Rapids-FC Dallas Preview

Colorado Rapids first-year coach Oscar Pareja has a long history

with FC Dallas, spending the majority of his career with the club

in multiple roles.

In his first trip back as a visitor, Pareja is more concerned

about Colorado ending its slump.

The Rapids seek to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss Sunday

night against Dallas, which is unbeaten in five home matches.

Pareja began his MLS career with New England in 1998 before

being traded to Dallas later that season, ending his playing career

with the team in 2005.

He was an assistant coach for Dallas from 2005-07, left for one

year to help coach the U.S. under-17 national team, then returned

as the team’s director of player development through last

season.

Pareja, who took the Colorado head coaching job Jan. 5, said he

expects to have some emotion about facing his former team, but his

main concern is getting the Rapids (4-5-0) back on track. They fell

2-1 at New England on Wednesday, their fourth straight road

loss.

“Honestly, I haven’t had time to think about it,” Pareja told

the team’s official website. “I’m approaching this game the same

way I’ve approached the first nine games. It’s simply a game with

the same importance as the previous ones and the ones ahead. I

haven’t had a chance to think about that extra component.”

Colorado has dropped four of five overall and will look to avoid

the club’s first five-game road losing streak since April 26-June

28, 2008.

“It’s a new opportunity for the team to get an important

result,” Pareja said. “I think the group is playing well. We are

building and are in a process that continues maturing.”

The Rapids are 0-2-1 in their last three at Dallas, last winning

there Sept. 4, 2008. Ending that winless streak likely won’t come

easy against a Dallas team that is 3-0-2 on its home turf this

season.

Brek Shea scored his second penalty kick in as many games as

Dallas (3-3-3) played Los Angeles to a 1-all draw last Saturday. He

exited in the 76th minute, though, because of a nagging injury that

bothered him through a stretch of three games in eight days.

“I’ve been fighting turf toe since (April 21),” Shea told the

league’s official website. “We’ve had the traveling and three games

in a week so it finally caught up to me.”

Shea and his teammates got some rest over the past week but now

face another rough stretch, with Sunday marking the first of three

games in seven days.

“It’s part of the game, part of the season,” defender George

John said. “Every team has to go through it, so we’re just going to

have to be mentally prepared to have three matches in a short

period of time.”

Coach Schellas Hyndman has been strategically working practices

throughout the week to help his team be prepared for Sunday’s match

but also well-rested.

“I not only have to give the guys a chance to catch their legs,

but I’ve also got to save their legs for the games coming up,”

Hyndman said.

The teams split two meetings last season after Colorado beat

Dallas 2-1 for the 2010 MLS Cup.