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Espindola rescues a point for United in 1-1 draw with Colorado

Washington, D.C., March 20, 2016 – D.C. United is still without a victory in 2016 but Fabian Espindola’s 80th minute strike salvaged a point in the home opening 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids tonight at RFK Stadium.

In a match that has come to define both teams in recent seasons, it wasn’t exactly Barca vs Real Madrid but the final twenty minutes had plenty of action that saw both teams earn a point. United (0-1-2, 2 points) fell behind on a Dillon Powers header in the 69th minute against the run of play. Although United had managed the tempo of the match to their liking through the first hour, it was once again set piece marking, or lack there of, that put United behind. Just a minute before the Rapids got the opener, United should have taken the lead when Lamar Neagle set up Steve Birnbaum beautifully in front of goal only to see his volley rocket over the goal.

On the ensuing run down the other end of the field Marco Pappa swung in a corner and Powers simply out hustled United and got to the ball first as Travis Worra was helpless to react in goal. It is the first goal Worra has given up in MLS, his second consecutive start and third game overall. Perhaps more ominous, it was the third set piece goal given up by United so far in three matches.

United responded well to the deficit and equalized in the 80th minute through substitute Fabian Espindola. Espindola, who has had a rather busy week after welcoming the birth of a daughter on Tuesday, got United level by finishing off a harried sequence in the penalty area after great initial service from left back Taylor Kemp.

The Maryland graduate whipped in his trademark left-footed cross that was misplayed by fellow Maryland alum goalkeeper Zac MacMath in the area where Patrick Nyarko pounced and sent a shot goal bound. Unfortunately former United defender Marc Burch nicely saved the ball off the line only to see it bounce straight to Espindola who took one touch before rifling a right-footed shot into the goal for his first goal of the season.

United very nearly took the lead just two minutes later when Espindola ripped a shot just over the crossbar from a tight angle and then set up Alvaro Saborio with a header attempt in front of goal only to see the shot weakly hit into the arms of MacMath.

Up next for United is a match on Saturday afternoon when FC Dallas comes to town. Both squads will be missing players for World Cup qualifiers being played over the next ten days.

United Notes

  • US goalkeeper Tim Howard was in the house today as he announced his signing with the Colorado Rapids, effective after the Premier League season ends in May. Howard will be eligible to play for the Rapids once the summer transfer window opens in June
  • United will be missing defender Steve Birnbaum (USA) and most likely forward Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) for their match on Saturday against FC Dallas. FC Dallas will be missing up to seven players for World Cup qualifiers as well as the USA U-23 teams two-leg knockout round with Colombia starting early next week

Birnbaum’s late header salvages United effort in 1-1 draw in Colorado

Commerce City, Colorado, September 12, 2015 – D.C. United scored in the 87th minute to salvage a poor performance and capture a valuable point in their 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids last night at Dicks Sporting Goods Park.

Steve Birnbaum’s towering header over the Rapids defense from a Fabian Espindola cross saved yet another unimaginative performance from United and helped to prevent a four-game losing streak. The point for United pushed them back into a tie with New York Red Bulls (45 point apiece – however United are behind via head-to-head and also have played three more games then Red Bull) and just ahead of the Columbus Crew SC 44 points).

With 12 days off between tonight’s match and the ugly 3-0 loss at Red Bull, it was expected that United would come out with a decidedly different attitude and tactical approach but it was more of the same that we have seen during United’s recent stretch of poor play. Putting numbers behind the ball, poor transition from defense to offense, senseless giveaways of the ball all over the field and no ability of the forwards to hold the ball to bring the midfield into play.

So it wasn’t exactly shocking when the Rapids took the lead in the 28th minute on a goal that has typified United’s recent frustrations. Colorado had a free kick sent into the penalty area that initially popped straight up into the air at the top of the box with no one on either team really tracking the ball. It eventually found the left foot of Bobby Burling who simply put a hopeful left-footed swing on the ball and it managed to find it’s way through a thicket of players and in off the far post for the 1-o lead.

Both teams were struggling to put any offense together as both teams spent the majority of the game taking turns turning the ball over to one another. However the home side had the lead and it was up to United to change the tone of the match.

With their backs against the wall and staring straight into a four-game losing streak United finally started to put together some cohesive play to at least threaten the Rapids. United’s best chance prior to the goal was when Chris Rolfe fed a pass to Espindola in the area that was a touch too heavy as Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin just beat Fabi to the ball.

United did finally get the point they were looking for thanks to the superior athletic ability of Birnbaum. Taylor Kemp slipped his free kick down the left flank to Espindola who then whipped in a left-footed cross to the far post where Birnbaum rose at least a foot above a Rapids defender to power his header past Irwin who did manage to get a hand to the shot before it found it’s way into the goal.

With a sense of relief of scoring such an important goal despite another awful performance flowing through the team, United were almost burned for relaxing when the Rapids should have nabbed the game-winner in stoppage time. United once again were second-best to a loose ball in the penalty area when Burling found Lucas Pittanari wide-open at the penalty spot.

With no one but Hamid in his way, the Argentine midfielder managed to whiff completely on the ball. The Rapids stayed with the play and still managed a shot towards goal but Hamid was there to make the game-saving play and keep the draw intact..

Up next for United in MLS is a home game against the surging Crew at RFK Stadium next Saturday night. Columbus trails United by just one point in the standings with Columbus with a game in hand.

Before that however United will host Arabe Unido on Tuesday night in CONCACAF Champions League play. A win will see United advance to the knockout stages next February. No doubt Olsen will continue to put out a reserve side for the match as the reserves have taken both of their prior matches in Group H play. United defeated Arabe Unido 1-0 in Panama City last month on an 85th minute goal by rookie Miguel Aguilar who leads the team in scoring in the competition with two goals.

Second-half surge vaults United to 4-2 win over Colorado

After back-to-back disappointing road losses, D.C. United returned to RFK Stadium fueled by a Luis Silva brace and a 3-goal second-half outburst in their 4-2 win over the Colorado Rapids last night.

Silva’s double was his sixth and seventh goals of the season (career high) and set the tone for an enthralling match that saw both sides attacking at will, particularly in the second half.

Silva got the scoring started in the 13th minute thanks in part to a nice interception by defender Taylor Kemp. Kemp, filling in for injured starter Chris Korb, stepped in front of a slow-reacting Nick LaBrocca and pushed his pass into the path of Silva. With Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin and defender Drew Moor bearing down on him, Silva cut back on the ball and neatly chipped over the prone Irwin to give United the 1-0 lead. Unfortunately on the play, it appeared that Moor injured his right knee and was forced out of the match.

A mostly uneventful half from that point on got more interesting at the stroke of half time when United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was forced to make a reaction save on a close-range shot from Vincente Sanchez.

After the break the game broke wide open with the visitors leveling the match on a stunning goal from midfielder Dillon Serna in the 52nd minute. Hamid’s routine back pass clearance was headed by defender Jared Watts over a much-too-high line from United’s defense and Serna pounced on a bouncing ball and unleashed a 30-yard volley that dipped wickedly over the head of Hamid and into the goal.

Seemingly fueled by the indiscretion, United snapped into action and nearly equalized on numerous occasions, the best being a Fabian Espindol chip-shot off the crossbar with the rebound shot from Sean Franklin being well saved by Irwin. Franklin would also narrowly miss from 22-yards just a few minutes later as well as a Luis Silva bid hitting side-netting after some lovely approach work by Nick DeLeon to set up the chance.

United however would get the go-ahead goal in fine fashion in the 67th minute thanks to more good combination work along the right sideline between Franklin, DeLeon and Perry Kitchen. Franklin started the play pinned against the right sideline by the Rapids defense. His touch pass found DeLeon who one-timed a flick pass over his head to Kitchen who burst into the area. Kitchen somehow managed to push the ball into the path of Franklin who set up Silva to beat Irwin to his right and give United a 2-1 lead.

United increased the lead in the 81st minute when Kemp went on a 60-yard run down the left sideline and his perfectly weighted pass into the penalty area between three Rapids players found Chris Rolfe who expertly side-footed his shot past Irwin.

United were not done yet and pushed the lead to 4-1 in the 86th minute when substitute David Estrada took advantage of a poorly cleared header by Watts and set up Espindola for his team-leading 8th goal. Espindola by all rights should have increased United’s lead even further but his one-v-one attempt on Irwin in stoppage time was well saved.

Colorado would save face just a bit in the 91st when they pulled a goal back through some hard work from Dillon Powers. The second-year man from Notre Dame did well to hold possession in the penalty area and was forced to the end line by United defender Steve Birnbaum. However Powers’ pulled off an audacious chip that somehow stayed in bounds and floated to the far post where Deshorn Brown was waiting to head into the goal.

With the important three points gained after a dreadful fortnight on the road, United now faces their opening match  in the CONCACAF Champions League when they welcome Jamaican side Waterhouse FC into RFK. Waterhouse already has a 2-1 road win over Panamanian side Tauro FC under their belts, just adding to the pressure United has in light of their brutal schedule ahead of them.

After the match on Wednesday, United goes on the road for a Saturday/Wednesday trip to Sporting Kansas City and the Los Angeles Galaxy respectively, two places United has not fared well in their history.

 

United vs Colorado: United earn tough road point in 0-0 draw in Mile High City

Once again D.C. United offered very little offensively in the final third of the field but desperate defending and solid goalkeeping from Joe Willis earned the Black-and-Red a solid road point in their 0-0 draw last night against the home side Colorado Rapids.

United was shut out for the 8th time in 9 road matches so far this season and the 12th time overall through 19 matches this season.

Most of Colorado’s chances on the evening had a lot to do with United’s shaky performance in trying to pass out of trouble in the defense third of the field. Countless errors led to many chances, most coming from the fleet feet of Jamaican forward DaShorn Brown. The speedy rookie had an early chance tipped over the bar by Willis inside the first ten minutes of the match. Brown was easily the most dangerous player on the field and United struggled to keep up with him. United midfielder Sainey Nyassi, no slouch in the speed department himself, struggled most of the night just to keep up with Brown.

United continued theirs season-long struggle in front of goal with only a 50-yard attempted chip of the goalkeeper by Carlos Ruiz and a Drew Moor headed clearance off the goal line being United’s only threats during the first half. While the tempo of the game overall improved in the second half for both sides, the chances were mainly coming from the home side. Chris Pontius dragged a left-footed shot well wide of the goal in the 48th minute and Ruiz’ effort midway through the second half was easily handled by Colorado keeper Clint Irwin. That was the extent of United’s offense on the evening and they were left defending for the remainder of the match.

Late in the match Joe Willis made a number of key saves from close range as many of the Rapids’ chances were created either through mistakes by United’s young back line or just plain old bad bounces that seemed to land on the feet of most Rapid attackers. Be that as it may, Willis stoned all of the chances and earned his first shutout of the season for United.

United’s next league game won’t be for another 13 days when they travel to Chicago to face the Fire on Saturday, July 20th. In the meantime, United will host Mexican icons Chivas De Guadalajara in an international friendly on Friday night at RFK Stadium. The match will be televised on ESPN2 starting at 8pm EST

United Notes

  • Taylor Kemp made his first start for United at left back in league play and was most impressive. In particular were the handful of crosses that just missed forwards Ruiz and Chris Pontius in the box
  • Dwayne De Rosario and Nick DeLeon both stayed in Washington as expected considering the two-week layoff ahead of their next league match

 

United Cruise to 2-0 Win Over Rapids

Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi scored on either side of halftime to help D.C. United to a comfortable 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium in Washngton D.C. With the win United jumped into a tie for second place with Sporting Kansas City.

Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi scored on either side of halftime to help D.C. United to a comfortable 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium tonight.

United vs Colorado: United cruise to 2-0 win over Rapids

Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi scored on either side of halftime to help D.C. United to a comfortable 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium tonight. With the win United (6-4-3  21 pts) jumped into a tie for second place with idol Sporting Kansas City, just behind Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bull (22 pts). United also equaled their win total at RFK from last season in only their seventh match of the season (4-1-2).

Head coach Ben Olsen made a number of changes to the lineup with the Black-and-Red in the midst of a three match in 8-day stretch (all at home). Lewis Neal, Hamdi Salihi and Branko Boskovic were brought into the side in favor of Danny Cruz, Maicon Santos and Chris Pontius and the replacements didn’t miss a beat as all three played a part in both United goals.

In the 24th minute, Neal sent a defense-splitting pass to De Rosario who walked in one-v-one with Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens and the  Canadian sniper slipped it past Pickens for his third goal of the season and the 1-0 lead. United continued to pour on the pressure and if not for the heroics in net by Pickens, United could have arguably been up by four or five goals by halftime. As it was, Pickens made sensational back-t0-back saves on De Ro from 25 yards and the point-blank header from Robbie Russell on the ensuing corner kick just seconds after United took the lead. Najar and Salihi were also stoned by Pickens as the teams went to the break with United leading 1-0.

After the break, Colorado went to 3-5-2 formation and starting pressing forward in search of the equalizer. However, it was United who would score the games remaining goal in fine fashion. Lewis Neal was sent down the left flank on a counter attack in the 60th minute and his pinpoint cross met the head of Boskovic only to see Pickens make another spectacular reaction save. Salihi trailed the play all the way and scooped up the parried shot and scored from the ground as he almost overran the initial shot from Boskovic. The goal was Salihi’s third of the season and was tough luck for his much maligned Designated Player team mate Boskovic. Boskovic certainly deserved better as he arguably played his best game in a United shirt in league play and is certainly worthy of a recall for this weekends match up with win less Toronto FC (0-8-0).

United will take on Toronto FC this Saturday night at 7:30pm at RFK Stadium. The match will be televised locally on Comcast Sportsnet.

United Notes

  • Dejan Jakovic made the subs bench for the first time since injuring his ankle in a 2-0 win over New England in April
  • Maicon Santos (resting), Nick DeLeon (hamstring) and Emiliano Dudar (hamstring) were held out of the 18-man squad
  • Robbie Russell left the match with a suspected groin injury, adding further woes to United’s defensive corp.

 

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.

DC Ties Colorado, Loses Davies

DC United perhaps got a bit unlucky to only manage a draw with the defending MLS champion, Colorado Rapids. After the Rapids jumped out to an early lead, United’s Chris Pontius (pictured) earned and kicked in a penalty kick to earn the point for DC. However, DC got extremely unlucky to lose a few players to injury, including league leading scorer, Charlie Davies.

Visiting Colorado jumped out in the lead midway through the first half as United’s set piece defense failed once again. Drew Moor drew a sketchy free kick down the left side and Colorado’s Jamie Smith stroked a lovely ball into the area that struck DC defender Dejan Jakovic in the back. The ball fell right to Moor, who had gotten behind DC’s Ethan White a bit too easily, and the Colorado defender poked it into the net before DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid could react.

Then the injuries set in for United, who lost both starting strikers in the first half to leg injuries. First it was Davies, who appeared to have pulled a hamstring and had to come out. The injury could not have come at a worse time for Davies as US coach Bob Bradley was in attendance and was mulling over bringing Davies back into the US team for the first time since his horrific injury over 19 months ago.

Barely 5 minutes after Santino Quaranta had replaced Davies, his partner Josh Wolff was replaced by Joseph Ngwenya after being forced off due to a groin injury. United, who had not been playing particularly well to that point, began to look even worse with the shakeup to the starting lineup.

Having already been forced into burning two subs in the first half, United’s bad luck continued as Quaranta sprung United captain Dax McCarty behind Colorado’s defense, and on his way to a clear breakaway McCarty was tripped from behind by Moor. Incredibly, Moor escaped a clear red card offense with merely a yellow card.

Ben Olsen must have made a clear impression on the team during half time as DC began the second half much more active and determined and clearly deserved the tying goal, if not to win the game outright. But again bad luck and poor refereeing kept the team from more than a point.

In the 56th minute, Quaranta again clipped a lovely pass into Ngwenya dancing through the Colorado penalty area, where Colorado’s Larentowicz clearly tripped Ngwenya for an obvious penalty kick, but referee Terry Vaughn refused United’s pleas.

Vaughn did make the next call however, as a few minutes later, DC’s Chris Pontius pulled off a nice move to get behind Rapid defender Tyrone Marshall and into the box, where he cleverly shielded the ball from Colorado right back Koske Kimura, drawing the contact from behind and earning the penalty kick this time. Pontius hammered the ball past Colorado keeper Matt Pickens to complete the scoring.

Both teams had a flurry of half chances in the last 15 minutes, but in the end none were that threatening and the teams shared the points.

With the tie, United has now collected 5 points in an undefeated 3 game home stand to remain solidly mid table in the Eastern conference, sorely needed points as DC heads out on the road for two straight games at Portland and LA after a week off during which United has a friendly with Ajax of the Dutch Heredivisie.

DC Hopes to Keep Rolling Over the Rapids

United riding a two game unbeaten streak at home hopes to keep the good times rolling when the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids, with their own three game unbeaten streak, comes to RFK this Saturday night.

A young and inconsistent DC side has a golden opportunity to expand on a banner four point week by going for their first three game unbeaten streak in almost a year by taking advantage of a severely weakened Colorado team that has only managed one win in RFK since 1999.

To be honest, DC United has been a bit lucky to beat Seattle and tie Dallas for four crucial points this past week that has seen them claw back into relevancy in the Eastern conference. DC worked very hard to earn the win over the Sounders, but Seattle had chances to tie for sure, and while Dallas certainly didn’t do enough to win, DC did barely much more. So, this match could go a long way to deciding whether this DC United team is actually credible or just pretty lucky.

Colorado will be without their most dangerous attackers considering Omar Cummings sprained an ankle versus Houston last week and Caleb Folan, who punished DC with two incisive goals a few weeks ago, is out with a groin strain. Captain Cranium, Conor Casey is barely back to health too, so perhaps DC will avoid that battering ram too.

Still, a weakened Colorado managed to beat Houston and escape NE with a 0-0 draw, both places DC floundered notably, as indeed the Rapids brutally dispatched DC mere weeks ago 4-1 in Denver in an epic 15 minute collapse at the end of that match.

Colorado will still field a pretty decent side however as Quincy Amarikwa and draft pick Andre Akpan, both with game winning goals this year, are likely to start at forward. Very likely Scotsman Jaime Smith (goal and an assist in the last two weeks) and Kosuke Kimura or Wells Thompson will man the flanks for Colorado coach Gary Smith.

There’s no doubt who will police the center of the field for the Rapids though as Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz are all but cemented in stone. And in defense, it’s pretty likely Scott Palguta, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, and Marvel Wynne will be Smith’s lineup across the back with Matt Pickens in goal.

Considering DC will almost certainly field a very similar, if not exact, lineup from the Dallas game, then DC has some decent advantages. Olsen can’t hardly be faulted for playing Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff at forward, Chris Pontius, Dax McCarty, Clyde Simms (or Stephen King) and Andy Najar across midfield from left to right. And also in keeping his retooled defense, that staunched 8 goals in two previous league matches to 1 goal in two matches this past week, totally intact. So, if Perry Kitchen, Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White, and Daniel Woolard don’t start the next match, then Olsen needs his head examined or it’s pretty clear that Payne and Kasper need a stake through their hearts.

So, looking at the matchups, DC has the advantages if they choose to accept their roles as favorites, not always the case lately.

Anyway, going forward, DC has some huge hopes with league leading scorer Davies and his recently discovered muse Josh Wolff being way more than the ancient Marshall, Moor, Palguta, or even Wynne can contend with. For sure Pontius and the recently rejuvenated Najar in support or simply crashing the backside can overwhelm any combination of Colorado defenders whatsoever even assuming McCarty and King or Simms runs into a brick wall (literally).

Defensively, DC has dodged a bullet as the speedy Cummings and the cruelly effective Folan are out. Perhaps Casey causes trouble in his first game back, but even similar cannonballs Amarikwa and Akpan are not all that scary as a hobbled and cautious Casey. Especially as Smith and Kimura will not easily defeat Kitchen and Woolard or even Jed Zayner and Marc Burch should either f those two find their way onto the field.

Even better, the trends clearly favor DC. Colorado has only won once here in RFK since 1999 when Jorge Dely Valdez phoned home. True the most recent loss was last year, but seriously, who didn’t win here last year? Aside from that loss, and btw DC won in Colorado last year for the first time since 2000 so perhaps we are trading flukes, Colorado has just been pummeled here in RFK since the league’s inception. Losing the ’97 MLS Cup to DC and going 2-10-3 in RFK since the league was founded.

DC has recently decided to show some backbone at home going 2-0-2 so far this year outside of that hideous NY loss, and Colorado have hardly been world beaters outside of Denver going 1-2-1 on the road with the only win being a 1-0 victory over hapless ChivasUSA.

Both teams have recently found their form of late, but while Colorado has found it at the cost of some pretty crucial players, DC has found it in spite of the loss of some perceived crucial players and even more importantly with the re-emergence and perhaps new found confidence of some very young guns. Ethan White has been a huge boost at an opportune time, Perry Kitchen has responded well to a humbling experience in Houston, Jakovic seems to have new life, Najar has absolutely re-found his scrappy success, McCarty has maybe figured out him being toned down a bit is better than him trying too hard and doing nothing.

But, overall, Wolff and Davies being a true scoring partnership is immense for a team that set a league record in futility last year. Davies has already scored more in 9 games than any leading scorer last year had in 30 games, so that is huge and something Colorado has to be leery of. DC is 3-1-1 in games Davies scores, and -0-3 when he doesn’t. However, that isn’t the whole story. Josh Wolff has arguably been more important to DC.

That partnership will decide the match. If they score, DC wins. If they don’t, DC needs to figure out how to start another unbeaten streak. Call me crazy, but it might need more than two guys (and Najar) carrying the team on their backs.