COLORADO RAPIDS vs FC DALLAS
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
Sept. 14, 2013 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #267)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; KTXA)
The Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas meet in a real six-pointer in the Western Conference when the clubs face off Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The teams are separated by just two points in the standings, with the Rapids tied for the final playoff position. Colorado has lost just once in its last 11 matches, returning home off a 1-0 win against the LA Galaxy. FC Dallas have reversed their long winless run, now undefeated in three games after a 3-1 home win against Vancouver last weekend.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): Adam Garner; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 176 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 51; pens: 61
DISABLED LIST: COL: Diego Calderón … DAL: Peter Luccin; Ugo Ihemelu (season-ending injury)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Powers, Nathan Sturgis … DAL: Blas Perez, Jackson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Hendry Thomas … DAL: George John, David Ferreira, Je-Vaughn Watson, Jair Benitez
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (58 meetings): Rapids 19 wins (1 shootout), 71 goals … FC Dallas 28 wins (2 shootout), 95 goals … Ties 11
AT COLORADO (28 meetings): Rapids 13 wins (0 shootout), 41 goals … FC Dallas 8 wins (0 shootout), 39 goals … Ties 7
3/2: DAL 1, COL 0 (Jackson 11)
6/1: COL 2, DAL 2 (Harris 56, 64 – Perez 61, 66)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. An 11th-minute goal from Jackson gave FC Dallas a 1-0 victory as the clubs met on the opening weekend of the season in Frisco. On June 1 in Commerce City, Colorado’s Atiba Harris and Blas Perez of FC Dallas each netted twice to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw.
- Each team won away from home in the series a year ago, among their three meetings. FC Dallas won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time since 2007, with their 2-1 win July 14. The Rapids won at FC Dallas Stadium for the first time since 2008 with their 2-0 triumph in the first encounter.
- The teams did of course meet in MLS Cup 2010 in Toronto, an own goal in extra time giving the Rapids a 2-1 victory and their first league title.
- Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. DAL: P5 W1 L3 D1 … Schellas Hyndman vs. COL: P14 W5 L4 D5
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- The game's four goals all came in a 10-minute span early in the second half. The Rapids took the lead in the 56th minute when Marvell Wynne’s throw-in near the touchline went straight into the center of the box, and Atiba Harris followed with a clean header right into the corner of the net.
- But five minutes later, the visitors had their first reply. Clearing away a Dallas cross, Harris’ header deflected off a teammate and straight to Blas Perez, who fired into the corner of the net to beat Rapids ‘keeper Clint Irwin.
- Just three minutes later, the Rapids were back in front. A looping cross into the box from Rapids left back Chris Klute was met by a wide open Harris, who had a simple finish for his second goal of the game.
- But FC Dallas waited just two minutes to reply. A long Dallas cross onto the edge of the box floated for Perez, who clinically finished with a scorching low drive from 20 yards out to even the game.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Nathan Sturgis (German Mera 90), Hendry Thomas - Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown (Danny Mwanga 88) - Edson Buddle.
- FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, George John, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez (London Woodberry 88) - Andrew Jacobson, Michel - Jackson, David Ferreira (Eric Hassli 90), Fabian Castillo (Ramon Nunez 85) - Blas Perez.
The Colorado Rapids returned right back to their winning ways, defeating the LA Galaxy 1-0 on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Rapids are in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 42 points from 28 matches.
- The game's only goal came with a quarter-hour remaining. Vicente Sanchez won the ball on LA's left flank, surged forward, cut inside, spun to avoid a defender and played the ball back to Edson Buddle, who hit the upper-left corner from just beyond the penalty area for the eventual winner.
- The Galaxy nearly took the lead after just two minutes, but Marcelo Sarvas saw his effort come down off the underside of the crossbar. Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin made six saves for the clean sheet.
- Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Atiba Harris, Nick LaBrocca and Edson Buddle came into the team, in place of Nathan Sturgis, Deshorn Brown and Gabriel Torres.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Hendry Thomas, Dillon Powers - Atiba Harris (Deshorn Brown 62), Vicente Sanchez (Anthony Wallace 86), Nick LaBrocca (Martin Rivero 64) - Edson Buddle.
- The Rapids have lost just once in their last 11 matches, dating back to June 29. They are 5-1-5 since the 3-0 defeat at Portland on June 23.
- “I thought as a group we went onto the field today with a big responsibility to try to get a result and despite having some very young (players) the team they were up to the challenge ... I thought we planned it well and the execution was even better,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja.
- Making his first start since Aug. 3, Edson Buddle scored for a third consecutive match in the win at the LA Galaxy.
- “It’s been a lot of ups and downs, and just to get going is great,” Buddle said. “To do it on the road in this place is not easy and we just have to build on this and keep going.” Said Pareja: “All the players are happy for the result, happy for the group, but mostly happy for Edson. He has been training very hard and I know what this game means for him and giving us three points with such a great goal, it was outstanding.”
- Vicente Sánchez recorded his second assist in three games, making his fourth appearance since joining the Rapids. He was removed late in the match after suffering a knock. “Vicente’s good,” Pareja said. “He knows his body well and we try to keep him fresh and healthy.”
- Clint Irwin recorded his 10th shutout of the season, tied for the league lead with Jimmy Nielsen (KC) and Zac MacMath (PHI). It was his second clean sheet in the last three matches.
- “I think I’ve just been fortunate to play in front of some good defenders. We have guys that are very well respected, in Chris Klute and Shane O’Neill, and veteran leadership with Drew and Marv [Marvell Wynne], and they’ve just been great back there just holding things together and keeping things locked down,” Irwin said.
- Said Pareja: “Managing the games, for example, comes with games. It comes with consistency. It comes with matureness. It comes with failure and wins and losses. It’s nothing that you can get around the corner. It’s what it is, but I think he’s showing everyone in the league that he’s maturing.”
- Nick LaBrocca made his first start in three matches, coming into a wide midfield role. Atiba Harris also returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 3
- “Nick is an experienced guy who in a game like this one can us that speed on the ball but on the other side we needed the physicality of Atiba, a person we missed probably a lot in Kansas, and I wanted the group to attack the Galaxy a little bit more in the second half with bringing Deshorn (Brown) and Martin (Rivero),” said Pareja. “So with Atiba and Nick it was a tactical (move), one gave us speed and the other physicality.”
- After 18 consecutive matches starting in a holding midfield role, Nathan Sturgis missed the Galaxy match with an injury. “It should be good to go,” Sturgis said. “I felt it on Wednesday of last week. It felt OK but I didn’t quite feel confident to go on it [on Saturday].”
FC Dallas made it three games without loss, getting two late goals for a 3-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening in Frisco. FCD is in sixth place in the Western Conference with 40 points from 27 matches.
- Vancouver opened the scoring after just four minutes. A beautiful passing sequence between Camilo and Kenny Miller saw Miller released into open space on the right side, and he sent in a cross that onrushing midfielder Daigo Kobayashi deftly volleyed past Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
- But FC Dallas pulled level just four minutes later. Fabian Castillo found midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson all alone on the left side, and after two quick touches he blasted a right-footed shot from 20 yards that flew straight into the upper corner of the net at goalkeeper David Ousted’s near post.
- FC Dallas claimed the full three points thanks to two late goals. Substitute Mauro Diaz scored what would be the game-winner in the 87th minute when he volleyed a Fabian Castillo cross with serious power past a helpless Ousted.
- Two minutes later FCD defender Jair Benitez scored an audacious goal, a blast from just inside the halfway line that sailed over the head of Ousted and under the crossbar.
- FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made three changes to the team that claimed a late 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes in Frisco. Chris Seitz came in between the posts in place of Raul Fernandez, and Andrew Jacobson and Jackson came into the side for Jair Benitez and Blas Perez.
- FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Chris Seitz - Kellyn Acosta, George John, Matt Hedges, Michel (Jair Benitez 65) - Andrew Jacobson, Erick - Je-Vaughn Watson (Eric Hassli 84), David Ferreira, Jackson (Mauro Diaz 74) - Fabian Castillo.
- It was the second victory in the last three matches for FC Dallas, after going 11 league games without a victory from June 1 to Aug. 17. It was the first win in Frisco since May 25.
- “We may not have gotten a win since [May 25] but I think that our guys have really come out and given their best. Sometimes it hasn’t gone our way and sometimes we dig ourselves into a really big hole, but everybody feels good right now,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman. “If you know how this league is when you’re hot, you’ve got to be prepared to be cold. It’s very difficult to keep on a winning streak throughout the whole season. When teams don’t do well they don’t do well for a while and we went through that. Hopefully we’ve turned it around so that we can see the points we were seeing at the beginning of the year.”
- Fábian Castillo set up a pair of goals against Vancouver and now has four assists in the last four matches. “We knew Jackson and [Fabian] Castillo would cause a lot of problems for Vancouver as two front runners with speed. Neither of them are excellent finishers but they sure create a lot of problems,” said Hyndman.
- Jair Benitez scored his first goal of the season and it was one of the goals of the season, a blast from just inside the halfway line that sailed over the head of Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted and under the crossbar.
- Mauro Diaz scored his second goal for the club in five appearances after coming to MLS, coming off the substitutes’ bench for a second consecutive game. He also added his first MLS assist.
- “You would hope your substitutions always bring something. When two of the three score goals it is tremendous, but it isn’t something that you’re banking on,” said Hyndman. “Mauro’s goal was a classic. He’s going to be a very good player for FC Dallas for a very long time and of course, Jair’s goal was spectacular.” Said Castillo: “Mauro changed the game. To me, he is a little genius. He can see what other players cannot see”
- FC Dallas did not expect to have midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson in the lineup, but he rejected a call into the Jamaican national team for the World Cup qualifying matches Panama and Costa Rica. Watson came through with his second league goal of the season, his first since May 11, and has a goal and an assist in the last two matches.
- “I think playing for Jamaica is important because it’s my country, but … I want to go to the [MLS Cup] playoffs,” Watson said. “That’s the most important thing. I’m here all season ... I’m a competitor, I hate losing. Whenever I lose, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I’d rather be here than be in Jamaica right now.”
- The game against Colorado is vital for FC Dallas as it is the last one against a team currently in contention for the top five positions in the West. It’s also the first of three away matches in the next four for FCD. Three of FCD’s final eight games are against Eastern Conference teams.
- “Right now we know that we’re going to get Raul [Fernandez] back. We’re going to get Blas [Perez] back. [The Vancouver] game was so very important for the team,” Hyndman said. “It’s not just the three points. It’s the confidence the players have right now and the feel-good attitude and the belief that they have in each other. These are the types of games that, if you look back at your seasons to see where they turn, you could turn back and say this was the game. … It was a game that we needed to win. We needed to get ourselves into the playoffs and with the eight games we had, we feel that if we could win four of them, we’d have a very strong chance of getting in there, so that’s our goal.”