COMMERCE CITY CO - JULY 31 : Jamie Smith #20 of the Colorado Rapids gets a stiff arm to the face by Jair Benitez #5 of FC Dallas during the second half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on July 31 2010 in Commerce City Colorado. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
Wow, just ten games left in the regular season as the Colorado Rapids (25 points, 8-14-1) come to Frisco for the last of three games this season against FC Dallas (23 points, 5-11-8). Colorado won the first game 2-0 behind two first half red cards shown to FCD while Dallas broke a franchise-record losing streak in their 2-1 win in Denver last month.
Who can score first? FC Dallas and Colorado are a combined 3-18-1 when allowing the first goal this season and 0-10-1 when trailing at halftime. Whoever scores first is going to likely go a long way in deciding who wins tonight in Frisco.
Nearly unchanged lineup FCD will have the little-enjoyed luxury of naming a nearly unchanged lineup for tonight's game. Scott Sealy is on a roll and I think Julian de Guzman surely stays in the starting lineup at defensive midfield after last week's game. The only question is who starts at right back with either Hernan Pertuz or Carlos Rodriguez likely getting the nod.
Hitting the road FC Dallas hits the road for games at Vancouver, RSL and Los Angeles over the next two weeks after this game, though a win could be huge. If Vancouver fails to beat RSL tonight and Dallas wins, they could be facing the Whitecaps with a chance to cut the deficit to 5-6 points.
Keys to the game
Keeping Brek involved I think tonight could be the game that our young star re-announces his presence in MLS. I've seen signs both in Portland and in practice last week that Brek could be ready to break out. That's not to heap pressure on the young lad, but if Ferreira can feed the beast like he did in Portland, it could be a long night for the Rapids.
Don't Panic This is a must-win game for Dallas if they want to keep in the playoff race, no doubt about it. However, with the heat and possible firepower Dallas can bring off their bench, this is one where they have to be patient. 0-0 at halftime is not a disaster, but pressing too much and giving up a goal to a Colorado team that is dangerous on the counter would be devastating.
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Brian Poeschel; AR2 (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Jasen Anno
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 2.5; R: 1; pens: 0
Prediction (10-14 on the season)
It's backs against the wall time for Dallas now. With ten games left, every dropped point pushes your season closer and closer to the brink. I believe that FC Dallas is better than this Rapids team 11v11 and if Dallas can avoid a red card, they win this one with two second half goals.
2-0 FC Dallas