Saturday, April 2, 2011

DC United Against A Good Colorado Rapids Team

DC will face one of the few opponents they defeated last year, when they meet Conor Casey and the Rapids in Colorado. The home team is off to a great start this season, scoring four goals and being rewarded with two wins. Colorado is expected to start the same line-up they played on opening day which scored three goals. While Casey is a big target in the middle, his link-up play with Omar Cummings in the match. This combination will give DC's make-shift backline a a serious challenge. At midfield, Kurt Morsink and Dax McCarty will also need to fight to protect the ball and avoid goofy give aways that allow Colorado opportunities.

United's back line will again be without Perry Kitchen, but neither will DC have Dejan Jakovic (despite the league's quiet agreement that the red card last week was a poor call). DC United has options: Daniel Woolard played well in preseason and continues to do well in the reserve league, while Chris Korb (another one of those "Akron guys") was impressive in his first ever MLS start last week. However, goalkeeper Pat Onstad will have his work cut out for him, as he works to get this collection of good players to defend cohesively.

United will start a different attacking tandem than in the first game this week as Josh Wolff was downgraded to "out" on Thursday, due to a hamstring strain. Olsen has options here; Charlie Davies may be fit enough to start the game, while rookie Blake Brettschneider has been scoring regularly on the reserve squad and may get the call to start on Sunday night.

Prediction. Davies will start the match on Sunday, but don't be surprised if Brettschneider makes his MLS debut after the half (whether for Davies of Joseph Ngwenya). At midfield, last week's lineup will remain intact, but if Morsink is subbed-off during the second half, Olsen may well try Branko Boskovic, whose absence on the field this year has raised questions (and an admission by the coaching staff) about his lack of fitness.
On defense, Mark Burch may shift to centerback due to his experience, leaving Woolard to fill the left-back slot and deal with Cummings. An aggressive Colorado, hosting DC's make-shift defense, and a touch of altitude sickness will combine to vex DC; this game can well end 2-1 Colorado... but this author hopes he's wrong...

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