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Rapids-FC Dallas Preview
Both Luchi Gonzalez and Robin Fraser hope their preseason work will bear fruit as the new MLS season begins with FC Dallas versus the Colorado Rapids.
Dallas and Colorado each made the playoffs in 2020, having finished sixth and fifth in the Western Conference respectively, but their coaches identified room for improvement.
Only when the campaign gets under way on Saturday will Gonzalez and Fraser truly know how effective their tweaks have been, though.
Gonzalez said: "We wanted to improve some things tactically this offseason and this preseason that weren't good enough last season - obviously with the new players and the new personnel, as well, to complement that.
"It's all things that are, I think, putting us in a good position to compete and reach our best.
"We want to initiate that well and it all starts on Saturday."
Coronavirus ravaged the Rapids' season, but they recovered to win their final three regular season games and make the playoffs by virtue of their points-per-game record.
"This is a young hungry group. They're always excited to play," Fraser said. "They've really come back with a great attitude based on how we finished last year and they've really put in a lot of work in the preseason.
"It's a group that I appreciate greatly because they do everything that you ask them to do and try to do it to the best of their ability.
"They've put in a good six weeks at this point and they're excited to get going."
FC Dallas - Franco Jara
Only three teams in the West scored fewer goals than Dallas in the regular season in 2020. Former Argentina forward Jara accounted for seven of their goals - more than any team-mate - yet he missed 10 of his 15 'big chances', from which Opta would expect a player to score. Jara must be more clinical.
Colorado Rapids - Michael Barrios
Another player to miss 10 'big chances' for Dallas last season, scoring only once, was Barrios. He was subsequently traded to Colorado, but 41 chances created - ranking 11th in MLS - showed his worth. He will now look to make a big impact against his former club on his Rapids bow.
- FC Dallas won their lone meeting with Colorado last season 4-1 at home in September. Santiago Mosquera scored a hat-trick for Dallas in that game, the first player to score a hat-trick in an MLS match between these teams since Bobby Rhine in 2002.
- Dallas have gone a joint-record 11 consecutive MLS season openers without a loss (W8 D3, tied with Real Salt Lake), having not lost their first match of a campaign since 2009.
- Colorado finished the 2020 regular season winning away against Houston and Portland, the Rapids' first back-to-back away wins since April 2014. The Rapids have not won three straight away regular season matches since April and May 2000.
- Ryan Hollingshead scored four of Dallas' final 10 regular season goals in 2020. Hollingshead's 10 goals over the past two seasons are more than any other MLS defender since the start of the 2019 campaign.
- Colorado scored six goals in their three-match winning streak to end the 2020 regular season, with six different players scoring those goals. In fact, only one player (Andre Shinyashiki - three goals) scored more than one of the Rapids' final 11 goals of the regular season.
Updated April 16, 2021