KNOW YOUR ENEMY: Colorado Rapids Finding Defensive Form Heading to Final Match

FRISCO — FC Dallas will head on the road to Colorado on Sunday with a chance to guarantee a top-two seed in the Western Conference and a first-round bye. 

Dallas is coming into the match with two consecutive losses, scoring zero goals combined, but will face a Colorado team that is eliminated from the playoffs and locked into 11th place in the conference.

The two teams have faced once already this season, ending in a 1-1 draw. But the lineups are very different this time around, and the stakes are high for Dallas.

Regaining the Back Line

Colorado has struggled defensively this season, giving up 62 goals in 33 matches. It only has six shutouts on the season, but two of those have come in the last two matches. Colorado played San Jose to a scoreless draw last weekend, and before that, it defeated Minnesota United FC, 2-0, with goalkeeper Tim Howard only having to make one save.

Key Matchups

Marquinhos Pedroso vs. Shkëlzen Gashi — Gashi has started the last three games for Colorado up top. He has not been able to get onto the score sheet as of late, but has two goals and two assists in 20 matches.

Santiago Mosquera vs. Marlon Hairston — Mosquera has been one of Dallas' most consistent players offensive in the past two months. The winger has scored five goals in the teams past eight matches and has recorded just under three shots a match in that span.

Projected Starting XI

Colorado Rapids (4-4-2): Howard; Castillo, Smith, Sjoberg, Hairston; Acosta, Bassett, Price, Boateng; Serna, Gashi

Keys to Three Points

If FC Dallas can get on the board early, it can sit back and defend against the worst goal-scoring team in MLS. The Rapids are tied for last place in the league, averaging only .64 goals for in the second half of matches.