KNOW YOUR ENEMY: Colorado Rapids | 4.7.18

FRISCO – After the second bye week of the young MLS season, FC Dallas (1-0-2) will look to build a game rhythm as they open up 10 straight weeks of league matches against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

Colorado (1-1-1) is coming off of a dominant 3-0 performance from the weekend against the Philadelphia Union behind a Dominique Badji hat trick.

New Faces and A Kiwi Takeover

Colorado revamped their squad after a tough 2017 season which saw the club miss the playoffs and finish second to last in the Western Conference. The Rapids brought in former New Zealand head coach, Anthony Hudson. Hudson has brought a new philosophy to try and turn this Colorado Rapids side around. Although he has had a bit of an unconventional approach with player recruitment, it seemed to come together last week against the Union.

Hudson has mainly brought in players that have previously played for him in the New Zealand Men’s National Team and he has had a big focus on bringing in players from the English Championship. The core of his 3-5-2 is made up of New Zealand center back, Deklan Wynne, who has started all three games so far for Colorado, while the other two center backs are former Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith and former Glasgow Rangers defender Danny Wilson.

Key Match-Ups

Reto Ziegler vs. Dominique Badji – In the past, Colorado has struggled to score consistently and often. Over the last three years, the Rapids have scored the fewest goals in MLS, but it looks like things might be changing for them with the attacking options on board this year. Badji has been an underrated scoring threat in the league and after his hat trick last week the league and FC Dallas know what he’s capable of. Ziegler will have to watch Badji’s tendency to cut inside and shoot on goal like we saw on his third goal vs Philadelphia this weekend.

Jacori Hayes vs. Johan Blomberg – Hayes has made a name for himself in his three MLS games so far this season. He’s been great as the middleman for FCD in transition and even started contributing to the attack. Swedish midfielder Johan Blomberg will be looking to knock off the rhythm Hayes has built so far. Last week in Colorado’s match vs the Union, Blomberg opened up the Union defense several times with his through balls into space and Hayes will be tasked with closing those passing lanes off. Blomberg was wonderful on the counter attack for Colorado’s third goal as he played a perfectly weighted through ball to Badji on the run. 

Projected XI

Colorado Rapids (3-5-2): Tim Howard; Deklan Wynne, Danny Wilson, Tommy Smith; Marlon Hairston, Johan Blomberg, Jack Price, Enzo Martínez, Edgar Castillo; Joe Mason, Dominique Badji

Keys to Three Points

FC Dallas will look to build a rhythm with two early-season byes out of the way and without another break until the World Cup break in mid June. Oscar Pareja and his men need to end their season-opening home stretch with three points this weekend by breaking down the Rapids’ newly instituted 3-5-2. Colorado plays a high-press system with a five-man midfield, so keeping possession and finding breaks in the passing lanes will be key. Dallas' defense will most likely see a lot of time on the ball and it is crucial they find outlets to their center midfielders.