A quick look at the MLS standings makes it clear that D.C. United’s trip west to face the Colorado Rapids is probably not going to have major consequences in the 2017 season. To make the playoffs, United realistically has to run the table, which seems...unlikely. The Rapids, fresh off of firing Pablo Mastroeni this week and with one win in eight games, are not completely sunk yet but have already turned the focus towards the future.
Key player: Patrick Mullins
This season has gone about as badly as it possibly could for Mullins, who has dealt with two substantial injuries while barely ever seeing the field at the same time as Luciano Acosta. It’s mid-August, and he’s only played 474 minutes; his last start came on May 20th, and those interruptions are certainly part of the reason he hasn’t scored in his 474 minutes of playing time.
However, with Deshorn Brown injured, Sebastien Le Toux released, and Bruno Miranda having only just arrived, Mullins will get his best shot in a long time at getting back on track. The Rapids have had no consistency in the back this season due to injuries of their own, and with Acosta and Paul Arriola in the fold, there’s a good chance the scoring opportunities Mullins needs will be there. If that proves true, it’ll be on him to step his game up and put the ball in the back of the net. In a game with two low-scoring teams, one may be enough.
Location: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, CO)
Kickoff time: 9:00pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4231) - Bill Hamid; Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare, Chris Odoi-Atsem; Russell Canouse, Jared Jeffrey; Lloyd Sam, Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola; Patrick Mullins
Bench: Steve Clark, Jalen Robinson, Chris Korb, Marcelo Sarvas, Nick DeLeon, Bruno Miranda
The concussion Brown picked up last week coupled with the choice to loan Julian Buescher to Rochester means United will face this game only 17 players available. However, there is one wrinkle with the goalkeeping situation, as our Steven Streff noted last night:
#DCU's keeper Eric Klenofsky posted a picture tonight of him flying to Colorado. Are United in need of replacement for Hamid or Clark?— Steven Streff (@streffsoccer) August 19, 2017
As of now, we have no word about whether this has to do with an injury, a snag in Clark’s paperwork, or something else. It’s something to keep an eye on for sure as the game approaches
Projected Rapids starting 11: (442) - Tim Howard; Eric Miller, Jared Watts, Kortne Ford, Mekeil Williams; Marlon Hairston, Micheal Azira, Mohammed Saeid, Shkelzen Gashi; Kevin Doyle, Dominique Badji
This is pretty much just a guess, given that this will be Steve Cooke’s first game in charge of the Rapids. Mike da Fonte is suspended, opening up a spot for Williams at left back. New signing Luis Gil could take part, while German winger Stefan Aigner seems unlikely to play given that he arrived in the US yesterday.
Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Available TV: NewsChannel 8 and regional affiliates (check the link for the over-the-air alternate channel in your area), including CW Richmond in RVA.
Available streaming: MLS Live for those outside the blackout radius
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What do we have to say about it?: I spent some time ruminating on the likely Rapids lineup, while we also covered the probable United starters and talked about this game in the second half of Filibuster.
What are you drinking?: Gin and tonic again? Why not!
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