D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids 05-14-2011 - Preview

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D.C. United
1 - 1
Final
Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season
May 14, 2011
7:30pm EDT
RFK Stadium
MLS LIVE

Preview: Rapids' road swing continues against DC

D.C. United continue their long homestand while the Colorado Rapids continue their long Eastern swing when the clubs meet Saturday at RFK Stadium. United have a win and a draw against Western opposition in the first two games of this home stretch, coming off a scoreless result with FC Dallas. The Rapids have a win and a draw against Eastern teams to start their three-game trip, last a scoreless draw at New England.

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REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): Steven Taylor; JAR (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald MLS Career: 142 games; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 46; pens: 45

INJURY REPORT: D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Branko Boskovic (L ACL tear); MF Junior Carreiro (L ankle sprain); DF Devon McTavish (concussion); DF Jed Zayner (L hamstring strain) …

COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle sprain); FW Caleb Folan (R groin strain); FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: DF Eddie Ababio (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); FW Quincy Amarikwa (L ankle sprain); FW Conor Casey (L hamstring strain); MF Sanna Nyassi (lower back strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DC: Conor Shanosky (U.S. U-20 national team)
SUSPENDED: COL: Brian Mullan (through June 26)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Conor Casey

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (35 meetings): United 16 wins (2 shootout), 58 goals … Rapids 13 wins (1 shootout), 47 goals … Ties 6
AT RFK (17 meetings): United 10 wins (2 shootout), 35 goals … Rapids 3 wins (0 shootout), 15 goals … Ties 4
•    The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Two goals from Caleb Folan and a late three-goal explosion (over the final 20 minutes) gave the Rapids a 4-1 win April 3 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
•    United’s 1-0 win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last year was their first in Denver in a decade, since a 5-2 win May 6, 2000. The Rapids won eight of the 10 home matches in between, with two draws.
•    The Rapids’ win at RFK Stadium on May 15 of last year was their first there since 1999. The teams also met on East Capitol Street in MLS Cup 1997, a 2-1 United win.
•    The teams last played to a draw on Aug. 19, 2006, a 1-1 result at RFK Stadium.
•    Coaches record: Gary Smith vs. DC: P6 W3 L3 D0 … Ben Olsen v COL: P2 W1 L1 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)
4/3: COL 4, DC 1 (Folan 38, 81; Smith 71; Cummings 90 – Quaranta 70)
•    Caleb Folan put the Rapids into the lead in the 38th minute when he latched onto a perfectly weighted ball from Jeff Larentowicz and feinted past the D.C. defense before connecting well with a left foot drive past Pat Onstad.
•    United evened terms in the 70th minute through a Santino Quaranta first-time volley at the far post from a cross by rookie Chris Korb.
•    But barely a minute later, Rapids midfielder Jamie Smith popped up in the box to head home an Anthony Wallace long-range cross to push the Rapids back in front.
•    Folan then completed his double when he outjumped the D.C. defense to expertly head a Sanna Nyassi cross into the right hand corner of the net in the 81st minute.
•    Omar Cummings, who was rested for the start of the game and did not come on until an early second-half injury to Conor Casey, finished off a header in injury time off an assist from midfielder Pablo Mastroeni.
•    COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens – Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace - Brian Mullan (Sanna Nyassi 72), Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith - Conor Casey (Omar Cummings 52), Caleb Folan (Quincy Amarikwa 87).
•    D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Pat Onstad – Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, Rodrigo Brasesco, Marc Burch – Kurt Morsink (Fred 83) – Santino Quaranta, Dax McCarty, Branko Boskovic (Andy Najar 54) – Blake Brettschneider, Chris Pontius (Josh Wolff 65).

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United finished off a week unbeaten, playing to a scoreless draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United have 11 points from 9 games on the year, sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    The game's best chance came in the closing stages. A low cross from Josh Wolff found Fred dangerously open in front of the net. But his header couldn't get the best of lunging FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who steered the shot aside.
•    Hartman was credited with three saves in the FC Dallas goal, while Bill Hamid made two saves for United.
•    United coach Ben Olsen made two changes to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 at RFK Stadium. Stephen King came in for Clyde Simms in midfield and Joseph Ngwenya replaced Josh Wolff up top.
•    D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard - Andy Najar (Santino Quaranta 72), Dax McCarty, Stephen King, Chris Pontius (Fred 81) - Joseph Ngwenya (Josh Wolff 54), Charlie Davies.

TEAM NEWS
•    After eight goals over a two-game stretch, D.C. United has allowed just one goal in the last two – that coming on a penalty kick.
•    “The positive is that we had a fairly good performance after a good performance on Wednesday,” Olsen said. “That’s what we are striving for here. We are striving to play consistent soccer, and if we do that over the course of a year, it’s usually enough to make the playoffs.”
•    It was a second game with a pair of rookies in the back four for United, with Ethan White at center back and Perry Kitchen at right back.
•    “Perry is playing probably out of position, but you wouldn’t know it,” Olsen said. “Him knowing when to get forward still has a little work to do, but that’s to be expected when you don’t know that position. But defensively, he’s very committed.” Said Kitchen: “It’s always fun to go forward since I’ve been sitting back at center back for a while now,” he said. “I was just trying to pick my moments [against Dallas], and when I was going forward I wasn’t trying to do anything too crazy.”
•    Stephen King made his first start of the league season, coming into the central midfield in place of Clyde Simms, who had started five matches in a row.
•    “It’s a little bit of a different dynamic with [Dax McCarty] and [Stephen] King there than it would be with [McCarty] and Clyde [Simms],” Olsen said. “King had a good understanding – when Dax [McCarty] sits [King] is more comfortable going forward. They played off each other pretty well all night long.”
•    Andy Najar also made a second consecutive game after going five league games without an appearance in the first XI. “I thought he had a great game; he was special tonight, definitely the best player on the field,” said Olsen.
•    United also kept a clean sheet for a second time on the season, something it took until July 10 to achieve a year ago. “We’ve got a good mixture of athletic guys, guys who can win balls in the air, and a good mixture of guys who are smart and composed,” goalkeeper Bill Hamid said to the Washington Times. “It makes a very solid back line.”
•    Said United captain Dax McCarty: “That’s progress — those are things you can build from. Now it comes down to: You’re at home, can you take the chances that you get? And we didn’t do that.”

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids continued on their three-game Eastern Conference trip, playing to a scoreless draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Rapids have 14 points from 8 games, opening the week in third place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH
•    Ryan Cochrane and Benny Feilhaber each had chances find the woodwork for the Revolution, while Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens was called upon to make two saves, including a point-blank stop of a Shalrie Joseph header.
•    Matt Reis made one save as the Revolution recorded their first shutout of the season.
•    Rapids head coach Gary Smith made three changes to the team that beat the Houston Dynamo 2-1 at Robertson Stadium. Marvell Wynne came in for Jamie Smith, and Caleb Folan and Quincy Amarikwa made an all-change strike pair in place of Andre Akpan and Omar Cummings.
•    COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta - Kosuke Kimura, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Jamie Smith 73) - Caleb Folan (Andre Akpan 30), Quincy Amarikwa (Ross LaBauex 85)

TEAM NEWS
•    For the first time since 2008 – and just the second time since Conor Casey arrived at the club – the Rapids played a game without either Casey or Omar Cummings in the scoreless draw at New England. The only other previous occasion was a 3-2 loss at the LA Galaxy on Oct. 12, 2008.
•    "There were moments that we might have made a little bit more of," Smith said. "But we've got so many bodies changing in and out now because of injuries it's very difficult to find serious fluency here."
•    The Rapids recorded a shutout for the first time since March 26, and after three consecutive losses, now have two draws and a win in their last three games.
•    “All and all, it’s a clean sheet. It’s three unbeaten, it’s another point to the tally, and it’s the end of a very, very long week,” Smith said. “We’ll all be very pleased to get back home.
•    The club learned Cummings will be lost for 2-4 weeks with a grade II sprain of his right ankle. Caleb Folan was also forced to leave the United match after just a half-hour with a right groin strain, after suffering from a strained quadriceps leading up to the match.
•    "I have to say we're going through a difficult period," Smith said. "But we have two very promising and bright individuals. Those bodies will be back, and we will be in a good position and all the better for it."
•    The visit to United and a return trip to the East Coast is a third consecutive game against Eastern Conference opposition. The Rapids are in a stretch of playing four out of five games on the road.
•    “We were well organized (against New England. We had) good shape and showed discipline as a group, and that’s not easy when you’re playing your third game in seven days,” Smith said. “These guys have gone through an awful lot. We’ve gone to two different time zones. We’ve managed to play on a level pegging with a good team, a competitive team.”