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Colorado Rapids vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview

COLORADO RAPIDS vs D.C. UNITED
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
July 7, 2013 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #175) 7:30 p.m. MT (Altitude; CSN-DC)

The Colorado Rapids will be looking to make it three wins a row for the first time this season when they entertain D.C. United on Sunday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids recorded a second consecutive win at midweek, easing to a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls in the annual Independence Day game in Colorado. United are on the second game of a two-game Western swing, starting it with a 2-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Adam Garner; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 16 games; FC/gm: 26.1; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 5

DISABLED LIST: COL: Diego Calderón, Matt Pickens
SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Shane O’Neill, Dillon Powers, Hendry Thomas … DC: Perry Kitchen, Daniel Woolard, Alain Rochat

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DC: Bill Hamid (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME
(37 meetings): Rapids 13 wins (1 shootout), 48 goals … United 17 wins (2 shootout), 61 goals … Ties 7
AT COLORADO (18 meetings): Rapids 10 wins (0 shootout), 32 goals … United 6 wins (1 shootout), 23 goals … Ties 2
LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/16: DC 2, COL 0 (De Rosario 25; Salihi 60)

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • The teams met once a season ago. Goals from Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi gave United a 2-0 win May 16 at RFK Stadium, United’s first win at home vs. Colorado since 2009.
  • Both teams had gone more than a decade between wins at the other’s home. 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 Centennial State since 2000.
  • Coaches' records: Oscar Pareja v DC: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Ben Olsen vs. COL: P4 W2 L1 D1

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids returned home and made it two wins in a row, claiming a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls on Thursday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with 26 points from 19 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids finally broke through two minutes into the second half. After a half-cleared corner kick was sent back goalward by Drew Moor, his volley was blocked off the line by New York defender Markus Holgersson. But Nathan Sturgis was there to hammer the rebound into the roof of the goal from close range.
  • The lead was doubled in the 68th minute. Chris Klute stole the ball at the edge of the Red Bulls area and drove a low cross to the back post where substitute Deshorn Brown came sliding in to provide the final touch over the line.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that took a 4-3 victory against the Montréal Impact at Stade Saputo. Shane O'Neill came into the back four for Brian Mullan.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, German Mera, Christopher Klute - Hendry Thomas, Nathan Sturgis - Atiba Harris (Tony Cascio 71), Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca (Deshorn Brown 46) - Edson Buddle (Jaime Castrillon 77).

TEAM NEWS

  • After losing a season-high three in a row, the Rapids have put together back-to-back wins for the third time this season. They have yet to win three games on the trot this year.
  • “There are a bunch of little things that are getting better. The young boys are maturing. We expect progression from them. Sometimes you have to deal with not having the best performance, but these young boys are getting some maturity,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “Being more consistent in the middle, we're getting more control of the game. And defensively, today was great.”
  • Nathan Sturgis scored his fourth goal of the season, all since May 18 (eight games). He had scored one goal in 80 career MLS appearances coming into the 2013 season.
  • “It’s part getting in the right spot and it’s part getting good service. Tonight was just kind of a fortunate bounce I guess but you just try to put yourself in the box and get in open areas and hope the ball comes to you and tonight it did again,” said Sturgis. “ … I think we have a lot of guys scoring, there’s not really one guy pulling the entire team with goals right now and everybody’s chipping in. It feels great to get four goals and help the team out.”
  • Deshorn Brown scored his second goal in as many games and third in the last four, netting his fifth of the season.
  • “We wanted a continuation of the good job the boys did in Montreal. To have control, to have the ball,” said Pareja. “In the second half, we bet that bringing in Deshorn would stretch the other team and get us a bit more speed. So we took Nick out and tried to get somebody who could help Edson in behind, and I thought it worked well.”
  • In his first match back from the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Shane O’Neill slotted into the right back role with Drew Moor and German Mera playing centrally. Before leaving for national team duty, O’Neill had primarily played as a center back.
  • “It felt a little different, just having my back to the sideline and stuff like that, having to play one touch a lot more. And I think it’s just a thing, just like center back, you just have to get games in there and keep playing and seeing how you feel,” said O’Neill. “ … There’s been a few times in the game where I just pushed up the field and maybe I didn’t get back as fast as I needed and I always know Drew is in my ear and that’s huge for me. I told him as long as you’re talking to me, as long as you’re in my ear constantly, constantly, you know I’ll just be listening and that was huge for him to do that.”
  • Chris Klute recorded an assist for a second consecutive game and now has five for the league season, leading the Rapids.
  • “I think Chris had one of his best games. I'm happy for Chris,” said Pareja. “He knows where he is, he knows that he has to continue his progression, he has to be consistent, but he played very well today.”

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United suffered their second consecutive defeat, starting a two-game Western swing with a 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday evening at CenturyLink Field. United are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 9 points from 18 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC took the lead after 19 minutes. Brad Evans found Obafemi Martins with a perfectly weighted through ball, and he got behind the United defense before squeezing a shot inside the near post past United 'keeper Joe Willis.
  • Martins put the game away for the home side a minute into second-half stoppage time, latching onto a missed clearance attempt from United defender James Riley and lashing home a shot inside the right-hand post.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at RFK Stadium. Joe Willis came in between the posts with Bill Hamid on international duty, and James Riley and Lionard Pajoy came into the team in place of John Thorrington and Dwayne De Rosario.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-2-3-1): Joe Willis - James Riley, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard, Chris Korb - Perry Kitchen, Alain Rochat - Sainey Nyassi (Casey Townsend 76), Chris Pontius, Kyle Porter - Lionard Pajoy.

TEAM NEWS

  • United suffered their 13th loss of the season in 18 matches – tied for the fourth-most in an MLS season in club history.
  • “It's tough to say, but I was pleased with most of the way we played -- the way we built up our attack. But again, the final stuff just isn't there,” said United coach Ben Olsen. “The quality just isn't there. It's a very frustrating thing because we're getting the right numbers there, we're getting in the right situations to get good service ...the numbers are there. It's just not clicking.”
  • United were shut out on the attacking end for a 11th time this year, and have now gone seven full league matches since scoring a goal from open play. Their only two goals since May 19 have been on penalty kicks, a span now of 655 minutes.
  • “It’s still the final ball,” Chris Pontius said. “It’s all about once we cross it or take a player one-on-one, our decision making in the final third [is lacking]. We do well to get in positions like that, but we have to be a lot better. That is the difference between this year and last year. Last year we were getting players in the box and making real runs. We were fit boys who were hard to handle and we just haven’t been that this year.”
  • After starting against Vancouver, Dwayne De Rosario was not available for a second match out of the last three, not making the trip because of a hip injury. Nick DeLeon also missed his second consecutive match.
  • “There’s some help at home as well, which I think would’ve helped us a little bit tonight,” Olsen said. “We’re looking. We are looking for help. But again, I still feel solid about this team. I’m not blowing smoke. I still like a lot of what I saw tonight. That’s one of the frustrating parts about this – I like so much about parts of our group. We’re just not getting the final stuff right.”
  • Lionard Pajoy started his second match out of the last four matches, playing the full 90 minutes as the spearhead in attack.
  • With Bill Hamid away on CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with the USA, Joe Willis stepped in between the posts for a third league match. All three appearances have been losses; United has conceded two goals on each occasion.
  • “It is frustrating, but we are not playing ourselves out of the game. We are losing 1-0 so if we can get one goal or not give up a goal then we are still in it, but we are missing a little something,” said defender Ethan White. “I feel like we are getting better, but there is still something we have to get.”