Saturday, October 1, 2011
FCD visits Rapids, looks to curb shutout skid
By ESPN.com news services
After meeting in last season's MLS Cup, FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids are in control of the top two wild-card spots for this year's postseason. The playoffs, however, are probably the last thing either team is thinking about.
Coming off yet another shutout defeat, Dallas hopes to avoid losing four consecutive league games for the first time in seven years Saturday night when it visits a Rapids team that is winless in seven weeks.
FC Dallas (13-10-7) owns an eight-point advantage over D.C. -- the last team out -- but did nothing to solidify its playoff hopes in September. After defeating Sporting KC 3-2 on Aug. 27, the club was outscored 4-0 in losing its last three matches. This is the first time since Aug. 12-30, 2006, that Dallas has suffered three consecutive shutout losses.
"There's no way it's going to last forever," midfielder Ricardo Villar told FC Dallas' official website. "It's incredible, it's too much already."
Dallas, which has just one victory in its last seven games after a 5-1-2 run, has had plenty of chances during its embarrassing skid. It had 17 shots last weekend and has outshot opponents 52-33 over its 270-minute scoreless drought.
"It cannot be that we have that many chances and none of them go our way," Villar said. "We've got to start getting goals, it's on us. It's on the forwards; it's on the midfielders."
Dallas, which hasn't lost four straight MLS games since May 8-29, 2004, hopes to find its offense against a Rapids team which has allowed at least one goal in six straight matches. Only one of Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens' six shutouts on the season have come in the last 13 games.
In their first meeting since Colorado's victory in the 2010 MLS Cup, Dallas defeated the Rapids 3-0 at home on April 8. Although Dallas didn't seem to have much trouble scoring, two of those goals came from reigning league MVP David Ferreira, who has been out since April 23 with a broken leg.
The Rapids (10-9-12) are four points behind Dallas and three up on New York for the final wild-card spot with three contests remaining. Colorado has only managed to gain two points in its last five matches, however, having gone 0-3-2 since beating San Jose 2-1 on Aug. 13.
Although the Rapids are sliding, they were able to snap a three-game skid last Saturday with a 1-all draw against the Earthquakes.
"This stops the rock," Colorado coach Gary Smith said of ending the losing streak. "It instills some pride again."
The Rapids' only goal against San Jose came in the 71st minute, when Drew Moor scored on a rebound off a shot by Jeff Larentowicz.
Colorado hasn't had as much trouble scoring lately as Dallas but it has experienced a sudden dry spell, tallying four goals in five matches. Prior to this winless stretch, the Rapids had recorded eight straight multigoal games, tallying 19 total.