Colorado Rapids vs D.C. United Preview by Chris Brown
D.C. United travel to the Mile High City to take on Colorado Rapids in a battle between the worst team in the Eastern Conference and the worst team in the Western Conference.
D.C. United currently sit in last place in both the Eastern Conference standings as well as the Supporter’s Shield standings having earned just 19 points through 24 matches in 2017.
Colorado Rapids are currently tied for last place in the Western Conference having earned 22 points from 22 games but their recent form has been so poor that the club fired Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni earlier in the week following a winless stretch that dates back to Colorado’s last win on July 1st. Rapids Assistant Coach Steve Cooke has been promoted to Interim Head Coach for the remainder of the 2017 season.
For more about Colorado’s decision to part ways with Pablo Mastroeni check out this Prost Amerika article.
Impartial fans who like low scoring defensive struggles will want to tune in Saturday night as both sides have been abysmal going forward in 2017. D.C. United rank last in MLS in goals scored and have found the back of the net just 19 times through 24 games this season. The Rapids are second worst in goals scored having scored just 22 times in their 22 matches, so it’s very likely that Saturday’s match may be decided by one lone goal, if it doesn’t end in a scoreless draw.
Unfortunately for Rapids supporters they won’t get a chance to see former Rapid Sebastien Le Toux this weekend after the Frenchman, who signed for D.C. this past January, left the club earlier in the week by mutual consent. Le Toux, who was a popular figure in his short time with the Rapids, made 16 league appearances for the Red and Black this season and remains the all time leading scorer in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with 16 goals.
Colorado supporters will hope that the club experience a post-sacking-bump, the phenomenon that often happens after a team fires a manager and shakes things up. For evidence see Swansea City’s positive results immediately following Bob Bradley’s termination last year or even Chelsea’s results immediately after sacking Jose Mourinho in 2015.
With a new coach leading the team and new players Luis Gil and Stefan Aigner coming into the side, the Rapids will be hoping to turn their fortunes around in the final 12 games of 2017. Though Colorado has virtually no chance of making the playoffs this season, the players will be trying to earn their spots for the 2018 team and will hope to impress the new coach as it’s a possibility that Steve Cooke will be appointed to the permanent manager role this off-season, based on how the Rapids play down the stretch.
Luciano Acosta will be the player to watch for D.C. as the 5 foot 3 inch attacking midfielder has been one of the only bright points in United’s season. Acosta is D.C.’s leading goal scorer this season with four strikes and though that’s a low total, three of those goals have been game winners. In a match that will most likely be low scoring, that propensity to nab game winners can make all the difference. Acosta also has the vision to pick out teammates and has three assists on the season and even if the match is drab, Acosta is a human highlight reel who should at least provide some spark with his clever footwork and mazy runs.
Home vs road form may be the ultimate decider this weekend. Colorado has failed to win on the road in 2017 but have a 6-4-2 record when playing at home. D.C. have also struggled on the road in 2017 having won just twice in twelve attempts and only drawn once. The altitude at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park gives the Rapids an advantage as road teams often wilt late in games and that advantage as well as United’s road form may be enough to see the Rapids collect all three points on Saturday night.