- DC United will be missing Jaime Moreno and Fred to injury, while Colorado's Terry Cooke is dinged but probable, and their big man up top, Conor Casey, is in South Africa.
- United center back Dejan Jakovic is one yellow away from suspension, though if he manages to make it through the next three without a card, he'll get one yellow wiped for good behavior. I wonder if he makes it to the Gold Cup without incurring that suspension (if indeed Canada calls him up)?
- Counterstrike! From the little I've seen of Colorado, they appear to operate much like our previous opponent, the Sounders. Keep things simple and solid at the back and look to counter.
- Flank play. That said, it seems to me that more of Colorado's attacking buildup (when the counter is not on) comes down the flanks, something that United needs to be well aware of given that the three backs can get stretched by a team playing with width. The wide midfielders will have significant defensive responsibilities requiring lung-busting running.
- Tie me up! The Rapids are riding a six-game unbeaten run in the league, though many of those games ended in draws. United have discovered an uncanny ability to find late equalizers. Is a statistical convergence in the offing?
- Vengeance is mine! Gomez is going to get the start. Even with a healthy Fred, it would be hard to deny that the passion and ability still seem to be there for Christian. Combine that with his disappointing season in Colorado, and I think we'll see Gomez looking to prove a point. The question becomes, can he channel that passion properly, or does he end up trying to do too much?
Set the Table
- I'm hugely tempted to sit Burch, but I'm no fan of John either, so Burch starts in a big "meh?" selection on the back line. The rest of the back remains unchanged. We really need a left back.
- The defensive effort on the flanks is going to be key, so that means Wallace on the left and Quaranta on the right. Olsen is a bit of a gamble in the middle, particularly given the altitude and his time off, but I think we take that gamble with only Gomez also likely to require substitution. We'll need some extra feistiness in midfield that neither McTavish or Jacobson bring to the table (though one of those likely comes on fairly early for Olsen--Jacobson if we're down, McTavish if we're up). We really could use a mobile, gritty midfielder...Where is Vide again, and why did we sign a 25 year-old center back with no professional experience to our senior roster, only to send him to Bermuda every couple of weeks?
- I like the idea of getting Khumalo on as well, but probably as a sub (on for Gomez, Quaranta goes to attacking mid, Khumalo to the flank or up top with Pontius on the flank).
Aw, crud! Don't ask me to pick this one. The Rapids have been idle and are missing the guy who gets their goals, but they're on a pretty good run of results as well. We're sure to be tired from Wednesday and the travel, are missing a couple of creative pieces, but should have enough depth that we can challenge for a result. Then again, we've been pretty terrible in the Rockies (Salt Lake and Denver combined) for a while now...
And the Nostradameter says (drumroll please)...1-1 draw. United controls possession early, with Gomez and Quaranta both going close from range, and Colorado looking dangerous on the counter. A Burch and/or Jakovic brainfart lets the Rapids in early in the second for 1-0, after which they pour it on for a bit, but United emerge unscathed. More late heroics result in yet another equalizer at the death.
Go on, you great uncertain universe, prove me wrong!