Rapids wary of FC Dallas star Ferreira

NEW YORK — FC Dallas playmaker David Ferreira has earned more than his fair share of attention this season, and next Sunday's MLS Cup final will be no different.

Ferreira is fresh off a man-of-the-match performance this past weekend in which he tallied a goal and an assist in FCD's 3-0 dismantling of the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Championship. The Galaxy clearly struggled to contain him, so how do the Eastern Conference champion Colorado Rapids plan on coping with the free-roaming Colombian in Toronto?

"Maybe we'll go man-for-man on him," Rapids head coach Gary Smith told media in a teleconference on Monday. "We'll just stick someone on him to look after him the whole game and take him completely out of the game, and play nine-v-nine on the outfield."

Smith's comments were likely made tongue-in-cheek, but he also said he's wary of Dallas' unusual shape — a sort of 4-1-3-1-1 — that allows Ferreira to move about and create chances wherever he is on the field.

"[Dallas' shape] certainly aids and abets what he's capable of and gives him some freedom to work within that midfield," Smith said. "He makes nice choices to join in."

Smith balked at the suggestion that he would throw captain Pablo Mastroeni, a holding midfielder, on Ferreira in a "man-for-man" situation. That role, however, could fall on Mastroeni's midfield partner Jeff Larentowicz. Or both.

Either way, the Rapids are no stranger to Ferreira's prowess as the midfielder-cum-forward bagged a goal in a 2-2 draw with Colorado at Pizza Hut Park on Oct. 12.

Ferreira is also a league MVP candidate, and even the Galaxy's Landon Donovan — the reigning league MVP — called Ferreira MLS’ best player in 2010.

"He's had a fabulous season and he's been able to express himself probably more so than any other time he's been in this league," Smith said. "His form's been excellent, there's no doubt about that."