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Rapids vs. FC Dallas - Three Keys to the Game

This pic is just loaded with DO NOT WANT
This pic is just loaded with DO NOT WANT

This is the 'rubber game' as it were between the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas, both duking it out near the bottom of the table but, because this is MLS, both still very much in the mix for a playoff spot if some bounces go their way. Colorado took the last game in Dallas, but that was mostly due to the Hoops going down to 9 men after two ill-advised red cards.

Dallas then took game two of the series with a comeback 2-1 victory at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, one of several such collapses that the Rapids partook in during the horrid month of July. Now for game three, the two teams are back in Dallas but it's unlikely that the Rapids will be getting quite as lucky with errant red cards as they did in that first match.

Can Colorado win this game? Certainly, here's how...

Keep Fabian Castillo Out: Fabian Castillo was the breakout star for FC Dallas the last time the two teams played, putting up a goal and an assist during the comeback. His terrorizing of the Rapids was largely due to the fact that nobody ever seemed to be marking him very well, with most of the focus being spent on Brek Shea and David Ferreira, the guys that the team knew they needed to mark.

Well, Jeff Larentowicz showed last game and has showed before that he knows how to mark Ferreira if needed and Brek Shea, if played up top, is rarely much of a threat as long as the defense stays with him. That leaves Castillo, and that means that somebody needs to keep an eye on him, even if it means someone like Luis Zapata can't make runs forward quite as often as he'd like to any more.

Carry That Swagger: We saw something against Real Salt Lake that we hadn't seen in a very long time from the Rapids -- a little bit of swagger. It wasn't too much, but it was enough to make the Rapids take on tackles they weren't taking before, taking shots they weren't taking and making passes they weren't making during that awful losing streak. This team wins games when confidence is up, we've seen that a lot this season. They need to keep the swagger going for the rest of the season as much as possible to push themselves to a playoff spot.

Stop Them From Scoring, I Guess: I might as well just make this one of the keys to the game every single week until the Rapids can finally nip that 2-14-1 wins record when the other team scores a goal in the bud. The Rapids have done very well this year when shutting the other team out, but most teams seem to do pretty well when they shut the other team out. Go figure, eh?