Know Your Enemy: Colorado Rapids

FC Dallas returns home this weekend after two weeks on the road to battle the Colorado Rapids.

Both clubs enter this game on different runs as FCD has a seven-game league unbeaten stretch that began when these two last played in June when FC Dallas won 3-2. The two sides traded goals until Fabian Castillo netted the game winner midway through the second half.

The Rapids are coming into this match on a bit of a cold streak, losing three out of their last four matches. Last weekend the Rapids lost their Rocky Mountain Cup game against rivals Real Salt Lake 1-0.

WATCH: FCD 3, Rapids 2

Injury Watch

Pablo Mastroeni’s club is dealing with a couple injuries right now but only one long-term injury in veteran defender Brian Mullan (knee injury).

TICKETS - FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids - Saturday, August 9th 8:00PM Toyota Stadium

The Rapids Homegrown defender Shane O’Neill has missed the last four matches with a knee sprain. Colorado did recently welcome Deshorn Brown (groin) and Jose Mari (ankle) back from injuries last weekend.

Key Matchups

Chris Klute vs Fabian Castillo - FCD fans know how much Castillo likes to take players on one-v-one in the open field. Last time against the Rapids he was able to get the better of Klute on several occasions thanks to his technical ability on the ball and his raw speed.

Deshorn Brown vs Matt Hedges - Last weekend Hedges had to deal with the goal poacher in Erick Torres but this weekend it will be all about containing the speed from Brown, who currently leads the Rapids in goals. 

Key Player for Colorado

Dillon Powers - The Plano native continues to be the guy pulling the strings in the midfield for the Rapids. He currently leads the club with six assists on the season. He has also scored four goals, good for third-best on the team behind Brown (7 goals) and Vicente Sanchez (6 goals).

READ: FC Dallas looking forward to "six-pointer" vs Rapids

Projected Lineup

Mastroeni was using a 4-4-2 at the beginning of the summer but has now shifted more into a 4-2-3-1, similar to what FC Dallas has used in the past.

Goalkeeper: Clint Irwin; RB: Marvell Wynne; CB: Drew Moor, Marvell Wynee; LB: Chris Klute, CM: Jose Mari; CM: Nick LaBrocca; RM: Dillon Serna; CM: Vicente Sanchez; LM: Dillon Powers; FW: Deshorn Brown

Keys to three points

Colorado returns to Frisco in a bit of a slump. The last two games they have been outscored 4-0 and have given up nine goals in their last five games overall. Despite the club being nearly full strength in terms of health, the offense hasn’t been firing the way most around the league figure it should and the defense continues to get put under pressure by teams with speed.

The old ‘six-pointer’ for this game will be true as FCD has a chance to put some distance between themselves and Colorado with a win on Saturday. To do so, Oscar Pareja will need to continue to find ways to spread out the attack, go at the Rapids with speed and continue to plug the right holes in defense.

The last couple weeks the Dallas defense has been very strong in making sure teams with speed and crafty forwards don’t get the chances that they normally do. This Colorado team will still want to prove something to Pareja, so not playing to their emotion will be key.

In the attack, Dallas has to continue to feed Castillo on the wings and allow him to use his pace to dictate the attack. Colorado hasn’t proven in the past that they can handle Castillo and his speed which should help allow extra space for Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele to find open spots in the Rapids’ defense to get on the ball as well.