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Downstream Game 13: Home against Dallas

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MLS: FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas Stats

2021 Record: 2-6-5 WLT, 11 points for 0.85 PPG

Goals: 14 for, 21 allowed, -7 differential

Power Rankings: FC Dallas #25 (-1), Rapids #9 (-1)

Last Result: 1-0 loss against Portland Timbers

Okay, now I am definitely repeating myself. Dallas makes for our first threepeat of the season, second at home. Third time’s the charm, right? Well, in our case, the second time was the charm. And the first wasn’t bad either! So I guess this means that we’re on track for a super charm. That’s how this works, right?

Truth is, not much has changed from Dallas since the last time we played them. They recently sold Tanner Tessmann to Venezia in Serie A for a rumored multimillion-dollar deal. Aaaaand that’s about it. They’re at the bottom of the West and have no real signs of making a playoff push anytime soon. They had one big win over New England in June, and one great win over Portland. That’s it. They’re not anything radically different and they aren’t looking all that impressive.

I can’t bring myself to talk more about Dallas. I’ve done that twice already this year. Instead, let me talk about the Rapids. Seattle Sounders, Minnesota United, and recently San Jose Earthquakes have said some enlightening things about the team. Tying the best team in the league at home is not a bad result. Three points from a good Minnesota team is also a good result. Tying San Jose was frustrating because we should have beat them, but they had to resort to cheap tactics and lots of flopping to get anything to happen. With three players missing for USMNT duty, Robin Fraser and the Burgundy Boys still managed to handle things pretty well. While the Rapids are far from invincible, we can compete, which is honestly more than we’ve been able to say the majority of the last several seasons.

The roster is also in a good spot. Michael Barrios has been an absolute steal, and has quickly catapulted himself to one of the most important players on our roster. The defenders — Danny Wilson, Auston Trusty, and Lalas Abubakar — all seem to be looking comfortable with each other on the field and any one of the three can start. The Rapids will be losing Sam Vines, but I’m happy for him. Kellyn Acosta has been great for the team, and even if he isn’t around due to USMNT duty, the midfield has been able to step up and compete.

Long-term, we still need to find a solution for left back when Vines leaves. Trusty has actually looked pretty good but that still leaves us with few options as backups for both the centerback and left back position if he’s starting there. Questions are still around our striker position, too, but we have still been scoring goals. It just happens to be more of a distributed job rather than on one or two players. Overall, we’re looking solid. I think people have been overlooking the team while we’ve been in the top third of the league basically the entire season. If we were in the East, we’d be second by PPG, above last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners.

We can’t afford to accept our position though. Teams are always looking to improve, to get better, to be more competitive. All things considered, I’m very happy with our position right now. Are there problems? Sure. No team is perfect. But nothing that makes me think we’re likely to crater like Atlanta United or Chicago Fire have. With the transfer window open, a possible Vines sale that might bring in a lot of spending money, and a lot of the season left, we’ve got the chance to accelerate and get even better. Capitalizing on that will be the key to locking ourselves into the playoffs and making a run at the MLS Cup. But, all of that starts with getting another three points from Dallas. Bring it on.