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West contenders square off as FCD meets Colorado

Frisco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids will kick off their final three-month stretch at Toyota Stadium on Saturday with the two sides separated by just three points.

Both clubs are in the mix for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, and with Dallas entering Saturday's contest three points clear of the Rapids, both are eager to start the second half of their season on a positive note.

Dallas has been in a good run of form recently with a six-game unbeaten streak that includes a 1-0 win over Chivas USA last time out.

Tesho Akindele scored the lone goal in the 49th minute, and the Dallas defense made the lead hold up by securing a third clean sheet in the last five matches.

One of those defenders, Zach Loyd, believes his team is anticipating Saturday's match as a chance to pick up precious points in a tight Western Conference.

"As a team we're excited. We've been saying it since a couple weeks ago that every game is a playoff game for us," said Loyd ahead of Saturday's tussle with the Rapids. "If you look at the Western Conference, we all have about the same number of games and are within a few points of each other so coming into the last stretch of the season it's an exciting time."

The Rapids would like to use Saturday's match as a chance to turn things around heading into the final three months of the season with the team having lost three of its last four fixtures.

The latest setback came last weekend in a 1-0 home defeat to Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake.

Javier Morales scored in the 14th minute for RSL, but the visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 46th minute after a red card for Aaron Maund.

Colorado pressured for the rest of the match, but some organized defending and good goalkeeping from Nick Rimando prevented the Rapids from earning anything from the contest.

"I say the same thing, the game of soccer doesn't owe anyone anything, you have to go out and get it. I think minus the better part of the first 15 minutes, I think we handled ourselves real well," said Colorado head coach Pablo Mastroeni. We created some great opportunities, had a lot of great chances in the first half to do something with it. We just didn't have that final touch and that final pass. It wasn't there tonight. That's the game. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. Tonight wasn't our night."

The Rapids will be hoping for a better outcome on Saturday or they will risk falling out of a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive West.

08/08 22:16:00 ET

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