FC Dallas-Rapids Preview


FC Dallas has rarely faltered since beginning 2013 with a win over Colorado, but will next face a Rapids team that's coming off its best month of the season.

Dallas seeks its fourth straight win over Colorado on Saturday night while the Rapids try to extend their league unbeaten run to six games.

FC Dallas used an early goal from Jackson for a 1-0 victory against Colorado on March 2. Raul Fernandez posted the shutout in his MLS debut.

Dallas (8-2-3) has occupied first place in the Western Conference for much of the time since that game and bounced back from a rare loss with a 1-0 win over San Jose last Saturday before beating Fort Lauderdale 2-0 in a U.S. Open Cup game Tuesday.

Fabian Castillo scored the lone goal in the 33rd minute against the Earthquakes, and Fernandez recorded his fifth clean sheet in 11 games. Dallas got some help on defense with George John returning from a three-game absence due to a knee injury.

"It was important that the guys defended to the end, as we had to defend to get a result. I was nervous when they were pressing late in the second half but we accomplished what we set out to do," Castillo said. "The important thing is we won."

Fernandez won't play in this game as he's with the Peruvian national team, and forward Blas Perez is with Panama. Backup goalkeeper Richard Sanchez is with the Mexican Under-20 team, and Kellyn Acosta has left to join the United States' U-20 squad.

Colorado's Shane O'Neill and Dillon Serna are with that same team, but the Rapids are expected to have the rest of their available players as they attempt to build on a 3-0-1 league record in May.

Colorado concluded its May MLS slate with a 2-0 victory over visiting Chivas USA last Saturday, though it was knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup with a surprising 3-1 loss at Orlando on Tuesday.

Nathan Sturgis scored his second goal in as many games in the win over Chivas while Clint Irwin recorded his fifth shutout, and the Rapids are eager to continue their league success.

"We've gradually been building off of solid performances," said Sturgis, who has three goals in 86 career MLS games. "We know we're at home (the next two games) so we really have to kind of step it up a little bit and initiate the game more and go after the three points."

FC Dallas started its win streak against the Rapids (5-4-4) with a 2-1 victory in its most recent visit to Colorado on July 14. Castillo scored the tiebreaking goal in the 81st minute.