The Black-and-Red head to Colorado on Saturday to take on the Rapids, armed with acquisitions who are beginning to settle in and a hunger to climb the Eastern Conference standings.
Young Designated Player Paul Arriola was one of the new signings who got his first minutes in a United uniform last weekend against Real Salt Lake. The midfielder showed pace, poise and creativity down the right side of the pitch, creating numerous chances with his movement.
Arriola’s pace is going to come in handy going against Rapids left back Mike da Fonte, who has started 11 games this year and played 12. In that time, he’s accumulated five yellow cards and will certainly struggle to contain the crafty Arriola.
“You can see his quality, you can see his energy, his understanding of the game and already a pretty good understanding of what we’d like to see out of him,” Ben Olsen said of Arriola. “Now as we grow and incorporate some new pieces, it’s only gonna get better from him.”
Bolivian forward Bruno Miranda also saw his first minutes with United against RSL, showing attacking instincts while connecting with his teammates and completing all of his passes.
The Rapids, meanwhile, will be reeling after a tough week in which they fired their head coach Pablo Mastroeni and promoted assistant Steve Cook to interim head coach. United will be seeking to take advantage of a chaotic situation with their newfound offensive weapons. But, Arriola and company still have to get past USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard. Despite the Rapids’ lowly position in the western conference, they have only given up 31 goals, in large part thanks to Howard. In fact, seven of the nine teams ahead of them in the West have given up just as many goals or more.
Unfortunately for Colorado, just defending well doesn’t lead to wins. The Rapids haven’t won a game since July 1 and their most recent game was a 0-0 draw against FC Dallas. With United’s new attacking options, Colorado will have a difficult time on Saturday.
"They’re a tough team," Olsen said. "To play there away is never a fun thing, but it’ll be exciting to continue with some of the new guys. It’s another chance for us to get better. We certainly need to.”
The game kicks off Saturday at 9 PM ET on NewsChannel 8.