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7:30 pm ET (CSN)
Two teams in desperate need of putting together a good string of results battle at RFK Stadium on Wednesday. D.C. United saw their winless streak stretch to four games at the weekend in a loss to San Jose, and though they are now still in third place they are just two points out of last place and missing the playoffs. The Colorado Rapids have won just once in their last six matches and are now tied for fourth place in the Western Conference - just two points ahead of the last-place Earthquakes themselves.
REFEREE: Kevin Terry. SAR (bench): Thomas Supple; JAR (opposite): Chip Reed; 4th: Erich Simmons
MLS Career: 95 games; FC/gm: 30.4; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 32; pens: 41
Games involving United: P10 W5 L4 T1; FC/gm: 32.1; Y/gm: 2.4; R: 2; pens: 4
Games involving Rapids: P15 W5 L8 T2; FC/gm: 29.5; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 2; pens: 3
INJURY REPORT: D.C. UNITED - OUT: FW Thiago Martins (L knee surgery); FW Eliseo Quintanilla (R fractured fibula); FW Santino Quaranta (adductor surgery); DF Ryan Nelsen (abdominal surgery); GK Nick Rimando (R knee surgery); PROBABLE: DF Mike Petke (L quadriceps strain). ... COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: FW Rey Angel Martinez (L toe); DF Pablo Mastroeni (L quadriceps strain); MD Darryl Powell (L hamstring strain); FW Jean-Philippe Peguero (abdominal strain); DF Jeff Stewart (R knee); FW Zizi Roberts (R knee swelling); PROBABLE: DF Gary Sullivan (L leg stress fracture)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DC: Bryan Namoff (through Aug. 11)
YELLOW PERIL: DC: Josh Gros (18 CP); Ben Olsen (17 CP); Mike Petke (19 CP) ... COL: Kyle Beckerman (20 CP); Darryl Powell (18 CP); Nat Borchers (20 CP)
This is the third and final meeting between the two teams this season, the second at RFK. The Rapids won the first at home, before the teams played to a dour scoreless draw in their last meeting, June 12 in Washington.
Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon was called upon to make eight saves on the evening, but despite missing both first-choice center backs the Rapids defense soaked up all the pressure and was not beaten.
Here's Peter Nowak's team (3-1-4-2): Troy Perkins - Brandon Prideaux, Ryan Nelsen (David Stokes 46), Mike Petke - Brian Carroll - Earnie Stewart, Dema Kovalenko, Ben Olsen, Joshua Gros - Ronald Cerritos (Freddy Adu 64), Jaime Moreno.
Here's Tim Hankinson's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Antonio de la Torre, Ritchie Kotschau, Gary Sullivan (Rey Angel Martinez 55), Matt Crawford - Seth Trembly, Kyle Beckerman, Darryl Powell, Chris Henderson - Zizi Roberts, John Spencer
The Rapids won the first meeting this season, defeating United 2-1 on May 22 to extend their unbeaten streak at home to an MLS-record 16 games.
Zizi Roberts put the home side ahead after 13 minutes when he redirected home a terrific overhead kick from Jean-Philippe Peguero. Josh Gros brought United level two minutes after the halftime break with his first professional goal, hammering home a rolling cross played through the area from Earnie Stewart.
But it took Colorado just four minutes to answer, Peguero diving to head home a Mark Chung knockdown of a deep Chris Henderson cross from the right corner. For Henderson, the assist gave him the Colorado Rapids all-time scoring lead with 101 points.
A year ago, the teams met three times, with a pair of draws followed by a gritty D.C. United win. On April 26 at Invesco Field, the clubs played to a 1-1 draw (Spencer 24 pen - Etcheverry 7), then on June 11, they played to a scoreless draw in Washington. Then on Aug. 13 (another midweek meeting), United won 1-0 on a 31st-minute goal from Eliseo Quintanilla.
The Rapids haven't won in their last five visits to RFK Stadium (since 2000), with three draws in that time. Colorado has scored just two goals in that stretch - United just five.
United won the first five league meetings between the clubs (one by shootout), but since, Colorado has won six of the 16 meetings and United five (with five draws). United also won the lone postseason meeting between the teams, a 2-1 victory in the 1997 MLS Cup Final.
Five of the last seven meetings have involved shutouts - including scoreless ties each of the past two years.
Chris Henderson is the Rapids all-time leader against United with 5 goals, 2 assists; for his MLS career, he has 6 goals, 5 assists v United. John Spencer is second on the club list with 4 goals, 1 assist. Mark Chung has 8 goals, 8 assists for his career against United, but just two assists have come while in Colorado.
Ronald Cerritos leads current United players with 8 goals, 3 assists v Colorado, but has not played against the Rapids while in Black-and-Red. Jaime Moreno is second on United's all-time list with 7 goals, 4 assists. Dema Kovalenko has 3 goals, 2 assists v Colorado for his career (none while with United). Raul Diaz Arce leads United's all-time record against the Rapids with 9 goals.
Coaches record: Peter Nowak vs. COL: P2 W0 L1 T1 ... Tim Hankinson v DC: P17 W6 L6 T5
ALL-TIME (21 meetings): United 10 wins (2 shootout), 38 goals ... Rapids 6 wins (1 shootout), 28 goals ... 5 draws
AT RFK STADIUM (10 meetings): United 5 wins (1 shootout), 19 goals ... Rapids 2 wins (1 shootout), 10 goals ... 3 draws
In a dominant victory at Spartan Stadium, Brian Mullan provided the only goal of the first half when he finally found home, putting back a rebound of a wild pinball sequence in the United area (17).
The Quakes hit the woodwork three times and had a header cleared off the line, but finally doubled their lead seven minutes before the end on a world-class strike from Dwayne De Rosario, who picked a Mullan cross out of midair and nearly ripped the net off its moorings with a full volley that United 'keeper Troy Perkins could only stand and admire.
"We didn't come out to play and we could've been down 3-0 - we were lucky," midfielder Dema Kovalenko said. "The second half was better, but we didn't create enough chances. We've got to go back to work and turn it around."
United coach Peter Nowak made five changes to the team that lost to the Dallas Burn 5-1 in the last match before the All-Star break, as United returned to something closer to full fitness. The biggest change was the loss of Mike Petke to a hamstring injury in training the day before the match, which meant that Nowak made a return to three defenders, Brandon Prideaux coming back into the team while David Stokes returned to the substitutes bench.
Earnie Stewart, Ben Olsen, Dema Kovalenko all returned to the lineup, coming into the midfield for Nana Kuffour and Kevin Ara, while Alecko Eskandarian returned from suspension for Freddy Adu.
Here's Nowak's team (3-1-4-2): Troy Perkins - Brandon Prideaux, Ezra Hendrickson, Bryan Namoff - Brian Carroll - Earnie Stewart, Ben Olsen, Dema Kovalenko (Nana Kuffour 83), Joshua Gros - Alecko Eskandarian (Freddy Adu 73), Jaime Moreno
United now has the worst road record in the league, with just one victory and three draws in 10 away matches. On the eight goals on their travels, two have come through own goals. "You can almost say at this point there's a curse on us, but there's no excuse, no reason why we don't play well on the road," goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. "We really prepared ourselves well this week, but I don't know what happened."
D.C. United saw their winless streak extended to four matches, defeated for the second consecutive match in a 2-0 loss away to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night. Still, United are firmly ensconced in third place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 19 matches, now 11 points adrift of the first-place MetroStars, four behind second-place Columbus Crew and two ahead of New England and Chicago.
The match seemed destined for a draw after the Burn were left with nine men, Simo Valakari (57) and Brad Davis (72) both sent off for second bookable offenses, and neither side really threatening.
But then just as the full 90 minutes rolled over, Ritchie Kotschau pulled back substitute Bobby Rhine in the box, and referee Ricardo Valenzuela made no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon guessed correctly on Eddie Johnson's penalty, but the youngster still slipped it past his dive for his seventh goal on the season.
Rapids coach Tim Hankinson made no changes from the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 in their last match before the All-Star Game.
Here's Hankinson's team (4-3-1-2): Joe Cannon - Antonio de la Torre, Ritchie Kotschau, Nat Borchers, Matt Crawford - Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman, Mark Chung - Jordan Cila (John Spencer 46) - Alberto Delgado (Rey Angel Martinez 66 / Gary Sullivan 85), Jean Philippe Peguero
The Rapids reserve side, Boulder Rapids Reserve, lost 1-0 to Central Florida Kraze in the finals of the USL's Premier Development League (fourth division) in Orlando on Saturday night.
The Colorado Rapids lost for the first time in three matches, a late penalty giving a nine-man Dallas Burn an improbable 1-0 victory on Saturday night at the Cotton Bowl. The victory pulled the Burn into a third-place tie with the Rapids in the Western Conference, both teams with 26 points, the Rapids having played 20 matches (one more than Dallas). The clubs are just two points ahead of last-place San Jose Earthquakes, seven behind the pace-setting Los Angeles Galaxy.