Rapids after the home side was reduced to 10 men. Chris Henderson gave the Rapids the lead in the 31st minute when he converted from the penalty spot after defender Alfonso Loera was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.

• But another Chivas center back, Ryan Suarez, pulled the expansion level with a truly stunning strike, stepping forward to collect a square pass before hitting a swerving shot from all of 25 yards that sailed past Joe Cannon into the upper left-hand corner (66).

• Rapids right back Hunter Freeman was sent off in the 73rd minute for a harsh tackle on Francisco Mendoza, but just five minutes later Cunningham hit for his fourth goal of the campaign - all after coming on as a sub - when he neatly finished off a Jean-Philippe Peguero that left him alone in the area.

• Chivas then apparently equalized in the dying moments in a bizarre sequence. The Rapids had kicked the ball out to allow a Chivas injury to be attended to, and then after Chivas threw the ball back to Cannon, Chivas forward Isaac Romo slipped in to intercept and fired the ball into the empty net. But referee Ricardo Valenzuela disallowed the goal for ungentlemanly conduct.

• Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo made two changes to the team that lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Galaxy the previous Sunday. Ricky Lewis made his first senior team appearance of the year, coming at left back as Eric Denton moved forward in place of Mark Chung. Guy Melamed completely the conservative look of the Colorado side when he came into the center of midfield for Leo Cullen, after figuring as a center back in his previous two starts.

• Here's Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman, Nat Borchers, Ritchie Kotschau, Ricky Lewis - Chris Henderson (Jeff Cunningham 61), Kyle Beckerman (Alain Nkong 71), Guy Melamed, Eric Denton - Luchi Gonzalez, Jean Philippe Peguero (Leo Cullen 83).

• "Not only did we win and set aside three points, but the attitude was tremendous. The attitude was great. We play all the way together. And the team played well and managed to play with that adversity at the end. We played well and I can't complain at all about the effort of the players," Clavijo said.
TEAM NEWS

• Ricky Lewis was the latest addition to a back four that has been mixed and matched throughout the season by Clavijo - and will have to be again on Wednesday with right back Hunter Freeman out through suspension.

• "Ricky Lewis came out through all kinds of problems and performed extremely well. There was a bit of lack of communication in the back but it is expected when you make so many changes. Overall, I'm satisfied. We wanted to play to win the game and we were finally able to do that," Clavijo said.

• Another change was the move of Melamed to a holding midfielder role. He had started the first two matches in central defense alongside Nat Borchers. "I felt comfortable, all of the teammates helped me, and I played it before so it's not like it's the first time I've ever played it. I played it last year so I am pretty comfortable," he said.


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