There's a growing sense that the Colorado Rapids may be able to take advantage of a weakened Dallas side this weekend and further consolidate the good momentum which started with the July 4 victory against the New York Red Bulls. Contrary to the doubters out there, last weekend's 1-1 draw with San Jose was a point well won. For the first time this season, the Rapids saved a game in which they had gone a goal down. That is very welcome. If they can get something out of the trip to Texas, the team would be unbeaten in four games, including the Tigres match, and this would be followed by three games in a row at home. Good performances in those games and the season will turn around. It's a big if but the players are doing well in training, the team looks settled and Dallas, for one, are not the team they have been. Some of that may be down to the recent coaching change but there may be deeper reasons. Rapids' coach, Fernando Clavijo, talked on the From The Pitch show last night about how a second season may have found out the Dallas midfielder, Juan Toja, who was in the All-Star team last year. "They also have not been playing well for the past two to three seasons," he told me at training today. Let us hope that Colorado can get over their historically poor record against Dallas in the Lone Star state and come out with at least a point.
One player relishing his time in the starting XI is Mehdi Ballouchy. The team's good form in recent games does coincide with his presence in the line-up. Maybe Clavijo has found a way of playing Christian Gomez and Ballouchy together, not to mention Terry Cooke? "It is obviously great to be back in the team again," he said. "I think the coach was wary about playing so many attacking players together but he has found his faith in me and I think the three-man midfield of me, Christian and Nick LaBrocca is working well right now." As for his celebration with his hands tied/untied behind his back after scoring the second goal against New York? "I want to keep that personal," he said. It must have felt a great release to find the net in his first MLS start of the season.
In other news, the Rapids confirmed the signing of midfielder, Greg Dalby. Dalby, who played in the friendly against Tigres, could only sign officially with the Rapids after July 15. The Californian was a draft pick in 2007 and played last season in Belgium with FC Charleroi. Having driven through Charleroi once, he must know he has made the right choice when he trains at DSG Park every day.