Rolling Rapids Set to Host FC Dallas Saturday Night!

DENVER (ColoradoRapids.com) - Fresh off their Opening Night 3-1 victory over the Columbus Crew the Rapids are set to host Western Conference rivals FC Dallas this Saturday night at Invesco Field; kickoff is at 7:00pm.

In the last meeting between the 2 clubs the Rapids ended Dallas' season bouncing them out of the 2005 playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinals.

For the full match preview of Saturday's match including projected lineups the latest injury report miscellaneous game notes broadcast information head-to-head stats and more visit the Rapids MatchUp Page by CLICKING HERE.

This game also features the Rapids' "Student Night" promotion with 1/2 priced tickets for high school & college students! All high school and college students can take advantage of the special rate of 50% off ticket prices to this game only by calling the Rapids at 303-825-GOAL or showing their student ID at the box office on Saturday!

Also taking place on Saturday is the Spring Junior Rapids Cheerleaders Cheer & Dance Camp! Your kids can get the chance to learn exclusive cheer or dance routines pregame with the Rapids Cheerleaders and then perform with them on the field at halftime! For full details on this event and to find out how to register CLICK HERE.

And don't forget to get to the stadium early for the Centennial Firm supporters' club pregame tailgate! Join the Rapids' faithful in the Rapids tent in parking lot C before the game for food and drinks and to get psyched up for the game! For more info. on the pregame tailgate CLICK HERE.

Tickets are still available for this Rapids home game but are selling quickly! If you haven't already gotten your game tickets for this match you can do so online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Rapids at (303) 825-GOAL.

The Colorado Rapids look forward to seeing all fans out at Invesco Field for the game this Saturday night!

MLSNet.com Match Preview

COLORADO RAPIDS vs FC DALLAS
INVESCO FIELD at MILE HIGH Denver Colo.
7 p.m. MT
TV: MLS Direct Kick Package
April 15 2006 (WEEK 3) / MLS Game #16

A year ago FC Dallas had the best of the Colorado Rapids during the regular season - until they met in the Western Conference Semifinals when the Rapids advanced to the conference title game after a victory on penalty kicks when they finished level on aggregate over 210 minutes.

Each team posted quality victories a week ago the Rapids their first of the year against Columbus while FC Dallas won in come-from-behind fashion for the second week running to remain perfect on the young campaign.

REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): Steven Davidson; JAR (opposite): Jose Corro; 4th: Ben Chouaf
MLS Career: 71 games; FC/gm: 32.9; Y/gm: 4.1; R: 10; pens: 31
MLS 2006: first game
Games involving Rapids: P12 W3 L4 T5; FC/gm: 32.3; Y/gm: 4.7; R: 2; pens: 6
Games involving FC Dallas: P9 W3 L4 T2; FC/gm: 36.7; Y/gm: 4.1; R: 2; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT:
COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: Colin Clark (R knee sprain); GK Matt Jordan (lower back); DOUBTFUL: MF Dedi Ben-Dayan (L hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: MF Clint Mathis (right knee); DF Matt Crawford (left hamstring) ...
FC DALLAS - OUT: FW Carlos Ruiz (R hamstring strain); DF Alex Yi (R hamstring strain); GK Jeff Cassar (R hip); MF Richard Mulrooney (R ACL)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (36 meetings): Rapids 14 wins (1 shootout) 48 goals ... FC Dallas 17 wins (2 shootout) 61 goals ... 5 draws
IN DENVER: (18 meetings): Rapids 10 wins (0 shootout) 30 goals ... FC Dallas 5 wins (0 shootout) 27 goals ... 3 draws

This is the first of four meetings between the clubs this season the first of two in Denver. Their first meeting this season at Pizza Hut Park is set for June 24 then they meet again in Frisco in the next encounter set for Aug. 5. The final league meeting is set for the Mile High City on Aug. 30.

LAST YEAR (Regular Season):
4/9: COL 0 DAL 0
5/18: DAL 2 COL 1 (O'Brien 61; Ruiz 77 - Peguero 12)
6/25: COL 1 DAL 3 (Gonzalez 30 - Pitchkolan 13; Rhine 85; Thompson 88)
10/8: DAL 0 COL 0

FC Dallas won the season series last year winning once in each city with the other two meetings resulting in scoreless draws. The Hoops win came at the Cotton Bowl; their only league meeting at Pizza Hut Park ended without goals.

The teams then met in the Western Conference Semifinals last year with both matches ending in draws a scoreless draw in Denver in the first leg then a wild 2-2 draw after 120 minutes in the return match in Frisco. The Rapids then advanced to the conference championship on penalty kicks.

The Dallas victory in Denver last year was the first time a team had won on the road in the series since June 16 2001 a 6-3 Dallas win at Mile High Stadium. The home team then came away with points from the next 14 matches before the FCD victory.

Coaches records:
Fernando Clavijo vs. DAL: P9 W2 L4 D3 ...
Colin Clarke v COL: P9 W4 L1 D4

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids opened the home section of the 2006 season with a reversal of fortune defeating the Columbus Crew 3-1 at Invesco Field last weekend. The Rapids have three points after two matches tied for second in the Western Conference with Chivas USA and Houston Dynamo three behind division-leading FC Dallas.

LAST MATCH
-The Rapids overcame an early deficit before winning for the first time on the season while keeping Sigi Schmid still searching for his first victory in charge of the Crew.
-The Crew were full value for their money in the early exchanges and took the lead after just 10 minutes as Chad Marshall volleyed home a Danny Szetela free kick.
-But the Rapids began to re-assert their will on the game and drew level by halftime as Terry Cooke put in a nice cross from a good combination and found Jovan Kirovski who headed home in spectacular diving fashion (34).
-After the break the home side took charge. Kyle Beckerman hit for his second goal in as many matches five minutes following the restart taking a corner knocked back from Cooke and again hitting the back of the net from long range.
-Cooke then contributed his third assist of the contest finding Fabrice Noel with a cross for the young Haitian to head home with a dive and seal the full points for the Rapids.
-Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo made three changes to the team that lost 5-2 to Houston Dynamo in the season opener. Pablo Mastroeni was suspended while Dedi Ben-Dayan and Clint Mathis were both injured in the season opener. Hunter Freeman came into the team at right back while Fabrice Noel and Jean Phillipe Peguero came into attacking roles.
-Here's Clavijo's team (4-3-1-2): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman Mike Petke Chris Wingert Eric Denton - Terry Cooke Kyle Beckerman Nicolas Hernandez (Dan Gargan 75) - Jovan Kirovski - Fabrice Noel (Jacob Peterson 69) Jean Philippe Peguero (Luchi Gonzalez 83) [Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Jordan Harvey Stephen Keel Daniel Wasson]
-"We were very tentative in the first half instead of being aggressive said Clavijo. "We made it clear in the second half it was not good enough. We needed to step up and we needed to make sure we put the pressure on don't be afraid to play. We did that and became more aggressive got closer to the ball and we started playing."

TEAM NEWS
-Cooke tied the Rapids club record with his three assists in the game set first by Ross Paule on June 20 2001 v New England then equaled on May 22 2002 by Carlos Valderrama also against the Revolution.
-"He's amazing Clavijo said of Cooke. "When you see him stepping up the way he did not only the crosses but the pressure on the right was outstanding."
-Said Cooke: "It's a simple game soccer and I try not to complicate it. If the ball beats the first man then I've done my job and people have to do their job and get on the end of it. Fair credit to the lads up front today they did well getting on the end of things. That was the big difference. We showed commitment getting on the end of things. It was a big difference from last week."
-The Rapids essentially began the match with four strikers as Clint Mathis and Dedi Ben-Dayan were both out through injury. Jovan Kirovski moved into a playmaking midfield role while Fabrice Noel was paired in attack with Haitian countryman Jean Philippe Peguero. Nicolas Hernandez who started in attack against Houston moved to a wide left-sided midfield role.
-"It was kind of difficult to get some rhythm going [in the first 45 minutes] said Rapids midfielder Kyle Beckerman. "We'd get some stuff going lose it now they're coming now we have to defend and we're winning it on our 18 instead of winning it in their half and being able to one pass two pass now shot on goal. It was tough. It wasn't really our plan. It's something we'll work on coming in knowing what teams are going to do to us."
-Clavijo said he will likely have Mathis available again at the weekend and Pablo Mastroeni will also be returning from suspension. There could be a logjam there as Aitor Karanka could see his work permit arrive this week which could see him fill a role in central defense and Beckerman has scored twice in the holding midfield position. And Fabrice Noel scored last week as an out-and-out striker not as an attacking midfielder as Clavijo originally foresaw him playing. "These are good problems to have Clavijo said.

FC DALLAS
FC Dallas came from behind for the second consecutive week defeating Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday evening. The Hoops are one of two teams in MLS still undefeated and untied with six points from two matches leading the Western Conference by three points ahead of Chivas USA Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo.

LAST MATCH
-FC Dallas once again fell behind only to come from behind and capture a second home victory in as many matches. A brilliant free kick from Chris Klein gave Real their first goal of the season in the 36th minute running onto a slight touch from Andy Williams before whipping the ball over the wall and inside Dario Sala's right-hand post. But the home side were level just seven minutes later as hometown hero Kenny Cooper scored his second goal in as many weeks taking a perfect backheel from Carlos Ruiz and knocking it home.
-The Hoops then hit for the eventual winner 12 minutes into the second half. A low ball was played into the area knocked down by RSL 'keeper Scott Garlick before a valiant clearing attempt from Carey Talley. But Mark Wilson was there to bang the rebound into the goal.
-FC Dallas boss Colin Clarke made two changes to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 3-2 in the season opener in Frisco. Mark Wilson and Kenny Cooper were given starts as Ramon Nunez moved to the substitutes' bench as Ronnie O'Brien was not in the squad due to personal reasons.
-Here's Clarke's team (4-3-3): Dario Sala - Bobby Rhine Clarence Goodson Greg Vanney Chris Gbandi - Mark Wilson Simo Valakari Arturo Alvarez (Ramon Nunez 73)- Roberto Mina (Drew Moor 87) Carlos Ruiz (Aaron Pitchkolan 75) Kenny Cooper [Substitutes Not Used: Ray Burse Justin Moore Abe Thompson Alex Yi]
-"Overall I was pleased said Hoops boss Colin Clarke. "[I'm] just disappointed we didn't put it away in the second half when we had the opportunity to and then we were a little bit on edge in the last few minutes. We did a lot of good stuff -- good passing and good movement."

TEAM NEWS
-Of course the main discussion over the match revolved around Ronnie O'Brien who was not in the team due to personal reasons. O'Brien has been back at training with the team this week. "Me and him talked and we decided it was best that he took the time off to sort out what he needed to sort out Clarke said following the match.
-Wednesday O'Brien said the matter was closed. "I think it got blown out of proportion by everybody really O'Brien said. "I heard a lot of stuff was 'he said she said' and that it was a disagreement with different players or a disagreement about contracts. It was a disagreement between myself and the managers and we didn't go about the right way of solving it. We went the roundabout way of getting it sorted it out. When we sat down and talked about it calmly it was easily solved."
-Wilson was a last-minute replacement in the starting lineup replacing O'Brien and celebrated his opportunity with his first goal in MLS.
-"I thought Mark Wilson did very well tonight said Clarke. "He worked very hard in midfield and it's nice to get the first one - he didn't know much about it -- but he was in a great spot in there closing him down. I'm very very pleased for him."
-Said Wilson: "It's important to play well when you get an opportunity and to score a goal. As easy as it (the goal) was it was nice. It's nice to have a good performance under my belt. I tend to thrive on getting into the box a lot and trying to pick things up. Sometimes you need one of those to go in like that to get you off and running. Hopefully there's more to come."
-Ruiz is still looking for his first goal of the season. But he's set up goals in each of the first two games and his shot that was saved by Scott Garlick before Carey Talley's failed clearance attempt led to Wilson's match-winner.
-"I work to score goals -- you know I haven't scored a goal yet this season said Ruiz. "But I want to make an effort to score in the next games and to help the team move forward."
-But on Monday the club found out they would be missing Ruiz for at least the next fortnight after suffering a strained right hamstring against Real. Ruiz limped off the field late in the Hoops'victory; he was replaced by Aaron Pitchkolan in the 75th minute. Team doctors on Monday diagnosed the hamstring strain and have ruled him out for 2-3 weeks.
-FCD defender Alex Yi suffered a similar injury Sunday in the Hoops' MLS Reserve Division loss to RSL. He is also expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
-One alarming trend in the first two games for FC Dallas is the tendency to foul the opposition in the defensive third giving up risky free kick opportunities.
-"It's dangerous to give up fouls in that area of the field said Clarke. "[RSL forward Jeff] Cunningham going through toward goal causes problems -- I wish it had been five or 10 yards further away from the goal. You know we lived dangerously a couple times there and it was a hell of a strike from Klein." "