FRISCO - As FC Dallas heads out to face the Colorado Rapids on Sunday afternoon, admittedly it’s going to be a little weird.
Yes, Decision Day holds an important game between the two sides - one that will decide Dallas’ postseason starting point - but it will also mark the first time two mainstays face their former clubs.
Just over three months after MLS' biggest trade of the summer window, the two centerpieces of the deal - Dominique Badji and Kellyn Acosta - will go head-to-head
For Badji, Sunday is a homecoming to the team that drafted him in 2015 and the place he spent the first three and a half years of his pro career.
The nostalgia, though, is the last thing on his mind.
“Honestly, I just want to win,” the forward who will still finish 2018 as Colorado's leading scorer said this week. “I’m sure before the game it’s going to be nice to see a couple of my old teammates and a couple of the fans. But once the whistle blows, there are no friends on the field.”
That mentality is echoed on the other side of the field, where one of the most familiar faces in FCD’s history will square off against his boyhood club in what’s sure to be a surreal day for all parties involved.
“Obviously playing against my old team is going to be a special moment for me,” the former Homegrown Acosta told ColoradoRapids.com this week. “It’s going to be kind of weird and a little bit awkward in a sense, but yeah I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a huge one. We want to finish of the year strong and it’s going to be imperative for us to do so.”
“We grew up in the Academy together so it’s definitely going to be weird playing against him,” said Homegrown Victor Ulloa, who will likely find himself marking Acosta in the midfield on Sunday. “It’s going to be a fun matchup. I can’t wait to see him, but once we step on that field, we’re not going to be friends for 90 minutes.”
The summer trade between the two clubs just adds yet another layer to the familiar history between MLS originals.
FCD head coach Oscar Pareja coached the Rapids for two seasons before being taking over in Dallas in 2014. Former Dallas Technical Director Fernando Clavijo also served as Colorado’s coach from 2005-2008, opening up Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2007. Defender Maynor Figueroa played 10 games for the Rapids in 2015 before Dallas traded for the veteran in 2016. Colorado is even the birthplace of Reggie Cannon and forward Tesho Akindele, who used to attend Rapids’ games as a kid.
“Kellyn is [obviously] one of our favorites here,” Pareja said, noting the many relationships across party lines taking place this weekend. “We are going to share a competition in a different jersey. It’s a part of this game, where we all belong. It’s part of our journey.
"The good news is that in a competition, we all have the same feelings [to win]. We’re trying to do our job on different sides now, but deep inside the person doesn't change.”