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Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids

March 2, 2013 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #4)
7:30 p.m. CT (TWCSN-TX; Altitude)

It’s a rematch of an MLS Cup Final from just a few years ago to kick off the new season with FC Dallas take on the Colorado Rapids in Frisco. The teams met in MLS Cup 2010 in Toronto, the Rapids winning their first league title in extra time. Both teams come off disappointing campaigns in 2012 where they failed to reach the postseason, finishing two points apart in sixth and seventh places in the Western Conference.


REFEREE: Allen Chapman. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Ismail Elfath
MLS Career: 11 games; FC/gm: 21.1; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 1; pens: 2

SUSPENDED: DAL: Blas Perez (through March 10)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Serna (U.S. U-20)

ALL-TIME (56 meetings): FC Dallas 27 wins (2 shootout), 92 goals … Rapids 19 wins (1 shootout), 69 goals … Ties 10
AT DALLAS (29 meetings): FC Dallas 19 wins (2 shootout), 55 goals … Rapids 6 wins (1 shootout), 30 goals … Ties 4

5/6: DAL 0, COL 2 (Castrillon 61; Rivero 74)
7/14: COL 1, DAL 2 (Cummings 50 – Rodriguez 60; Castillo 81)
8/11: DAL 3, COL 2 (Castillo 41; Benitez 44; Ferreira 49 – Castrillon 12; Larentowicz 55)
•    Each team won away from home in the series a year ago, among their three meetings. FC Dallas won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time since 2007, with their 2-1 win July 14.
•    The Rapids won at FC Dallas Stadium for the first time since 2008 with their 2-0 triumph in the first encounter.
•    The teams did of course meet in MLS Cup 2010 in Toronto, an own goal in extra time giving the Rapids a 2-1 victory and their first league title.
•    Coaches record: Schellas Hyndman vs. COL: P12 W4 L4 D4 … Oscar Pareja vs. DAL: P3 W1 L2 D0

Having missed out on the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in three seasons in 2012, FC Dallas is looking to move back into the top half of the Western Conference and again post a winning record. Schellas Hyndman starts his fifth full season in charge of the club, having taken over midway through the 2008 campaign.

WATCH: The Scouting Report on FC Dallas

•    FC Dallas ended their preseason last Saturday with a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in the final match of the Portland Preseason Tournament at Jeld-Wen Field. After Chris Wondolowski and Jackson traded goals 11 minutes apart in the first half, Mike Fucito scored the match-winner four minutes after the second-half restart.
•    Here’s the FC Dallas team: Raul Fernandez (Chris Seitz 46), Michel (Jair Benitez 62), Matt Hedges, George John, Zach Loyd (London Woodberry 46), Andrew Jacobson (Bradley Baladez 62), Bobby Warshaw (Victor Ulloa 76), Jackson (Jonathan Top 77), David Ferreira, Fabian Castillo (Blas Perez 77), Kenny Cooper.
•    In the preseason finale, looking to change his team’s look, Hyndman inserted Bobby Warshaw next to Andrew Jacobson in a deep-lying axis in central midfield.
•    “A lot of the stuff we don’t even really have to communicate,” Jacobson said. “It allows me to step higher and he kind of reads that. I don’t find myself having to turn and worry if he’s in the space or not, he’s usually there and wins the ball well. I think we have a similar understanding to the game.”
•    Said Hyndman: “I also think Bobby is bringing the best out of A.J. because he’s capable of doing a lot of the work and the grunt work and physical play. It gives A.J. the ability to get forward and contribute, whether it’s shooting or killer passing and great forward runs. In the past, he hasn’t been able to do that."
•    David Ferreira was moved from his usual central position to a playmaking role wide on the left, with Jackson filllng the opposite flank.
•    “We felt like we needed more ball winners and of course we’ve got to keep David on the field,” said Hyndman. “Either we go back with one striker or we try to find a way to keep him on the field and still add something in the center. The decision was to put him on the left and to give him some freedom so he can still be a playmaker for us.”
•    Hyndman started Fabian Castillo and the returned Kenny Cooper as his strike pair, but Eric Hassli – acquired from Toronto FC – will also fit into the mix, along with Panamanian intermational Blas Pérez.
•    “It’s a very offensive team and the last two years we didn’t play so well with Vancouver or Toronto,” said Hassli. “We didn’t keep the ball and here we have the quality. The coach wants us to keep the ball and play.”
•    Hyndman said there is no decision on who will start between the posts for the season opener – Chris Seitz or Peruvian international Raul Fernandez. Both have shared time equally during the postseason.
•    “We’ll be making that decision very shortly,” Hyndman said. “What’s going to be probably the main influence is [goalkeepers coach] Drew Keeshan. He works with them every day and he’ll have an opportunity to give me some thoughts on who he thinks should be the best keeper to be starting the season with.”


IN: MF Peter Luccin (12/10/12 - free); DF Stephen Keel (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); FW Pipico (12/18/12 - transfer from Vasco da Gama); FW Bradlee Baladez (12/19/12 - Homegrown); DF London Woodberry (1/9/13 - Homegrown); GK Raúl Fernández (1/10/13 - free); DF Walker Zimmerman (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); FW Eric Hassli (2/4/13 - trade from Toronto); FW Kenny Cooper (2/4/13 - trade from New York); MF Je-Vaughn Watson (2/19/13 - trade from Houston); DF Michel (2/19/13 - free)

OUT: MF Bryan Leyva (11/7/12 - option declined); MF Bruno Guarda (11/7/12 - option declined); FW Ruben Luna (11/7/12 - option declined); FW Matías Jara (11/7/12 - option declined); GK Kevin Hartman (12/3/12 - out of contract); MF Julian de Guzman (12/3/12 - out of contract); FW Scott Sealy (12/3/12 - option declined); DF Moises Hernandez (1/3/13 - loan to Saprissa); MF Ricardo Villar (1/23/13 - waived); MF James Marcelin (1/23/13 - waived); MF Brek Shea (1/31/13 - transfer to Stoke City); FW Pipico (2/4/13 - waived)

The last time the Colorado Rapids did not reach the MLS Cup Playoffs, they rebounded the following season with a trip to the championship game and a victory in MLS Cup 2010. Oscar Pareja starts his second season in charge of the club as he tries to lead it back to the postseason, after a seventh-place finish in the Western Conference a year ago.

WATCH: The Scouting Report on the Colorado Rapids

•    The Colorado Rapids ended their preseason schedule on Feb. 22 with a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at Harder Stadium on the campus of UC-Santa Barbara. Drew Moor gave the Rapids a 12th-minute lead, but Marcelo Sarvas equalized before halftime and Jack McBean scored the winner 10 minutes from time.
•    Here’s the Rapids team: Steward Ceus, Marvell Wynne (Chris Klute 80), Drew Moor, Diego Calderón, Brian Mullan, Hendry Thomas, Pablo Mastroeni (Kamani Hill 80), Dillon Powers, Atiba Harris (Tony Cascio 59), Deshorn Brown, Kevin Harbottle (Jamie Smith 59)
•    The Rapids concluded the preseason with four losses in five matches against MLS opposition. The lone win came against the San Jose Earthquakes on Feb. 2.
•    The Rapids will be missing a pair of key cogs in the club’s attack at the start of the season. Jaime Castrillón, who led the team with eight goals in 2012, will be out several months with a right knee injury. He will undergo surgery and is hoping to be back by June.
•    Then, in the Rapids preseason opener, Martín Rivero broke his foot and was ruled out for 2-3 months.
•    “It’s my first serious injury,” Rivero said. “It’s complicated, but it happens to every player and it’s an experience.”
•    Two others who did not feature in the final preseason match were goalkeeper Matt Pickens and striker Edson Buddle, who was acquired from the LA Galaxy in the offseason. Buddle is recovering from a knee injury suffered at the January camp with the U.S. national team. Pickens sustained a muscle injury in training in his lower left leg.
•    "He's doing very well, and is improving a lot,” Pareja said of Buddle. “And Matt (Pickens) is also improving. So we're optimistic we'll be able to count on having the full group available for the match against Dallas."
•    There was a surprise in the preseason finale when MLS veteran Brian Mullan slotted in at left back. Mullan had been featuring at right back, along with Marvell Wynne, for nearly the entirety of preseason camp.
•    "We wanted to see how Brian reacted in that spot," Pareja said. "His experience is very valuable to us, as is the energy and leadership he brings to the team. And we wanted to see him there."


IN: MF Atiba Harris (12/3/12 - trade from Vancouver); MF Eric Avila (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); FW Edson Buddle (12/14/12 - trade from LA Galaxy); MF Nathan Sturgis (12/23/12 - trade from Houston); DF Diego Calderón (1/3/12 - transfer from LDU Quito); FW Kevin Harbottle (1/17/12 - free transfer from Universidad Católica); DF DeShorn Brown (1/17/12 - SuperDraft); MF Dillon Powers (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); MF Dillon Serna (1/18/12 - Homegrown); MF Nick LaBrocca (1/22/13 - trade from Chivas USA); FW Charles Eloundou (1/25/13 - weighted lottery); GK Clint Irwin (2/21/13 - free); DF Korey Kindle (2/21/13 - SuperDraft)

OUT: FW Conor Casey (11/16/12 - option declined); MF Edu (11/16/12); GK Ian Joyce (11/16/12 - option declined); DF Tyrone Marshall (11/16/12 - out of contract); MF Joseph Nane (11/16/12 - option declined); DF Scott Palguta (11/16/12 - out of contract); DF Tyson Wahl (11/16/12 - option declined); DF Luis Zapata (11/16/12 - option declined); DF Hunter Freeman (12/3/12 - option declined); FW Omar Cummings (12/23/12 - trade to Houston); MF Jeff Larentowicz (1/16/13 - trade to Chicago); MF Eric Avila (1/22/13 - trade to Chivas USA)

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