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D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids 2016: Game time, TV schedule and live stream for MLS

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United will have to break down a Rapids side that is built around defense if they're going to pick up their first win of 2016.

Thus far in 2016, D.C. United has had flashes of good play in Mexico and in LA, and they got part of the equation right last week in restricting the Revolution to poor shots. This evening against the Colorado Rapids, they need to show that they can put all of those bits and pieces together into a coherent 90 minutes while also eliminating the issues that plagued them against Queretaro, the Galaxy, and New England (that'd be late/early goals against, an inability to defend set pieces, and an inability to sustain an attack, respectively).

The Rapids were one of MLS's worst teams in 2015, and while they have improved their roster, most of their good moves are unavailable. Shkelzen Gashi is suspended, as is Jermaine Jones (I swear, next week we can avoid talking about him). Marco Pappa is probably fit for no more than 35-45 minutes. On top of that, Colorado hasn't addressed some of their tactical issues, playing a similar brand of cautious, predictable soccer to the one that saw them score less than one goal per game last season. They have also managed to beat United in DC just twice in the last 16 years.

In other words, this is a game that United should be winning. It won't come easy against the stingy Rapids defense - playing cautious soccer does have some benefits, after all - but finding a way to beat one of MLS's worst teams at home is something the Black-and-Red need to be able to pull off at this point in time. DC may be a work in progress, but the expectation today will be for nothing less than a win. It's on United to respond to that pressure in the right way.

Key player: Patrick Nyarko

Nyarko, who appears set to return from a concussion suffered against the Galaxy, might be United's key to breaking the Rapids down. Colorado is very solid up the middle, but their defending on the flanks is pretty suspect. Nyarko should be able to get around anyone Colorado can put out at right back, but that's a feeling we've had before. He needs to make sure that it happens frequently, because when they're not forced to stretch out to defend the wings, Colorado can be very difficult to open up defensively.

He'll also have to be sharp defensively, as the Rapids will swap their wingers throughout the game in an effort to find a look that works for them. Sean Franklin will need to be quick to adapt to the various wide men Pablo Mastroeni will throw at him, but he's going to need some help from Nyarko as well. On a day where the weather promises a game that isn't exactly a feast for the eyes, Nyarko is probably going to be critical on both sides of the ball.

Location: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington, DC)

Kick-off time: 5:00pm Eastern

Available TV: ESPN2 (English), ESPN Deportes (Spanish)

Available streaming: WatchESPN (English)

For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.

Our gamethread will be posted 1 hour before kickoff.