Rapids-FC Dallas Preview
Despite failing to score for the first time this season en route to suffering its first loss last weekend, FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez was encouraged by the way his team played down the stretch.
Building on that performance Saturday against Colorado will have its challenges with goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez being one of three Dallas starters unavailable due to international duty. The club won't get any sympathy from the winless Rapids, however, as the only Colorado player to have scored a goal in its last two matches - Diego Rubio - will be playing in friendlies for Chile.
Facing a Columbus team that plays a similar ball control-style of offense last Saturday in its first road match of 2019, Dallas (1-1-1) quickly found itself facing its first deficit of the season. Crew defender Gaston Sauro scored in the 10th minute and the goal stood up as Dallas fell 1-0.
The Toros managed just two shots on goal, but they still enjoyed a 55-45 edge in possession percentage and dominated play late before falling short of netting the equalizer.
"Once we adjusted a few things we were able to get on the ball more and connect our own passes and then be dangerous," Luchi Gonzalez said. "It was too little, too late type of feeling, so still disappointing in that way but I can be confident that the way we ended that game is going to give us motivation to start the next one."
The next one will begin with Jimmy Maurer liking making his season debut in goal after Jesse Gonzalez was summoned to join the U.S. national team to replace injured Columbus keeper Zack Steffen. Gonzalez has surrendered two goals, making him one of just three goalies that has played every minute of their team's first three games and yielded fewer than three scores.
Dallas will also be without a pair of midfielders, with Bryan Acosta representing Honduras and Carlos Gruezo playing for Ecuador.
One silver lining for the Toros is Colorado (0-1-2) will be without one of its most dangerous strikers in Rubio.
Rubio scored in the 54th minute last Sunday against Sporting Kansas City to end Colorado's 144-minute scoring drought. The Rapids were on the verge of recording their first victory until Johan Blomberg picked up his second yellow card in the 87th minute and KC's Johnny Russell converted a free kick a minute later to send the game to a 1-all draw.
"It's obviously disappointing," midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. "We dropped two points there at the end."
Colorado's offense once again stalled, managing a season-low two shots on goal and the Rapids lost the possession percentage for the third time in as many games, with KC holding a 61-39 advantage.
"I'd like us to be a little bit more adventurous in terms of possessing the ball," Feilhaber said, "and through possession, creating some opportunities as opposed to only looking for the counter-attack or the quick strike."
The Rapids have just one loss in their last 10 league matchups with Dallas, going 3-1-6, and these clubs met in a memorable 2018 regular-season finale with Colorado rallying for a 2-1 win. The Rapids' Cole Bassett tied the score in the 80th minute and Tommy Smith headed in the winner three minutes later to deny Dallas a first-round bye.
Dallas' season subsequently ended in the knockout round three days later.
Updated March 22, 2019