Cautious United Shuffles Ahead of Rapids

DC United coach Ben Olsen will have to shuffle his players once again ahead of Wednesday’s night match against the visiting Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium. He’ll also have to rely on the reigning league MVP, Dwayne DeRosario, to regain some of the form that earned him the coveted award if the Black-and-Red is to get the three points. Photo: Martin Fernandez.

Mounting injuries, including one to midfielder Perry Kitchen, will force United’s young coach to alter his line-up in the back once again. Luckily for DC, it is unlikely that Colorado will be able to field its two most dangerous attackers, Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, on Wednesday night.

Perry Kitchen will unlikely not see any time on Wednesday after suffering a knee injury in DC’s 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo. The team has been quiet about the midfielder’s prognosis, but I suspect he’ll be back sooner than later. Any serious injury would have already made headlines in the nation’s capital.

It is unclear whether or not Emiliano Dudar (hamstring), Dejan Jakovic (ankle), rookie Nick DeLeon (hamstring) or Marcelo Saragosa will see any time tomorrow night, but  given United’s upcoming schedule of two matches in four days, Olsen is bound to be cautious and not push any of them into a hasty return. I have a strong feeling Dudar will remain off the field for the foreseeable future again, caution being the driving factor on his return.

Still, Olsen does have  a solid set of players who have demonstrated they can be relied upon. Bill Hamid has been solid on goal since his return and left back Daniel Woolard, Chris Korb, Robbie Russel and Brandon McDonald all did satisfactory jobs in the back against the Dynamo. If it was not for a superb strike from veteran Houston midfielder Brad Davis the match may have ended 0-0. United’s back line and Bill Hamid will have to be alert though. Colorado is an explosive team that takes advantage of any opportunity, including set pieces.

With Kitchen possibly out of the line-up for at least this match, Olsen will have to rely on Stephen King or Branko Boskovic in the middle. My guess is that Olsen will call upon the Black-and-Red’s designated player for the effort, especially with back-to-back home games in four days. This is perhaps the best opportunity that Boskovic will have to assert himself back into the line-up and prove his worth.

Undoubtedly, we will see DeRo wreak havoc against Colorado. United’s MVP will be called upon to regain the form that allowed him to become one of the most decorated and successful players in MLS history. With winger Andy Najar returning to form, and Danny Cruz’s solid and consistent play on the opposite side, the trio should be able to manage the middle and flanks effectively.

The front line will likely undergo a shuffle much like the back line. Although Maicon Santos and Chris Pontius have been extremely effective, both players have minor knocks that may force Olsen to be cautious once again. I suspect we’ll see United’s other DP, Hamdi Salihi, in the starting line-up along side Chris Pontius, or DC’s Player/Coach Josh Wolff if Pontius is ruled out as well.

United is not “desperate” for a result, but the Black-and-Red would be well served if they gain the three points, especially since Wednesday’s match is the first of a three-game home-stand. United will then Play Toronto FC, the only winless team in the league obviously desperate for a result on Saturday, and long-time bitter rival, New England a week later.

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