COMMERCE CITY CO - OCTOBER 02: Goalkeeper Matt Pickens #18 of the Colorado Rapids makes a save on Danny Allsopp #9 of D.C. United in the first half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on October 2 2010 in Commerce City Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Finally, after 10 days of nothing we're back to some Colorado Rapids soccer on Wednesday. Ahead of the game against DC United, Martin Shatzer from our wonderful DC blog Black And Red United exchanged some questions about our teams with each other.
My questions to him about our black and red foes are below, you can check out my answers to his queries about the Rapids over at B&RU.
BW: D.C. is a very injured team right now, unfortunately. Of all the guys who are out right now, who would you say is the most key injury for the team's success as a whole?
B&RU: If he was out, then I'd say D.C. United received some fantastic news today that what we thought was a torn ligament on Saturday turned out to be no severe damage. Kitchen might not wind up playing Wednesday night, but he won't be out nearly as long as we feared. So instead, the answer to your question is , the fearless and savvy 6'-4" Argentine center back that had been a big reason for United's seven-game undefeated streak that ended in San Jose, and his departure was a big reason for that loss to the Earthquakes, and last week to the Dynamo., but
BW: Colorado has a rookie of the year candidate in, but even more impressive than Tony is DC's Nick DeLeon. What's been the key to his early success as a player in his ROY campaign run?
B&RU: It may sound insignificant or small, butfirst touch is incredible. Always exactly where he wants it to go. If he's receiving the ball in traffic, he pushes it away from danger to keep possession. If he's got space, he uses it and advances the ball quickly up the field. DeLeon is huge for United in transition. He's quick, a good finisher, and a better crosser. When a rookie is taking your corners and some free kicks on a team that also includes , you know he's something special. Unfortunately though, DeLeon has missed the last couple matches with a hamstring strain, and could miss Wednesday's match too, although filled in quite well on his left flank against the .
BW: We all know the Pontius', the DeRo's, the Santos' etc. but who's a guy we might not have heard of that could hurt the Rapids in the attack on Wednesday?
B&RU: Ah yes, the man you are describing is. The Albanian Bomber came to MLS with a ridiculous strike rate on his record from Rapid Vienna, but he started the season with nine straight games without a goal. That streak ended in San Jose, and he started a new one, scoring against as well. Salihi isn't the type of player to create his own goal, and his physical strength won't intimidate anyone in the vein of Conor Casey, but he can finish. Oh can he finish. Salihi will take a difficult chance in which most players wouldn't even think about shooting, and he'll score while making it look easy.