Matchday number twenty for the 2016 season, and it’s a doosy. The Rapids haven’t had a game this big since 2013. That was the last time they played a game with implications for a trophy, as the Rapids collected six points in four October games to barely slip into the playoffs. Tonight the Rapids square off against the best team in MLS, FC Dallas, who have collected 40 points on the strength of a 12-4-6 (WTL) record. Colorado sits only 3 points behind as a result of their torrid play this season, holding a 10-7-2 record.
Since this epic battle holds the drama worthy of a Shakespearean drama, I have annotated the ‘What to Watch’ with quotes from the Bard.
What to Watch For
1) Revenge should have no bounds. - Hamlet
The last time Dallas and Colorado squared off, it was in US Open Cup combat. The Rapids were eliminated 2-1 in that game, so the Burgundy Boys should be looking for recompense. The Rapid also face their former coach, Oscar Pareja, who abandoned the team shortly before the 2014 season to go off to Dallas. Add to that an Augustin Jara tackle-from-behind on Dillon Serna that snapped his ACL, and there are significant grounds for a vengeance—fueled battle.
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg,
Which, hatch'd, would as his kind grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell
- Julius Caesar
2) Tired with all these. - Sonnet 66
FC Dallas played a mid-week fixture against the Houston Dynamo in 90 degree heat and humidity. Dallas started their regular lineup, including Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo, Maxi Urruti, and Walker Zimmerman. So we can expect either tired legs at altitude, or a significant number of Dallas bench-players filling in for tired legs.
Tir’d with all these,
from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die,
I leave my love alone.
3) Put your shield(s) before your heart(s). - Coriolanus
It isn’t a must win, since Colorado still has 14 games after this one with which to accumulate points, as well as a September clash against Dallas at Toyota Park. But this is a six-point game for Supporters Shield- the ability to hurt Dallas’ chances and help your own in one match. The Rapids haven’t picked up a trophy since winning MLS Cup in 2010, and have never won Supporters Shield or the Lamar Hunt Trophy of the US Open Cup. The team should feel extra motivation for this game, beyond the normal motivation of a regular season game. There’s a little bit more on the line tonight.
Now put your shields before your hearts and fight
With hearts more proof than shields.
Advance, my fellows!
Dillon Serna (OUT, ACL tear), Sean St Ledger (OUT, Knee injury), Jermaine Jones (QUESTIONABLE, right leg injury)
Zach Lloyd (OUT, concussion)
Suspended Upon Next Yellow for Accumulation
Axel Sjoberg and Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado), Atiba Harris (Dallas)
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 23 July 2016 at 7:00 PM MDT
Venue: Dick's Sporting Goods Park--Commerce City, CO
TV: Altitude Sports, MLS Extra Kick
Stream: MLS Live,
Radio: Altitude Sports Radio, AM 950
Weather at Kickoff: 82 degrees, 15% chance of rain