FC Dallas looks to end slide vs. Rapids (Sep 27, 2017)
The road ahead of FC Dallas is not a daunting one, but the swooning defending Supporters Shield champion must go to work and win matches now, beginning its contest with the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
FC Dallas (9-9-11, 38 points) hasn't won in 10 matches (0-6-4) and remains in eighth place in the Western Conference, one point and -- just as important -- two wins behind sixth-place San Jose. Dallas hasn't won since July 22 and needs a victory against the Rapids (7-17-5, 26 points), who are at the bottom of MLS in wins and points.
The 10-game skid is its longest such since an 11-game swoon in 2013. The club record 13-game winless streak was set in 2012.
FC Dallas heads home after it was manhandled by Minnesota United FC 4-1 on Saturday, giving up the final four goals after taking an early lead and playing the final nine minutes of the match a man down.
FC Dallas struck first in a match for the first time since July 1 when Tesho Akindele scored against Minnesota. FC Dallas will need to do the same this time around, and with the urgency higher than ever before.
"We started the game with a lot of intensity and created a lot of options to score -- and then suddenly the game just changed," FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said after the loss to Minnesota United. "It started a rollercoaster for us."
With only five games remaining, FC Dallas still has a defined path to make the postseason. But if it continues to leave points on the table, it could be the first time in Pareja's tenure that his team misses the playoffs.
"I know these players are going to keep looking for answers and looking for a way that will put us into the playoffs," Pareja said. "This is a moment where I have to come and say this is something that needs to be fixed from me. I'll just keep fighting with them. It's what it is. The game is like that, and we have to have the character to face it and say that we are going to keep fighting."
Colorado has lost five of its last seven matches (1-5-1), including a 2-1 defeat at Vancouver on Saturday. The Rapids are 1-12-2 on the road, but Saturday's match was noteworthy for Colorado because of the effort it put forward.
The Rapids out-possessed Vancouver for much of the second half, earning a 57-43 percent edge for the game but never found the tying goal. Colorado had nearly as many shots as the Western Conference frontrunners (14-13) but placed only four on target to the Whitecaps' eight.
"I couldn't be prouder of the players -- this might have been our best performance of the season with the ball," Rapids interim coach Steve Cooke said. "Sometimes you don't get what you deserve -- we should have earned at least a point if not the win and the guys are devastated because they gave everything they had and got little in return.
"We want to be the aggressor -- we want to be the attacking team and we needed to be going forward. We wanted a few more crosses than we got (against Vancouver) but that's not the way the match played out."
Colorado will be playing its sixth match away from home in its past seven outings. Wednesday's match is the first of two contests in the next 11 days between FC Dallas and Colorado.
"We need to recover quickly and get ready for Wednesday night," Cooke said. "This is not a time to put our heads down and feel sorry for ourselves. We have the goal of winning the next game -- we can't afford to look much further than that."