As the weekend is approaching here, FC Dallas heads into an important match to close out the month of May ahead of an international break as they take on the Colorado Rapids for the second time this season.
The two sides met at the beginning of the season last month, in a pretty dull scoreless draw. Here are a couple of things to watch as we go into this weekend’s game.
Do-or-die type mentality
You really never want to see a must-win scenario this year in any season. But for FC Dallas, this is absolutely a must-win given how poorly they have fared so far, not just away from home, but at home. In any typical MLS season, if you aren’t winning your home games, you tend to struggle to reach the playoffs. Right now, FC Dallas has a measly 1-0-3 record at home to go with their winless record away in six games.
So this one really does need to have a do-or-die attitude about it from the top down, even more so since it is a road game. The June FIFA window is about to hit and the club won’t have a game for a couple of weeks, and when they return they get a pretty rough gauntlet of teams both home away with games against LAFC, New England, and Minnesota.
The approach needs to be simple this weekend against the Rapids: continue to pressure the ball, create chaos in the penalty box and for the love of all things good, finish some chances.
Will Jara (finally) get going?
We’ve all made a lot about the season that Franco Jara is having so far. His one goal and one assist through six games certainly isn’t worth the $3 million price tag that he is earning in 2021. With most strikers, however, all it takes is one goal, even a penalty kick to get going. Jara needed that penalty goal last week against RSL to get going and find his momentum in from of the goal.
But the key thing on Saturday against the Rapids will be the service he gets in and around the goal. Either it needs to be better from the wings (come on Luchi, start Paxton Pomykal there and see what magic happens) or in the middle from Andres Ricaurte (who does look better with each game this season). In both cases, they need to find Jara where he is most comfortable, in the penalty box. Let him be a thorn in the Rapids’ defense in the penalty box.
No matter what, that goal last week needs to be a springboard going into the summer. Not just for Jara but for the club as they look to get out of last place in the Western Conference.
The one thing that may be surprising me the most so far this season outside of the lack of production up top, may actually be the defense. Sure, eight goals given up isn’t terrible through six games, but it isn’t going to be a good average over the course of a full season either. And while it isn’t nearly as bad as say what we’re seeing in LA with the Galaxy’s defense, or once again in Cincinnati, it is the late goals given up that you truly have to be worried over, especially given the veterans leading the group in the back.
Colorado has some quality about them up front and some faces we’re super familiar with in Michael Barrios. If the center back combination or trio gives too much attention to the Rapids’ forwards, it could leave some open space for a guy like Barrios to sneak in and do some damage against his former club.