It’s time for the 2020 MLS season to kickoff and Rapids fans couldn’t be more ready for things to get going. The Colorado Rapids are traveling to our nation’s capital this weekend to take on D.C. United in the first of eight MLS games to be played on Saturday. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. and if you don’t have DirecTV to watch Altitude, there will be viewing parties at the Celtic on Market and Frolic Brewing Company in Westminster.
The Burgundy Boys spent most of the preseason training away from home, so the travel piece should not be much of a concern. For the most part, the starting lineup will be close to ideal, but there are a few injury concerns. Kortne Ford is still not quite ready to get back into the mix. He did not get any minutes in any scrimmages this preseason so it is safe to assume that he will be out for a while. (Editor’s Note: After asking around, it seems as though they are easing him back into training/playing to make sure he doesn’t do too much too soon.)
Newcomer Nicolas Benezet broke his nose in a scrimmage against New England on February 12 and is listed as questionable. He has been training with the club, though, so we may see him sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, DCU took a major blow to their roster losing USMNT midfielder Paul Arriola to a potentially season-ending knee injury. They’ve also lost Wayne Rooney, who went to Derby County to be a player-assistant manager. DC did pick up Julian Gressel and Edison Flores in the offseason, which will help fill some holes in the attack. Read our complete preview of D.C. United here.
It will be very cold for the game, with the temperature expected to reach the mid-30s with a 16 mph wind by kickoff. The field condition is less than ideal after two XFL games took place on Audi Field recently.
DCU staff says it looks worse than it actually is. So there's that.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) February 28, 2020
One of the concerns Rapids fans had with the team training out of state was not so much the lack of training at altitude, but also the weather. Head Coach Robin Fraser has mentioned the importance of concentration multiple times in the preseason, but it could be difficult to focus when you are not accustomed to “feels like 27” as the game is about to begin.
The team that can find a rhythm and keep themselves moving, while letting the ball do the work, will come out on top. A few times in preseason scrimmages it was a lack of focus that cost the Rapids a goal, but they’ve also shown us that they can overcome being down a goal. With the addition of Younes Namli, Rapids fans should expect to see some of that “entertaining” soccer they have been longing for.
In the past, the Rapids have not done well in D.C., having won just 3 times in 24 tries. All-time in season openers, Colorado 6-13-5, while DCU is 10-7-7 in home openers. Overall, the Rapids are 13-21-10 against D.C. United, going all the way back to 1997.
It’s only fitting that these two MLS originals kickoff the entire MLS 2020 campaign.
Predicted Starting XI: Clint Irwin; Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Drew Moor, Sam Vines; Younes Namli, Jack Price, Kellyn Acosta; Sam Nicholson, Andre Shinyashiki, Kei Kamara
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos
VAR: Guido Gonzales Jr
OUT: Kortne Ford (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Nicolas Benezet (nose)
Suspended after next caution: none
OUT: Paul Arriola (M) – knee surgery, Donovan Pines (D) - ankle injury
Suspended: Paul Arriola (M)
Suspended after next caution: none
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Saturday, February 29 at 11 a.m. MT
Venue: Audi Field — Washington, D.C.
TV Information: Altitude on DirecTV
Watch Party: Celtic on Market & Frolic Brewing Company (Westminster)
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