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FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids: Matchday 4

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 26: Daniel Hernandez #2 of FC Dallas kicks the ball past Sam Cronin #4 of the San Jose Earthquakes at Pizza Hut Park on March 26, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
FRISCO, TX - MARCH 26: Daniel Hernandez #2 of FC Dallas kicks the ball past Sam Cronin #4 of the San Jose Earthquakes at Pizza Hut Park on March 26, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
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FC Dallas will have their fourth shot at winning their first game of the season tonight at Pizza Hut Park in their first meeting with Colorado since the 2010 MLS Cup in Toronto. 

Game notes:

Two teams headed in different directions 3-0, 9 points, 8 goals for, 2 goals against. No matter who Colorado has played that's pretty damn impressive. 0-2-1, 1 point, 1 goal for, 5 goals against. That's an ugly record for FC Dallas right now and obviously something they want to change. You can make a big statement by giving Colorado their first loss of the season.

Home sweet home While UZ may have not thought it was a big deal in our 3 questions, I think people shouldn't discount the fact that while Schellas said this was the best week of training this season for FCD, Colorado has really had just two training sessions to prepare for FC Dallas. It's certainly lucky for FCD to get the Rapids on a Friday night after the Rapids played on Sunday just last week. 

Keep reading for officials, notes, keys to the game, links and a prediction

What lineup will we see? It has been absolutely banged into the heads of those around the team to not give away too much. What I saw in practice on Wednesday suggested a few changes, but what is seen on Wednesday and what is seen on Friday can be a big difference. I just hope it's back to Jair-Ugo-John-Loyd. Everything will fall into place if that's the back line. 

Getting the offense going It was all offense in the practice on Wednesday and the emphasis was attacking down the wings, not that that is anything new for Dallas. The biggest question is who will step up for Dallas tonight and take the burden off Ferreira. It's time for the stars to step up for Dallas and have their names be counted. Who is going to be that guy? 

Conor Casey out The big American isn't going to play for Colorado tonight...that's obviously a good thing for Dallas, but don't discount Caleb Folan or Omar Cummings....Amarikawa is someone I've never been impressed with. 

Keys to the game

Wingers must come ready to work Stopping Jamie Smith and Sanna Nyassi while still working on getting forward themselves is going to be a big ask for Fabian Castillo and Marvin Chavez. Another reason why I feel that Zach Loyd needs to start this game out wide on the right is that I feel his defensive capabilities will work much better in stopping Jamie Smith. 

Defensive cohesion Schellas talked a lot about it on Wednesday and with Folan and Cummings up top for Colorado it's essential that whoever the center back pairing is be on the same page. The back four is only as good as the unit plays. 

Stats

REFEREE: Paul Ward. SAR (bench): Joe Fletcher; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Armando Villarreal

MLS Career: 27 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 8; pens: 6

INJURY REPORT: FC DALLAS – OUT: DF Kyle Davies (L ankle surgery recovery); DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jair Benitez (L hamstring strain) …

COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); FW Conor Casey (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); DF Kosuke Kimura (L hand strain)

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (51 meetings): FC Dallas 24 wins (2 shootout), 84 goals … Rapids 17 wins (1 shootout), 63 goals … Ties 10

AT DALLAS (20 meetings): FC Dallas 17 wins (2 shootout), 49 goals … Rapids 5 wins (1 shootout), 26 goals … Ties 4

Links

Big D Soccer: 3 Questions with Burgundy Wave | Practice Live | Behind Enemy Lines | What's your lineup? 

FCDallas.com: FC Dallas calm despite needing first win

MLSSoccer.com: Official game guide

Colorado RapidsCasey injury stretches Rapids depth

FCDallas.com: Galindo relishing new opportunity with FC Dallas

SMU Daily Campus:Legendary coach Hyndman now success for FC Dallas

Dallas Morning News: Kevin Hartman chat recap 

Soccer America: Dallas down, Rapids rolling for Finals rematch

Prediction

Everything I saw out of Dallas at practice suggested this is a focused team ready to play their best game of the season. However, a lot is going to depend on how the team sheet looks. I can't predict a Dallas win if Brek Shea is a starting center back against an experienced, strong attacking team like Colorado. It sounds harsh, but I'm just not sure Dallas is at a place yet where they can win this game. They'll get there, but Colorado wins this one pushing people closer to the panic button. 

Colorado Rapids 2 FC Dallas 1