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Scouting Report: Revisiting the Colorado Rapids

We’ve been here before, but will the result be the same thing?

MLS: Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rapids – Take Two

When I watch Colorado play, I can’t help but be reminded of FC Dallas – and not just because Michael Barrios and Kellyn Acosta are on the field. They’ve played three different formations in the last three weeks. Like Dallas, they’ve allowed eight goals on the season. Their passing percentages are similar. The number of Key Passes is similar. The number shots... similar. The left back even gets forward in the attack. And somehow they are fifth in the West with three wins and ten points while FC Dallas is 12th.

Recent Results:

  • (4/17) Dallas 0 – 0 Colorado
  • (4/24) Colorado 1 – 3 Austin FC; Goal: Shinyashiki
  • (5/2) Vancouver 0 – 1 Colorado; Goal: Rubio
  • (5/8) Colorado 3 - 2 Minnesota; Goals: Acosta, Bassett, Wilson
  • (5/15) Colorado 3 - 1 Houston; Goals: Vines, Rubio, Bassett
  • (5/22) LAFC 2 – 1 Colorado; Goal: Barrios

Before Carlos Vela returned to lead LAFC to victory last weekend, Colorado had won three in a row. But let’s take a quick peek at Colorado’s wins. Two weeks ago, Houston played without several usual starters. The win against Minnesota – while it was an impressive comeback from a two-goal halftime deficit - preceded the Loons recently improved run of form. And Vancouver has struggled out of the gate. None of these have been statement-making wins. The Rapids have opened the season with the level of moderate success that I expected from Dallas six weeks ago. And the statistics show that.

COLvFCD stats

FC Dallas Stat Colorado
FC Dallas Stat Colorado
8 Goals Scored 9
8 Goals Against 8
54 Key Passes 58
82.20% Pass% 81.50%
78 Shots 82
30 Shots on Target 29
29 Shots Against 28
3 Penalties Against 0
2292 Passes 2083
890 Pass in Opponent’s Half 1035

When I look at the numbers, the draw on opening day seems indicative of what followed. However, the last three statistics stand out. Obviously, the difference in penalties conceded tells us that Colorado isn’t beating themselves like we are. But I also want to point out that while Dallas has more passes (and pass attempts), Colorado has more passes in the offensive zone. Dallas is possessing the ball in their own half. Colorado is moving the ball directly up the field. The results are similar in terms of shots and goals, but we know the Rapids will push forward more aggressively.

Keys to the Match:

1) Don’t give up a penalty:

One of the few places (only places?) that Dallas leads the league has been in penalties conceded. Without the three PKs, our defense suddenly looks like one of the best units in MLS, and we need to be stingy defensively while our offense figures out how to score consistently.

2) No Kellyn

Colorado will be without security blanket Kellyn Acosta who is preparing for an upcoming match against Switzerland with the rest of the USMNT. On opening day, Acosta played left back and the Rapids struggled without him in the midfield. Whether Colorado opts to play five at the back as they did last week or shift their formation again to account for Acosta’s absence, the Dallas midfield (with three in the middle if Hedges [who missed some practices this week] is unavailable for the match and forces Luchi to play four at the back) should have opportunity to dictate play.

3) Key Passes

Jack Price and Diego Rubio have led the way for the Rapids with 13 key passes each. Again, given that Kellyn Acosta will be missing, Dallas can hopefully dominate the midfield and limit Price’s opportunities to be dangerous. Similarly, we need to be aware that Colorado has seven different scorers this season, and Rubio is at least as likely to find a teammate on the move as he is to shoot himself.

Projected Starters:

Diego Rubio – Michael Barrios

Cole Bassett - Jack Price - Andre Shinyashiki

Sam Vines – Aaron Trusty – Danny Wilson – Lalas Abubakar – Keegan Rosenberry

William Yarbrough

Availability Report:

Out: Steve Beitashour, Kellyn Acosta

Questionable: Younes Namli, Braian Galvan, Jonathon Lewis