FRISCO, Texas — Led by a David Ferreira brace, 2010 MLS Cup runners-up FC Dallas had no trouble toppling defending champions Colorado Rapids 3-0 at Pizza Hut Park on Friday night.
Dallas center back Ugo Ihemelu scored the third.
The much-anticipated rematch between the Western Conference rivals was physical from the first whistle, but as the first half wore on, FCD began to possess the ball and attack with through flanks, a style resembling their successful form of last season.
Colorado entered the match having scored eight goals and conceded two in their first three games, but the opening stanza saw that trend changed.
Reigning MLS MVP Ferreira, targeted by opposing teams and limited in his creativity through Dallas’ first three games of the season, finally managed to find space to receive the ball and thrust forward, resulting in utter success for the home side.
Dallas began taking aim on the Rapids net midway through the first 45, when Ferreira and his Colombian compatriot Fabian Castillo each fired shots on goal in the 22nd and 23rd minutes, respectively. However, it was Ihemelu who, in the 26th minute, found back of the net.
After winger Marvin Chavez centered a cleared Ferreira corner kick, the ball landed in front of an unmarked Ihemelu inside the six-yard box. The former Rapid then proceeded to tap it in to give FCD the lead.
Unfortunately for Chavez, Eric Avila would have to replace him minutes after assisting on the goal after receiving a cut above his left eye on the play.
The Rapids, who had been dominant in their first games of 2011, were backed up in their own third by a dominant Dallas and struggled to gain any possession.
Dallas would add to Colorado’s woes in the 40th minute. Still in full attack mode, Castillo, in only his second MLS career start, threaded a pass through the Rapids backline and onto the path of a streaking Ferreira, who then finished with a cheeky chip to the right of goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
The Colombian international celebrated his goal by taking a baby pacifier out of his shorts and placing it in his mouth in honor of his wife’s pregnancy.
As the second half began, the FCD offense picked up right where it left off.
Just 25 seconds into the second 45, FCD captain Daniel Hernandez one-timed a pass through the Rapids defense to a running Avila, who then launched a cross across the six-yard box and to a wide-open Ferreira. The Colombian finished it off with a diving tap-in for his second of the match.
The Rapids didn’t threaten much, but their best chances came in the second half. In the 54th minute, Caleb Folan tried to get his side on the board with a blistering shot from long range that skidded wide of Kevin Hartman’s goal.
Then, with 17 minutes to go, second half sub Quincy Amarikwa got on the end of a Brian Mullan cross from the right flank, but his header also went wide.
FC Dallas now begins a two-game swing in the Pacific Northwest, stopping in Portland on April 17, followed by a showdown against Vancouver six days later.
Colorado, meanwhile, face a quick turnaround. They will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake on April 13 in the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
DAL -- Ugo Ihemelu 1 (Marvin Chavez 1) 26
DAL -- David Ferreira 1 (Fabian Castillo 1) 40
DAL -- David Ferreira 2 (Eric Avila 1, Daniel Hernandez 1) 46
DAL -- Andrew Jacobson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 13
COL -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Persistent Infringement) 19
COL -- Caleb Folan (caution; Reckless Foul) 33
COL -- Anthony Wallace (caution; Reckless Tackle) 52
COL -- Omar Cummings (caution; Reckless Foul) 81
COL -- Drew Moor (caution; Reckless Tackle) 84
DAL -- Daniel Hernandez (caution; Dissent) 90
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace (Tyrone Marshall 63), Joseph Nane, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith, Sanna Nyassi (Brian Mullan 46), Omar Cummings, Caleb Folan (Quincy Amarikwa 61).
Substitutes Not Used: Andre Akpan, Scott Palguta, Wells Thompson, Steward Ceus.
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Brek Shea, Marvin Chavez (Eric Avila 30), David Ferreira, Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson (Eric Alexander 70), Fabian Castillo, Milton Rodriguez (Ruben Luna 66).
Substitutes Not Used: Ricardo Villar, Bobby Warshaw, Chris Seitz, Maykel Galindo.
Referee: Paul Ward
Referee's Assistants: Joe Fletcher; Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Weather: Clear and 86 degrees