BENITEZ FACE - Layne Murdoch
The 2013 MLS campaign will commence on Saturday, March 2, with MLS First Kick. The Colorado Rapids will travel to FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas to take on FC Dallas in the season opener for both clubs.
There have been quite a few changes for both the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas during the off-season as both clubs prepare for the 2013 season opener. In a busy off-season, the Rapids have added the likes of Edson Buddle, Diego Calderon, Nick LaBrocca, Kevin Harbottle and Danny Mwanga. While FC Dallas lost star player Brek Shea to Stoke City of the English Premier League, they added former striker Kenny Cooper and the talented Eric Hassli.
Both clubs will be looking to improve on disappointing campaigns in 2012. Colorado finished 11-19-4 while FC Dallas were 9-13-12. The 2010 MLS Cup finalists both missed out on postseason qualification and underperformed in a stacked Western Conference.
The Rapids hierarchy have complete trust in Oscar Pareja's philosophy and his continual insistence that the club can be successful in the 4-3-3. Pareja has raved about the transfer of Kevin Harbottle from Chilean power Universidad Catolica and will expect Edson Buddle to shoulder a lot of the goal-scoring duties. Drew Moor and Diego Calderon will most likely be paired in central defense while captain Pablo Mastroeni has returned for his final swan song.
Many of the Rapids new acquisitions will be on display on Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium as Martin Rivero suffered an injury to his foot and Jamie Castrillon recently had knee surgery. However, Edson Buddle will not feature against Dallas, but is aiming to make his debut on March 9th against Philadelphia. The Rapids will look to start 2013 on positive note with a result in Dallas.