With DC United's second match against Colorado this season coming up tomorrow, we went back over to Martin Shatzer, managing editor of Black and Red United, and got some questions answered about each others teams again. You can find my answers to his queries about the Rapids right here while his answers to my questions about United are below.
UZ: The Rapids faced a pretty rough patchwork looking back four last time these teams met, what will be different and most likely better about the one they'll see on Saturday?
Martin: Its been like night and day. In two matches against Western Conference playoff teams last week, the same D.C. United back line that will start against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday didn't give up a single goal from the run of play. And they did it with two rookies. Shifting Perry Kitchen out to right back has looked like a brilliant move by Ben Olsen, and inserting the athletic Ethan White in the middle has given the team more bite, if less experience. Only three D.C. players (Daniel Woolard, Dax McCarty, and Chris Pontius) who started at Dicks last month will start on Saturday, and two of them started that game outside of their best positions.
UZ: Last time these two teams played you tipped me off about Chris Pontius when asked about possible younger or unknowns who we might see some action from. I've noticed his name come up a few times in D.C. United matches recently, how has his season gone and will we see him against the Rapids?
Martin: Oh, you'll see him alright. You'll probably see him more than you'd like. Pontius is second on the team in minutes and has started all nine games for United. He'll start Saturday on the left wing, where he'll use his speed and energy to press Colorado's fullbacks and take advantage of any mistakes. With Pontius and Andy Najar each playing up to their potential in recent games, the team's attack has become much more dynamic.
UZ: Charlie Davies had criticism levied against him at the season's start because he could only score on penalties it seemed. Now that he's started to show some more regular goal-scoring form, how many do you think he'll put in by season's end?
Martin: At one time, Davies was on a pace to score 156 goals in 2011. He's slightly off this pace now, but still has a good shot at winning the Golden Boot. While I do think that MLS defenses will learn to adjust to Davies' speed and aggression to some degree, there's no reason why he can't finish with around 15 goals if he stays healthy.