Summer is here and the season is heating up as FC Dallas remains at home this weekend when they host the Colorado Rapids in the final home match before the World Cup.
FCD hopes to end their eight-game winless run against a team that head coach Oscar Pareja is very familiar with. Pareja coached the Rapids for two seasons before stepping down in the offseason to take his current job in Frisco.
The Rapids are coming into this match on a bit of a hot streak, winning two out of their last three matches. They are coming off a midweek draw against the Chicago Fire. New manager Pablo Mastroeni rested several key players in the 0-0 draw at home to the Fire.
Last season these clubs split the season series with the Rapids winning the last meeting in September 2-1. FC Dallas did win the lone home meeting between the two sides, a 1-0 win in the season opener last March.
Mastroeni is one of the few coaches around the league that isn’t dealing with a lot of injury issues at the moment. Forward Edson Buddle is listed as out as he continues to rehab a right groin strain. Midfielder Nathan Sturgis is also out for this weekend’s match as well with a right foot injury.
There are a couple question marks for Saturday’s game as well. Defender Gale Abossoumonde is still recovering from a lower abdomen injury and forward Vicente Sanchez is close to returning from a right knee sprain.
Jose Mari vs Victor Ulloa - This could be one interesting midfield matchup to watch this weekend. The Spanish midfielder has done well so far adjusting to MLS, and has proven to be a threat all over the field. Ulloa will want to limit his time on the ball in the middle of the field and find ways to close down his passing lanes when he is on the ball.
Deshorn Brown vs Matt Hedges - The speed of Brown is always a tricky thing to deal with. Hedges has had his hands full a few times this season with shifty players like Brown. The FCD defender will need to limit the space that Brown gets in and around the penalty box in order to keep him at bay in this game.
Key Player for San Jose
Dillon Powers - The Plano native has been pulling all the right strings this season in the midfield for Colorado. He leads the team with three assists and has been bagging a couple goals of his own as of late as well.
While Pareja used a 4-3-3 during his time in Colorado, Mastroeni has moved the team back into a 4-4-2.
Goalkeeper: Clint Irwin; RB: Marvell Wynne; CB: Drew Moor, Shane O’Neill; LB: Chris Klute, RM: Kamani Hill; CM: Nick LaBrocca, Jose Mari; LM: Dillon Serna; FW: Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown
Keys to three points
Colorado played a rather dull offensive match on Wednesday night against the Fire in hopes to keep some players rested and ready for this game.
You can almost expect the players for the Rapids to get up for this game given the fact that they will be going against their old coach. Emotions will get high in this one because of that factor and FC Dallas has to remain discipline, something that they have struggled this season to do (six red cards in 15 games).
In order to get back on the winning path, FCD needs to return to some basics here but playing a bit gritty in the midfield, spread the Rapids out in the passing, and play defensively from the forward down to the back line.
Colorado is a team that FCD should find some success in spreading them out and by controlling the midfield. If FCD is able to clog up the passing lanes and create plenty of chances from the wings, they’ll stand a good chance to end this current slump.