FCD tops Rapids to keep playoff hopes alive

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — FC Dallas got goals from Fabian Castillo, Jair Benitez and David Ferreira in a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night that kept their faint playoff hopes alive.

It’s been a disappointing season for both FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids. Less than two years after the Rapids defeated Dallas in the 2010 MLS Cup Final, both clubs entered the day clinging to life in the postseason chase.

Dallas (6-11-8) overcame an early 1-0 deficit and is 3-2-1 in its last six, including two wins over Colorado, following a franchise-record 13-game winless skid. The victory allows it to leapfrog the Rapids and tie Chivas USA for sixth in the Western Conference standings, seven points behind Los Angeles for the last postseason slot.

Jaime Castrillon and Jeff Larentowicz scored for the Rapids (8-15-1), who are 1-7-0 in their last eight outings and 2-10-0 on the road this season.

“We are disappointed in the result, but we are not giving up,” Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. “We are still thinking playoffs. We started well and created the (chances) to be up at the half by two or three, to be honest with you. That’s what the game is. You’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net, and if you don’t do it, then you pay for it. That is exactly what happened.”

Larentowicz lamented Colorado’s lost chances.

“We have the lead and give it away. That’s the story of the last month and a half, we just continue to beat ourselves,” said Larentowicz.

Ferreira gave FC Dallas a 3-1 advantage just 4 minutes into the second half with his first goal of the year. Playing his eighth match of the season after missing the previous 14 months with an ankle injury that required multiple surgeries, the 2010 MLS MVP received a nice pass from Castillo and beat Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens with a 10-yarder just inside the right post.

“It’s huge for him,” Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. “He is such an important part of our success and it was great to see him get a goal because he works awfully hard out there for us.”

Colorado got one back 6 minutes later on Larentowicz’s third goal of the year. On a free kick in Dallas territory, Martin Rivero quickly fed the ball into the middle for Larentowicz, who boomed a 30-yard blast that just eluded diving Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, ricocheted off the left goalpost and bounced in.

“I could tell they were slow to set up, so as soon as the ref blew the whistle, I had Martin touch it,” Larentowicz said.

After Castrillon was sent off with a red card in the 71st minute for a physical exchange with Dallas defender George John, the Rapids were forced to finish the match with 10 men, but that seemed to motivate them, as they carried the play for much of the next 15 minutes or so.

Larentowicz nearly tied it in stoppage time, just before the final whistle blew, but his 25-yard blast was just knocked aside by Hartman.

“He hit another ball and it was just all over the place, lower right-hand corner, lower left-hand corner, then top left corner,” Hartman said of the play. “I was just trying to stay central for as long as I could, to see where it was going to end up, and I was able to put it out.”

Dallas carried a 2-1 lead into the second half after scoring twice within 3 minutes just before halftime.

With the Rapids up 1-0, Castillo evened the contest in the 41st minute with his third goal of the season. He took a pass from Julian de Guzman and weaved his way into the middle before slotting a low 22-yard blast just inside the left goalpost.

Dallas struck again 3 minutes later when Benitez recorded his first MLS goal in his 92nd career match, including five postseason contests. A foul on Castillo by Colorado’s Drew Moor set up a Dallas free kick in the middle about 10 yards outside the penalty area and Benitez unleashed a rocket that sailed over the wall of bodies in front and curled past the diving Pickens into the upper right corner.

“FC Dallas took advantage of the mistakes we had in the last five minutes of the first half, which was disappointing because we had the game in control at that time,” Pareja said.

Colorado opened the scoring when Castrillon notched his team-leading sixth goal of the year 12 minutes in.