It was always going to be a intriguing start to the season with a full offensive rebuild for the Hoops but few would have predicted the first opening day scoreless affair since the maiden Dallas Burn game 25 years ago.
Luchi Gonzalez went with the same 3-4-3 that put Houston to the sword in the preseason finale with Jimmy Maurer behind a back three of Jose Martinez, Matt Hedges, and Bressan. Johnny Nelson maintained his start at left wing back opposite Ryan Hollingshead with Bryan Acosta and Andres Ricaurte in midfield. Franco Jara lead the line, flanked by Freddy Vargas and Jader Obrian.
The visitors were highlighted by the return of Michael Barrios, who stood with his former team mates for the FC Dallas team photo prior to kick off.
FC Dallas had a golden opportunity on the five minute mark. Ryan Hollingshead was brought down cleanly close the edge of the area with the ball breaking to Franco Jara. Jara squared the ball across the area to Freddy Vargas looking for the first time shot. The 21-year-old tried to bring the ball around a defender and back on to his right foot, but William Yarborough was able to position himself well in the Rapids goal.
Barrios almost became the villain in the 13th minute as a seemingly innocuous ball on the way out of the Dallas area fell into the Colombian’s path to take a first time shot that Jimmy Maurer was able to tip over the bar.
Maurer was forced into a top quality reaction save shortly after. A Jack Price corner floated in from the Dallas left with Danny Wilson rising to win a point blank header that Maurer was able to claw away for a throw in.
The game didn’t take long to break down slightly as two old rivals got stuck in. FC Dallas appealed for a penalty in the 20th minute. Franco Jara broke down the right wing before cutting inside. The Argentine striker was taken down harshly by Price, but referee Nima Saghafi played advantage with the ball running onto the feet of Jader Obrian. The FCD winger and Colorado’s Wilson attempted to hold each other at arm’s length heading into the box before the Dallas number seven hit the floor. Despite strong protests, Saghafi rightly pulled play back for the earlier free kick.
“We generated interesting opportunities. I thought we had some crosses with some potential to put away that we didn’t put past (Colorado goalkeeper William) Yarbrough. We got to have more volume. We got to keep working on more conviction to kill, to have a killer instinct. We have all the potential there.”Luchi Gonzalez
Colorado had the possession and the frequency of chances with Barrios the key man in position to score. Dallas narrowly avoided a tap-in after Maurer palmed a wide shot from Barrios across the box. On the half hour mark, the 30-year-old looked sure to make his former employers pay with a shot from around 12 yards after finding space between the Dallas center backs.
The second half started with the one emerging trait of the first – a choppy game with Jack Price playing the disruptor both in terms of breaking up plays and running up the number of fouls. As Colorado sat deeper Dallas struggle to get spread the ball wide, resorting to floated balls into Franco Jara in the Colorado box. The former Pachuca striker seeing mixed success with his headers from distance.
“Second half, Colorado played a little more compact, harder to break down. We had a lot of the ball but we’ve got to keep on generating. It’s a step, I’ll grab the positives from it. We’re not happy to not get all three points at home, we always want to win in front of our fans, but now we’ve got to learn to do it away at San Jose.”Luchi Gonzalez
With 20 minutes to go, Toyota Stadium came to life as Paxton Pomykal made his first appearance since August 2020 to replace Andres Ricaurte in an effort to kick start a static midfield.
The substitution worked with Dallas piling on pressure, but it would be Barrios yet again with the next clear cut chance as Diego Rubio fed a rebound off an awkward stop by Bressan through the back line leaving Barrios to force a fantastic one-on-one stop from Jimmy Maurer.
That would be the Colombian’s last action before being replaced by Nicolas Benezet to a standing ovation from his former club’s fans. Ricardo Pepi also subbed in for Jara.
The Rapids gradually sat further back with Dallas unable to break down the low block. Luchi Gonzalez opted against going back to his bench with three substitutes and one opportunity available. The third-year coach cited the team’s balance while admitting that would be a focus of his reflection on the game.