Well, after the loss to Los Angeles Football Club and 0-0 draw with the Montreal Impact, it’s fair to say things are not going quite to plan for D.C. United. The shine of the first few games of the season has worn off and now we’re left wondering—is this all there is? Did we get ahead of ourselves?
Hard to say, of course. There’s still plenty of time left in the season and, happily, Wayne Rooney can return to the Black-and-Red’s lineup tonight.
It’s off to Colorado tonight to take on the Rapids, who are having a worse time of things than DCU, with no wins so far this year.
Can United step up and bag a road win? Or will the Rapids finally get three points?
We’re all aware of how bad D.C. United looked in the last couple of days, and not to further things but there are a couple of things that should make them skittish about going to Commerce Park and playing the Colorado Rapids. First is how threadbare they are on the wings. Conventional wisdom is they’ll play Jalen Robinson on one fullback side and Akeem Ward on the other though given his proclivity for other things, Ben Olsen may dust off the ‘Paul Arriola at starting outside back’ experiment again to maximize the offense. Because it should be noted that the Rapids are bad, starting off winless in their first six games and giving up the most goals in the League currently with 16, half of those in the last two games. Assuming Arriola starts on the wing I think he gets at least one (Colorado’s left side is comprised of 17-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett and in progress converted fullback Dillon Serna), and Wayne Rooney gets another as the team rights the ship and offsets a Nicolas Mezquida goal for a 2-1 win.
Donald Wine II
We travel to Colorado, but we get back our captain, who may still be feeling the effects of the flu in the mile high air. I expect Wayne Rooney to play, but to get substituted in the second half due to fatigue. It’s his replacement, Ulises Segura, who will assist on the game winner to Paul Arriola. Arriola gets one past Tim Howard for a 1-0 victory after a sluggish match.
It’s going to be a cold one in the Denver suburbs, with a predicted high of 45 degrees, but at least it shouldn’t be too windy. Colorado may have just scored three goals in one game, but that was against an Orlando team that has allowed 11 goals this season, tied for the most in the Eastern Conference (Montreal). I foresee a Wayne Rooney goal in the middle of the first half before a late Lucas Rodriguez insurance goal, as D.C. United wins 2-0 and gets right ahead of a full week off.
The Mile High Metro Area is always a difficult place to play as the visiting team. Coming to altitude on short rest and a shorter bench doesn’t feel great. I do think Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta get back in sync against what is not a good Rapids team. The two combine for a couple goals to give the Black-and-Red a 2-0 halftime lead, but United leaves several chances on the table, some because Old Tim Howard channels Young Tim Howard and some just because of finishing. The guests tire in the second half—again: altitude, short rest—and the hosts pull one back around the hour mark. The end is frustrating to watch but ultimately successful as los Capitalinos pull it out 2-1 for their second road W of the year.
Way back in the day, “at Colorado” used to be one of those games that United lost no matter how the teams were doing. Currently, however, the Black-and-Red haven’t lost a road game to the Rapids since 2011 (and that includes a 0-0 there in 2013, the season where the writers of this site might have had a shot against DCU). Rooney’s return and Colorado’s struggles this season—0 wins, 16 goals conceded in 6 games—are reason for optimism. However, United’s own defensive injury crisis and their heavier legs mean this game could become a weird shootout. Wazza strikes early from distance, and Lucas Rodriguez makes it 2-0 not long afterward by pouncing on a disastrous mix-up between Tim Howard and his center backs. Colorado fights back, though, with Benny Feilhaber and Kei Kamara scoring on either side of halftime to level the scores. United will be reeling, but just before they really start to show the fatigue we always see in games at elevation, Rooney bags a second on an assist from Lucho Acosta, and Bill Hamid makes sure the result stays in place from there. 3-2 DCU.
I don’t know—I’m kind of seeing a frustrating draw here. I do think we get goals after that 0-0 against Montreal (ugh), but I just have a feeling we’re not going to come away totally satisfied. This may not be a good Colorado team but I don’t see DCU at their best in this one. Rooney does show up to grab a goal and Segura gets in another, but the Rapids net two of their own and the teams have to split the points in a 2-2 draw.
What’s your prediction for tonight’s game? Share in the comments!
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