DC United vs. Colorado Rapids | MLS Match Preview

DCvCOL, 8-17-2014

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D.C. UNITED vs COLORADO RAPIDS
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
Aug. 17, 2014 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #219)
8 p.m. ET (UDN; CSN-MA; Altitude)

Two clubs looking to get back on track after recent weeks meet on Sunday evening when D.C. United welcome the Colorado Rapids to RFK Stadium. United have lost two games in a row, both by shutout, following their 3-0 blanking at Real Salt Lake last weekend. The Rapids saw their losing slide extended to three games and now sit outside the top five in the Western Conference and the playoff positions, after their 3-1 loss at FC Dallas last Saturday night.

REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Jeff Muschik; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
MLS Career: 43 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 11; pens: 14

SUSPENDED: DC: Eddie Johnson (through Aug. 24)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Fabian Espindola, Lewis Neal, Davy Arnaud, Chris Korb ? COL: Carlos Alvarez, Nick LaBrocca
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): United 17 wins (2 shootout), 61 goals ? Rapids 13 wins (1 shootout), 48 goals ? Ties 8
AT DC (19 meetings): United 11 wins (1 shootout), 38 goals ? Rapids 3 wins (1 shootout), 16 goals ? Ties 5

LAST YEAR (MLS)
7/7: COL 0, DC 0

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • The teams met once a season ago, playing to a scoreless draw July 7 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
  • Both teams had gone more than a decade between wins at the other?s home, before winning there in 2010. Colorado's win in Washington was their first in the nation's capital since 1999. United?s win in Colorado was their first in the Centennial State since 2000. Each of the last two meetings in each ground have ended in a home win and a draw.
  • Coaches record: Pablo Mastroeni v DC: first game | Ben Olsen vs. COL: P5 W2 L1 D2

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United lost their second game on the trot, falling 3-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. United are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Real opened the scoring after just 11 minutes. From some extended possession, Luke Mulholland put in a cross from the right and 5-foot-2 forward Joao Plata got in front of his marker to head home from close range.
  • Just two minutes later, RSL doubled the lead. After a corner wasn't cleared and came out to Javier Morales on the left, he drove in a hard, low ball to the near post that center back Chris Schuler turned home inside the near post.
  • Real put the game away in the 24th minute, as Morales and Schuler again hooked up, this time in slightly more conventional fashion. Morales drove in a corner kick from the right and Schuler headed home to put the game away early.
  • RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was called upon to make just two saves for the clean sheet, becoming the league's all-time record holder with 113 shutouts for his MLS career.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made three changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Chris Korb came into the back four for Taylor Kemp, and Nick DeLeon and Jared Jeffrey started in midfield in place of Lewis Neal and the suspended Perry Kitchen.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-4-1-1): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Korb - Nick DeLeon (David Estrada 77), Jared Jeffrey, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe (Lewis Neal 69) - Luis Silva (Fabian Espindola 49) - Eddie Johnson.

TEAM NEWS

  • D.C. United have lost back-to-back league games for the first time since the opening two games of the season, shut out for a second consecutive match in the defeat at Real Salt Lake.
  • "It was an extremely poor first half, obviously," said United head coach Ben Olsen. "We were just off the pace. They came in hungrier than we did; they came in with more energy, more commitment, and we're not a good enough team to not have a chip on our shoulder when we play. I think hopefully we learned that lesson."
  • United conceded as many as three goals in a game for the first time since a 3-2 loss at Portland on May 3, and have allowed three goals in a game just three times this season.
  • Two of the three goals conceded by United on the night came from set pieces. They have now allowed six goals from standard situations this season; the league-high is eight (Columbus, Philadelphia, Real Salt Lake).
  • "It's just as a team, we've got to make sure we're picking our guys up - our marks we've been given before the game, and make sure that we don't let them get to the ball. It's not always easy. We've got to do better on those situations," said Lewis Neal.
  • Added Olsen: "It's not like us. We've been pretty good with that stuff this year. Again, it's just important to learn from this and move on to try and fix it next week."
  • Fabian Espindola made his first appearance since suffering a knee injury on June 11, coming on early in the second half in place of Luis Silva.
  • "I think we had no chance against them," said Espindola. "[They are] great with the ball. They managed the entire game. They were the better team."
  • United have also lost back-to-back road games after winning three in a row away from RFK Stadium. Following the home match vs. Colorado, United hit the road for back-to-back away matches at Sporting KC and the LA Galaxy; they are in the midst of a stretch of seven league games out of nine away from home, with a road matc in the CONCACAF Champions League in Jamaica also included.
  • "We've got a hell of schedule coming up," said Neal. "We've just got to make sure, as much as this hurts - the defeat here and the performance is not good - we've got to try and put this one behind us very, very quickly. Move on to the home game against Colorado, and we play Champions' League midweek - you know, two home games and we've got to make sure we're back firing on all cylinders and make sure we go out there and get the points because we've got a very, very tough road trip - KC, LA, NY so it's going to be difficult period for us."
  • Eddie Johnson was suspended for two matches for an incident involving kicking the ball at RSL defender Carlos Salcedo in the 30th minute.
  • "Silly, silly play from him," said Olsen. "To put his team at risk. He should've been thrown out and I'm sure we'll see a suspension. It's not good enough. ... We'll go from there. We?ll adjust ? this isn?t the first time I?ve had to adjust."

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids fell to a third consecutive defeat, dropping a 3-1 decision to FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. The Rapids are in a tie for place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 23 games.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead with two goals in the first 11 minutes. The opener came in the ninth minute, when a corner was cleared but FCD maintained possession. Michel put in a cross from the right that Walker Zimmerman nodded goalward. The ball bounced off the hands of Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin and center back Matt Hedges pounced to put away the rebound.
  • A minute later, Colorado defender Marvell Wynne was adjudged to have fouled Dallas forward Tesho Akindele in the corner of the Rapids penalty area by referee Jose Carlos Rivero, and Michel duly converted the resulting spot kick to make it 2-0.
  • FC Dallas put the game away in the 56th minute as Michel again played provider, putting in a cross near the Colorado penalty spot. The ball slipped through to an onrushing Fabian Castillo from the right wing, and he finished crisply for the third FCD goal.
  • The Rapids pulled a goal back after FCD's Je-Vaughn Watson made contact with Gabriel Torres as he was going towards goal near the endline, and Rivero again pointed to the spot. Torres converted the penalty in the 86th minute to complete the scoring.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to Real Salt Lake at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Carlos Alvarez came into the team in place of Dillon Serna.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Christopher Klute, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch - Nick LaBrocca, Jose Mari - Vicente Sanchez (Dillon Serna 77), Dillon Powers, Carlos Alvarez (Gabriel Torres 69) - Deshorn Brown (Edson Buddle 66).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids suffered their third consecutive defeat - their longest losing skid of the campaign - in the defeat by FC Dallas. They have won just once since the start of July.
  • "Once again, I think we were our biggest enemies," Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "It comes down to concentration and focus. You've got to want to do anything you can. You've got to find a way to believe that you're not going to concede a goal in the first 15 minutes of any game. Right now, it happens once and our hearts go down, and then we start to do some silly things and the decisions that we make end up compromising the rest of the game. This is a learning experience and one that we've got to fix."
  • The Rapids have conceded seven goals over their three-game losing slide, allowing three goals twice in the stretch.
  • "Everybody, myself included, first and foremost, needs to go take a good, long hard look at ourselves in the mirror and ask if we're giving enough for this team," defender Drew Moor said. "Right now, I'm not, and I don't think anybody else in there would say they are, either."
  • The Rapids have also allowed four goals in the opening quarter-hour of the match during the skid, conceding two vs. FC Dallas. The Rapids had not allowed a goal in the opening 15 minutes before the New England loss on July 30.
  • "The few (chances) that dictated the result are the ones we have to focus in on, and when they come we don't know so you have to be tuned in for 90-plus minutes," Mastroeni said. "When you're sitting behind the 8-ball 15 minutes in, it's a really tough hole to crawl out of."
  • Said Moor: "We have to learn from some of these mistakes that we are making, and the way we are starting games. It's about digging deep and doing everything we possibly can before it's too late. You hate to get shut out on a game like this. We had a bunch of shots, a bunch of chances, looked dangerous, but just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net and we conceded too many. It's not the offense, it's not the defense, it's everybody collectively as a whole right now."
  • Gabriel Torres scored the lone Colorado goal from a penalty kick, snapping a 282-minute goalless drought for his club. Torres had scored the previous Rapids goal, the last tally in the 3-0 win vs. Chivas USA on July 25; they are his first two goals of the season.
  • "Overall, the guys played really well. They controlled pretty much the whole game," said Mastroeni. "It's those moments where you're not in control of the game is where you need to be sharpest, and we weren't creating chances, numerous chances, shots on goal, and just really dictating the flow of play. We lost in the one metric that is most important and that's the score."