Colorado hosts Dallas in crucial wild card clash

The Colorado Rapids have proven to be a streaky team over the past few months, stringing together an unbeaten streak followed by its current winless streak.

From July 20 to Aug. 20, Colorado was unbeaten in its six regular season matches, going 4-0-2 in that stretch.

But a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire on Aug. 27 has forced a recent struggle for the Rapids, who are winless in its last five matches.

Most of the Colorado first team skipped its midweek CONCACAF Champions League clash at Isidro Metapan, as head coach Gary Smith placed a great deal of importance on the club's MLS tilt against FC Dallas on Saturday.

Smith has drawn criticism by choosing not to travel to El Salvador for the midweek match, and as if a 3-1 road win in the CCL wasn't enough redemption, he defended his choice to stay home and prepare for Colorado's Western Conference rival.

"My job is to bring some stimulus to offer the opportunity at the weekend to be at our best, and it's not an easy time to rejuvenate the group," he told "This group [in CCL] have had that to focus on this week, while the group that was left behind will now be helped by [the result] to hopefully get the job done at the weekend."

The Rapids are meeting Dallas at a favorable time, as the 2010 MLS Cup runners-up have lost three straight in regular season play.

FC Dallas also suffered a humbling 5-3 defeat to Tauro FC in a midweek CCL tilt, finishing the match with just nine men after two red cards.

"I just thought that the game from the start was very bizarre," Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman told the club's website. "There were a lot of things going on that I think disrupted our team, and at the end of the day we take a defeat - a greater defeat than we've ever had."

FC Dallas holds the first wild card spot in MLS with 46 points on the season, just in front of Colorado by four points.

When the two clubs met on April 8 at Pizza Hut Park, a David Ferreira brace led Dallas past Colorado by a score of 3-0. Ugo Ihemelu provided the additional goal.