COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 03: Jamie Smith #20 of the Colorado Rapids celebrates his goal in the 71st minute against D.C. United at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 3, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids defeated D.C. United 4-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DC United are going to be out for blood in this one, as they've already met the Colorado Rapids earlier in the season on April 3rd where they lost by an embarrassing 4-1 scoreline. Two of the three goalscorers from that game will not be playing today, as Caleb Folan suffered a groin injury against the New England Revolution and Omar Cummings is still recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered against the Houston Dynamo two games ago.
The still injured Rapids will most likely put out another patchwork-like squad today but it's certain to look better than the game against the Revs, where there was a defensive midfielder playing striker and a right back playing in the midfield at one point in that match. Conor Casey will return for the Rapids, which will give a tremendous boost to an offense that has been struggling without him. Paired up top most likely with Andre Akpan it should make for an interesting 1-2 punch, especially considering how effective the Casey-Folan 'steamroller' line up top was last time these two teams met. Sanna Nyassi is back in the lineup for the game after suffering a back injury but his lackluster play might mean that Wells Thompson will get his third straight start in place of the suspended Brian Mullan.
Similarly, DC United will be putting out a different squad from the one that the Rapids saw last time the two teams played. Rookie Perry Kitchen will be back in the defense, immediately improving the paper-thin unit that the Rapids shredded for four goals last time the teams met. Current golden boot leader Charlie Davies will also most likely play, even if it's just as a substitute, after missing the entire April 3rd match. Having Davies and Josh Wolff up top will provide a powerful dynamic along with last year's rookie of the year Andy Najar in the United offense, although their defense is still the most leaky in the league allowing a league high 17 goals.
Colorado needs to get as many points on the road as they can this year, and they've already taken four of a possible six from this road trip so far. Another one or three on the road in the always tough RFK Stadium - a place that Colorado had not won a game since 1999 until a 1-0 win last season - would be incredible for the Rapids pace going back home against Toronto FC. A win would also make it the first time in MLS history that one of these two teams swept the season series against each other.