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Preview: D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids

United visits Colorado to end its West Coast swing

D.C. United visits the Colorado Rapids tonight at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the teams’ first meeting this season (Comcast SportsNet; 9:30 p.m. ET). The Black-and-Red is 17-13-7 all-time against the Rapids, most recently besting the side 2-0 last May at RFK. Colorado, currently sitting in 6th in the Western Conference with 26 points, has won its last two matches, while United improved its play on the pitch but dropped its last game to Seattle 2-0.

The Rapids topped Montreal 4-3 on June 29th, then won their second straight match on July 4th, beating New York 2-0. Both Nathan Sturgis and Deshorn Brown found the net for the Rapids, with both goals coming in the second half. Brown, along with Atiba Harris, lead their team in scoring (5), and Sturgis is just one goal behind. With verteran forward Edson Buddle in form and Colorado’s “young guns” hitting their rhythm, DCU has a big challenege ahead of them tonight. 

“Edson Buddle is just a flat out goal scorer,” said D.C. United Head Coach Chad Ashton. “[Brown] is just an unbelievable athlete; he looks to get behind the defense.”

Read: Pre-match measurement of the Colorado Rapids

Although DCU fell to Seattle, the Black-and-Red had nine attempts on goal, forcing goalkeeper Michael Gspurning to make saves four times. D.C. goalkeeper Joe Willis made two big saves, helping DCU fight to stay in the game. Seattle’s Obafemi Martins tallied twice on Wednesday— once in the 19th minute after getting in behind United’s backline and once in extra-time, while D.C. was pushing numbers forward trying to tie the game.

“I mean, we turn off on one play and it costs us,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen after the match. “But again, I still feel solid about this team. I’m not blowing smoke. I still like a lot of what I saw tonight.” 

Finishing its West Coast wwing, D.C. United hopes to end on a high note and maybe slow down Colorado’s current roll. Playing in the higher altitude calls for a focus on possession, making the Rapids chase a little, which will allow for United to control the pace of the game and not fatigue quickly. Another adjustment will be facing the Rapids’ three in the middle of the midfield—which should give DCU’s wide midfielders some room get forward and put pressure on Colorado’s outside backs.

WATCH: Make sure to watch the VW Keys to the Match with Assistant Coach Chad Ashton for more details on D.C. United’s game-plan for tonight’s match.