Preview: D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids
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