Frisco, TX – Both FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids will be anxious to get the 2013 season started at FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday after enduring forgettable campaigns in 2012.
Both sides failed to reach the postseason and both made significant changes in the offseason with an eye toward improvement in 2013.
For Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman much of the change in his side came up top as he brought back striker Kenny Cooper in a trade from Red Bull New York while also acquiring forward Eric Hassli in a deal with Toronto FC.
Those two will combine with Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo to give Hyndman a deep group of forwards, with Perez and Castillo combining to score 15 goals for the Hoops last term.
There are two familiar faces who will no longer be wearing the Dallas jersey this season as veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was not re-signed, while winger Brek Shea has made the move to Stoke City in England.
The arrival of both Cooper and Hassli should help offset the loss of Shea, who struggled at times last year. Another huge boost to the Dallas attack will be a full season from midfielder David Ferreira, who returned from a 15-month injury absence last year to show flashes of his playmaking ability.
FC Dallas is a team that expects to challenge for a playoff spot this year, while Colorado figures to have a tougher time cracking the top five in the Western Conference.
Colorado boss Oscar Pareja said goodbye to a handful familiar veterans in the offseason including forwards Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, as well as midfielder Jeff Larentowicz.
In place of Casey and Cummings, Colorado traded for Edson Buddle from the Los Angeles Galaxy, as well as Vancouver's Atiba Harris.
The Rapids will be hoping to get the 2010 version of Buddle as he scored 17 goals in 25 starts for the Galaxy before a stint in Germany and a return to Los Angeles that saw him net three goals in 19 games last year.
Larentowicz became a stalwart in the middle of the field for the Rapids, but his departure leaves a void that Pareja will hope can filled by newly-acquired duo Nathan Sturgis and Nick LaBrocca. Veteran Pablo Mastroeni also returns to the fold after missing 32 of 34 games last season because of concussion symptoms.
Both teams are looking ahead to better things in 2013, and both will be eager to claim three points in order to get the year started on the right foot.