Oscar Pareja’s Colorado Rapids will visit Dallas for the second time in 2012 Saturday night. The former FCD assistant’s side recently put a stop to a six match losing streak. To their own credit, they at least ended the slump with an abrupt win against rivals Salt Lake last week. Regardless, the Rapids’ away record is dismal at best at 2-9-0, and one of those road victories came against a nine man Dallas squad a couple months back.
FCD thought it had distanced itself from the red card-infested beginning of 2012 until Zach Loyd was presented one last week at Portland – an action that definitely changed the tide of a match that appeared winnable to a draw and two points dropped.
“I would’ve liked to have seen us play with 11 players, and I think there was enough things going on out there that there could’ve been 10 players on each team,” FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “But it seems that when you’re on the road sometimes the calls don’t go your way and this has been one of those seasons.”
It was a bit of a generous assessment of what unfortunately was an all too familiar situation for Hyndman’s Dallas squad. The dropped points in Portland hurt. A victory could have been glorious: away on the road, Brek Shea back starting on the left flank, Brek gaining an assist, and Scott Sealy notching his second goal of the year. All the circumstances surrounding the match prior to Loyd’s sending off were potentially catalytic for the rest of Dallas’ season.
But at least Colorado is coming to town. The bitter taste of the 2-0 home loss to the Rapids, where FCD played two men down for the final thirty minutes, still smacks in the mouths of the Dallas faithful. Oscar Pareja’s men, if nothing else, will come to Dallas with an aura of confidence surrounding them after a solid shutout win against their Rocky Mountain rivals from Utah. FCD will fancy their chances based on their impressive 2-1 comeback away at Colorado a month ago.
Much will rely upon Dallas’ ability to come out quickly against Colorado. The Rapids are notoriously slow just after the first and forty-fifth minutes, and have just as many goal concessions as Dallas near the dying moments of matches. Brek’s assist against Portland should hopefully carry him to a more spirited display at home – one that the home fans haven’t seen in months out of the US national.
Otherwise, expect a similar lineup to the one that started against Portland last week. Scott Sealy should lead the attack up top, supported by Castillo, Shea, de Guzman, Jacobson, and Ferreira in the midfield. Jackson is still listed as out, as well as Blas Perez. Rumor has it he did finally make an appearance at training for FCD, after a long injury bout (that is still far from over), as well as the death of his father. But, barring the absence of Loyd, this will be a lineup FCD will find very familiar, if not somewhat improved with an upbeat Brek Shea and experience de Guzman to hold in front of the back line.
Theoretically FCD can still make the playoffs. But the side faces a massive string of away matches at Vancouver, Salt Lake, and Los Angeles. Confidence from a home victory will be the best way to inaugurate a harrowing August road campaign.
(image courtesy of fcdallas.com)