FC Dallas (1-2-3, 6 points) arrives this weekend in the Centennial State to play the second game of three in the regular season series between these two sides. It will mark the second consecutive weekend where the Rapids will go up against a team at the bottom of the Western Conference table desperate to get a win and turn their season around.  

For the Rapids, they’ll look to bounce back quickly after the road defeat to LAFC. The squad will look to make it three straight wins in front of the burgundy faithful in the last home match for over a month.  
 
Protect home field, get three points, climb the table. Here are my three keys for how: 

Start Fast 

FC Dallas has played two road games so far in 2021. They’ve scored one goal and lost both. One was a 3-1 loss where they were chasing the game for 60 minutes in San Jose and the other was 0-0 until deep in added time when Minnesota United FC found the winner. No patterns emerge from the admittedly small sample size. So, the Rapids should focus on playing their game because all three of their home games have gone three different ways.  
 
The Rapids need to be sure to have control throughout, which means starting the match energized and attacking with purpose. FC Dallas may come in and play defensively, trying to slow down the game. It may not look too dissimilar from Houston’s initial plan a few weeks ago. Great, just do the same thing they did against Houston: press high, force turnovers and run towards goal. 

Keep a Clean Sheet 

It is either the stated or implicit goal of every team to keep a clean sheet. It’s obvious. But I think it takes on a slightly higher importance in a match like this. The Rapids are at home, and Dallas has struggled on the road and is desperate for points. Considering the Rapids have scored in all 27 MLS matches at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park since Oct. 28, 2018, the longest active streak in the league, keeping a clean sheet all but guarantees a victory.  
 
The other angle to consider is Dallas is languishing below the red line and will not only take any bit of attacking success to bolster their belief, but they’ll be delighted just to escape with a result. A final score of 0-0 or1-1 wouldn’t be the end of the world for them as road results are invaluable in this league.  

Ride the Hot Hand 

Michael Barrios scored his first for Colorado last weekend in LA. This followed his two-assist performance against Houston the weekend prior. He’s gotten comfortable, built some chemistry and his quality is starting to show out.  
 
Not only is Barrios in form, but he also gets to go up against his former club, which is always an extra dose of motivation to perform. And opposite Barrios is likely to be his former teammate, defender Ryan Hollingshead. Hollingshead will be familiar with everything Barrios can do and vice versa.  
 
For viewers in the park and at home, it will be one of the more intriguing one-on-one matchups to watch. Hollingshead loves to get forward and involved in the attack. But if he’s overeager, Barrios can get in behind with his pace and wreak havoc on the Dallas backline.

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