When FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids open their respective MLS seasons on Saturday at Frisco, Texas, a familiar face will be in the visiting jersey and hoping to get his new side off on the right foot.
Michael Barrios' move from FC Dallas to Colorado will be just one of several changes for both teams.
After a rough 1-4-4 start, Colorado was 8-6-4 in 2020 and finished fifth in the Western Conference before losing to Minnesota United 3-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
Barrios, a Columbian national who played for FC Dallas during the first six years of his MLS career, was traded to the Rapids in January. Barrios had 179 regular-season appearances for FC Dallas since 2015, and started 19 of the team's 21 games last season.
Bringing in Barrios to provide firepower to the offensive attack was just one of the moves the Rapids made in the offseason. Also added were midfielders Oliver Larraz, Philip Mayaka and 16-year-old Darren Yapi, as well as forward Dantouma Toure and goalkeeper William Yarbrough.
"The group is feeling motivated, happy with the start of the season," Barrios said. "We've trained for five weeks away from our families to return to the competition. On Saturday, we will try to show how hard we've prepared and worked during preseason. We'll look for a good result, which is what we want and go for the three points."
FC Dallas was 9-7-6 last season, finished a spot behind Colorado in the West standings and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, where they were eliminated by Seattle.
In the offseason, FC Dallas parted ways with a handful of its veterans, including defender Reto Ziegler, midfielder Santiago Mosquera and forward Fafa Picault, in addition to Barrios. The team is looking to get younger at some key places on the field while also maintaining its identity.
"We've improved some things tactically this offseason and this preseason that they weren't good enough last season and obviously with the new players and the new personnel as well to complement that," FC Dallas manager Luchi Gonzalez said.
"It's all things that I think are putting us in a good position to compete and reach our best, but we want to initiate that well and it all starts from Saturday."
--Field Level Media