Rested FC Dallas awaits resurgent Rapids

FC Dallas will be rested and ready, if not at full strength, after another open date when it hosts the surging, new-look Colorado Rapids on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

FC Dallas has had a hard time building consistency because it has had two open dates in the young season. FC Dallas (1-0-2) played games on March 3, 18 and 24, the last of which produced a 1-1 home draw with Portland.

“This year, we’ve had an off-weekend every other weekend, and it’s been kind of weird,” FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges said. “It is a breaking of the rhythm of getting us games. But at the same time, it’s something we’ve just had to deal with.”

FC Dallas is one of just two remaining undefeated teams in MLS after the first five weeks of the season.

FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja put his side through an 11-on-11 intrasquad scrimmage last week during its open date and said he got what he wanted from the competition.

“I wanted to move the team a little bit,” Pareja told the Dallas Morning News. “I wanted to shake the thing up, also, in some positions, not just with the model, but also with the players so we can analyze some sequences, frequencies, things like that that show what other things we can do.”

Midfielder Roland Lamah has scored five goals in his last four league appearances for FC Dallas, as many as he had in his previous 18 matches combined.

FC Dallas is one of the best home teams in MLS and unbeaten in its past nine home league matches (three wins, six draws). It has only lost twice in its last 22 MLS home games (11 wins, nine draws) and has conceded just three goals in its last six home league matches.

Colorado heads to north Texas on the heels of a dominating 3-0 home victory over Philadelphia on March 31 in which Dominique Badji scored his first professional hat trick and became the first Rapids player since Sanna Nyassi in July 2011 with three goals in a match.

The Rapids revamped their squad after a tough 2017 season that saw the club miss the playoffs and finish second to last in the Western Conference, turning the side over to former New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson.

Hudson is in the midst of installing a new philosophy in Colorado. His efforts and the side’s acceptance of his ideas are already paying dividends.

“Everyone is pleased with their work,” Hudson said after the win over Philadelphia. “It’s been a culmination of many weeks of hard, progression and we’re pleased we all got our rewards.

“Everyone is focused on improving. We’re still a team in transition, still a team building, and we’ve focused on the next game and improving.”

Colorado has only won once in its last 19 road matches (16 losses, two draws) dating to the start of the 2017 season. The Rapids have scored just eight goals in those 19 games and have failed to score multiple goals in a match during that time.

FC Dallas’ injury report lists midfielders Kellyn Acosta (sports hernia surgery), Brandon Servania (compartment syndrome), Paxton Pomykal (right meniscus surgery) and forward Jesus Ferreira (core muscle repair surgery) as out, and goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez (right knee) and defender Anton Nedyalkov (undisclosed) as questionable.

The Rapids will be without defender Kortne Ford (left MCL sprain) and forward Shkelzen Gashi (calf). Defenders Danny Wilson (undisclosed) and Marlon Hairston (undisclosed) are listed as questionable.

FC Dallas owns a 32-22 all-time advantage over Colorado with 16 draws. FC Dallas has won 23 of the 36 matches the sides have played in north Texas (with five draws), including a 2-0 win over the Rapids in the most recent matchup on Sept. 27, 2017.