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Preview: D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids

Both United and Rapids bring high-powered offenses to mid-week showdown

MLS MATCHDAY 13

D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids

Wednesday, May 16 - 7:30 PM ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet

With two of the league’s five highest scoring teams ondisplay, Wednesday night’s clash between D.C. United and the Colorado Rapidscould very well turn into a midweek shootout at RFK Stadium.  The Black-and-Red’s injury-riddled backfour has allowed just one goal over the last 180 minutes of play, but hasrelied on the stellar play of goalkeeper Bill Hamid for much of thatsuccess.  Colorado figures to testthe third-year netminder often as the Rapids bring to RFK an attack that isfinally starting to gel.  Despite losing speedy forward Omar Cummings to an ankle sprain, LatinAmerican playmakers Jaime Castrillon and Martin Rivero have come to life with three goals and two assists between them as Colorado took sixpoints from its last three contests.

“We know they played in a big emotional game on Saturdayagainst Houston in the new stadium and had to travel back,” Rapids captain DrewMoor told ColoradoRapids.com while speaking of United.  “We’re definitely going to look to takeadvantage of that, and we’ve had a little bit of time off now.”

To be exact, Moor and the Rapids haven’t played since May 6when they toppled FC Dallas 2-0 at Pizza Hut Park.  It’s a stark contrast to D.C.’s schedule, as Ben Olsen’sside is about to begin their third consecutive stretch of three games in tendays.  The ambitious slate – alongwith an ill-timed bout with the injury bug – has tested United’s depth a bitearlier than expected.

“It’s tough,” Olsen admitted after going over his injurylist on Monday. “But we’ll make it work, we’ve got to.  We have no choice and we’ve got theguys to come in and help if those guys aren’t able to go.  We built this team to have some depthand these are the times that we need to see it.”

“They’ve had a little bit of a break so they are going to befresh” acknowledged midfielder Stephen King.  “But we can’t use that as an excuse.  We have to come out as hard as possibleand fight through some of the soreness that we are feeling.”

Unlike last year, D.C. is much better equipped to handlehealth concerns in 2012.  Whileexpected starters Chris Pontius, Andy Najar and Bill Hamid all saw some time onthe bench at season’s onset, the trio have returned to the starting lineup witha vengeance.  Pontius has overcomeinjury to score five times in his last seven appearances, while Najar playedhis best match of the season in Houston over the weekend.  Hamid made a career-best eight saves inSaturday’s loss to the Dynamo.

“Every player has to be ready for whatever situationpresents itself,” Najar said in a Spanish language interview on Tuesday.  “On Wednesday, there will be playerswith an opportunity and we hope that everybody brings their best so we can takethree points." 

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 Wednesday night at RFK.  The match will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.

» ANALYSIS: Breaking down Colorado Rapids

» Create and share your starting XI

REFEREE: Matthew Foerster - MLS Career: First game
SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez

INJURY REPORT:

  • D.C. UNITED – OUT: Lance Rozeboom (L ACL tear), Emiliano Dudar (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: Chris Pontius (gluteus minimus strain), Perry Kitchen (R knee pain), Maicon Santos (L calf strain), Marcelo Saragosa (R soleus strain), Nick DeLeon (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: Dejan Jakovic (L ankle sprain), Ethan White (R knee surgery)
  • COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); MF Ross LaBauex (sports hernia); DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear); PROBABLE: FW Conor Casey (L Achilles tear)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius
COL: Jaime Castrillon, Jeff Larentowicz

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (36 meetings): United 16 wins (2 shootout), 59 goals … Rapids 13 wins (1 shootout), 48 goals … Ties 7
  • AT RFK STADIUM (18 meetings): United 10 wins (1 shootout), 36 goals…Rapids 3 wins (1 shootout), 16 goals…Ties 5
  • LAST YEAR (MLS):
    • 4/3: COL 4, DC 1 (Folan 38, 81; Smith 71; Cummings 90 – Quaranta 70)
    • 5/14: DC 1, COL 1 (Pontius 62 – Moor 23)
  • This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
  • United haven’t defeated Colorado at home since 2009, a 3-1 win at RFK Stadium.
  • Colorado’s win in Washington in 2010 was their first in the nation’s capital since 1999.
  • United’s win in Colorado in 2010 was their first in the Rocky Mountain State since 2000.
  • Coaches' records: Ben Olsen vs. COL: P3 W1 L1 D1 … Oscar Pareja vs. DC: first game