FC Dallas-Rapids Preview
Oscar Pareja won all three matchups against the Colorado Rapids last year.
This season, his former club seems to have his number slightly.
Pareja makes his latest return to Colorado on Friday night with his FC Dallas club mired in a 283-minute scoreless drought in MLS play and a five-match winless run.
The coach guided Colorado (2-4-8) between 2012-13 before leaving for FC Dallas. His new club was perfect in this series in 2014, including a 1-0 victory in his return to Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Oct. 18.
Two 2015 meetings have seen the Rapids win 4-0 in Texas on April 10 before a 1-1 draw April 24 in Colorado.
FC Dallas (6-5-4) is 0-3-2 in its last five MLS matches and hasn't scored since Matt Hedges tallied in a 2-1 loss at Montreal on May 23. This match is the last of five straight on the road.
"Obviously Oscar's going to be back here for the second time this year," Colorado defender Drew Moor said. "We have to be ruthless regardless of their travel schedule, their run of form, we have to make it about us."
Dallas will have more players available than it did in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Seattle. Tesho Akindele, Moises Hernandez, Atiba Harris and Kellyn Acosta will all return from duty with their respective national teams, though Je-Vaughn Watson is away with Jamaica.
Akindele has three goals and will complement Blas Perez, who has a team-high five. Perez was sent off the last time these teams met with an elbow to Moor's neck in the 59th minute.
"Regardless of their run of form, they're still a very dangerous team, a very good team," Moor said. "They've got some of their players back from international duty."
The Rapids are eager to end a three-match winless run (0-2-1) in their first MLS game since a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake on June 7.
They will welcome back midfielder Dillon Serna for his first league match since May 2 after he was away with the United States under-23 national team. Serna, who has come off the bench in five of his six appearances, is eager to do whatever he can to get onto the field.
"That's one of the things that I can bring to the team is that I can play multiple positions. I am pretty versatile there," Serna said. "I don't particularly think that I am a defender, but if that is what I am going to play on the field, then I'm going to be a defender."
Like Perez for Dallas, Colorado features a top scorer from Panama in Gabriel Torres. The forward had a goal and an assist in the first meeting, though he hasn't added to his team-high four goals in his last five games.
This is Colorado's only home game this month.
"Especially going away for the next week and some difficult games, we're going to put a lot of energy and do everything we can to come away with three points," coach Pablo Mastroeni said.