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Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting Colorado Rapids

Colorado Rapids enter Toyota Stadium just three points behind FC Dallas. What is Colorado bringing the table to tie FCD in standings, and what does Dallas need to do to move six points ahead?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rapids sit at the heels of FC Dallas in Western Conference standings.

With only three points separating the two squads, it is a crucial three points for FCD in this Saturday's match.

Injury Report

The Rapids aren't missing too many men in their lineup. Colorado only has defender Brian Mullan out with long-term injury to his knee. They did return two players from injury to the pitch last week, but wait to return a third.

Out: D Shane O'Neil (knee sprain)

Probable Lineup

In an interesting lineup that is no stranger to Dallas, Rapids' manager Pablo Mastroeni will align his men in a 4-2-3-1 formation after playing in the classic 4-4-2 style in the two teams' last meeting in June.

GK: Clint Irwin; LB: Marc Burch; CB: Drew Moor, Marvell Wynee; RB: Christopher Klute; LDM: Jose Mari; RDM: Nick LaBrocca; LM: Dillon Powers; CAM: Vicente Sanchez; RM: Dillon Serna; F: Deshorn Brown

Key Matchup

Zach Loyd vs. Deshorn Brown. FC Dallas shutout Chivas USA's stellar striker last Sunday and will have their hands full with another natural striker. Brown leads the Rapids in goals, shots and shots on goal with 7, 72, 26, respectively. Last meeting, Brown was able to notch a goal past Raul Fernandez inside the six-yard-box. With Loyd probably making a shift to center back, he'll need to cover Brown's runs and not allow him to so easily find room inside the eighteen.

Keys to Three Points

Cut off the wings. The Dillon boys do damage on the wings for Colorado, more so Powers. He makes his return to North Texas - a native of Plano - and wouldn't want anything more than to make a move or two on that left side. He leads the team in assists with six. He will be searching for curling crosses to find its way to Brown, Sanchez and Serna.

Feed Fabian. It's great to see Fabian Castillo back in MLS action after a suspension kept him out of most matches in July. Castillo is one of the most key players up-top for FCD. This is his first regular season game back at Toyota Stadium since his suspension, so why not show out and make the home crowd happy? Dallas needs to make great use of him on the outside by sending balls to the corner for him, which will open options for Castillo to attack goal for a shot or pace a ball to find Tesho Akindele or Blas Perez.

Center mids make moves. It'll be a heavily populated midfield for Colorado. As center midfielders, Victor Ulloa and Adam Moffat will need to set the tone and keep the ball in FCD possession in the midfield and open up attack. Moffat's performance Sunday was nothing more than mediocre, but against a better team Saturday, he'll need to be that defensive threat and compliment Ulloa. Ulloa just needs to continue doing what he has been recently by working the ball to his outside midfields or looking for open spaces in the attacking-third.