COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – For Oscar Pareja and the Colorado Rapids, it’s been a summer of frustration.
With four losses in their past five games, all by just a single goal, the struggling Rapids now find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in.
But that can change this weekend as Pareja will have a golden chance to collect three desperately-needed points against the team where he made his MLS name as a player. Last place FC Dallas come to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Saturday night (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online) with just one road point all season, presenting a chance for the Rapids to leap back into the playoff picture.
“There isn’t time to think about those things,” Pareja told MLSsoccer.com Friday about playing for FCD from 1998 until 2005, then staying on as a coach until 2011. “I have the same urgency to win that you have every game.”
He’d like to see that urgency transferred to his defense. An open header off a corner kick for Alvaro Fernandez and a powerful Eddie Johnson header just a few minutes later led to both of Seattle’s goals in Colorado’s most recent game, a 2-1 loss. And they produced more frustration for the suddenly floundering Colorado back line.
“Against Seattle our goals were taken from set plays, which I guess is kind of hard to actually train and try to perfect that. Because in the end, it’s just a lack of concentration,” Rapids center back Marvell Wynne told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “Everyone knows how to mark a man, it’s just when you have a lapse and then they just score off of your mistake, how do you prevent something like that?”
Dallas have had similar problems, allowing the second-most goals (27) in the Western Conference. With Omar Cummings and Conor Casey both finally rounding into form for Colorado, hopes are high for the men in burgundy.
“Definitely as the games go on I feel better,” Cummings told MLSsoccer.com Wednesday. “[I’m] getting my fitness, getting back into regular practices. You know, not feeling like I shouldn’t be doing this or doing that. So it’s definitely getting better in that sense.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.