D.C. United Vs. Colorado Rapids: Chris Pontius Salvages 1-1 Draw With PK, Charlie Davies Injured

United rally to extend their unbeaten streak to three games on a night full of incident and controversy.

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7 Total Updates since May 14, 2011
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D.C. United's Dax McCarty Again Adjusts To Following A Legend

After being deemed expendable by Dallas last summer, Dax McCarty now has to follow a legend in Jaime Moreno. How's he doing? We check in with him 10 games into his D.C. United career.

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D.C. United Vs. Colorado Rapids Player Ratings: Chris Pontius, Joseph Ngwenya Drag United To A Point

Chris Pontius and Joseph Ngwenya get singled out for praise on an otherwise average night for D.C. United.

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D.C. United Vs. Colorado Rapids: Ben Olsen Rips Officiating, First-Half Performance After 1-1 Draw

The first question of Ben Olsen's post-game meeting with the media was asked by none other than the D.C. United head coach himself. 

"So, who wants to get me fined?" Olsen asked as he took his seat in the bowels of RFK Stadium after United's controversial 1-1 draw against Colorado, which saw the performance of referee Terry Vaughn come under the spotlight.

"I've had bad nights, as a player, " Olsen continued. "I think [Vaughn] had a very bad night tonight." Olsen didn't discuss specific decisions with the media, but he became noticeably animated on the touchline after Vaughn failed to send off Colorado goalscorer Drew Moor late in the first half after Moor appeared to trip Dax McCarty as the United midfielder was about to run onto a through ball that would have put him one-on-one against Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Moor escaped with a yellow card, and Vaughn was booed off the field at halftime by the crowd of 12,499.

Olsen's blood pressure was sent spiraling again in the 56th minute when Joseph Ngwenya's penalty shout was waved away by Vaughn, who ironically gave United a very soft penalty in the 62nd minute. Chris Pontius duly converted that spot kick to level the score at 1-1.

"We didn't get the better of the decisions in the first half," said McCarty when asked about the incident with Moor just before halftime. "I really don't know what the thinking is there. Then, we have a penalty claim when Joseph Ngwenya gets knocked over in the box, which is a better claim than the one [the referee gave]."

"I've been around a long time," said Josh Wolff, who was subbed off with a strained groin in the 44th minute and replaced by Joseph Ngwenya, "and I thought the rule was if he's the last man, it should be a red card."

Olsen saved plenty of vitriol for his team's first half performance as well, saying, "To a man, we weren't sharp enough from the get-go, and that's a part of the process that needs to get better. Our balance overall wasn't good enough in the first half." Later on in his press conference, Olsen said, "If you're asking me about the first half, I'm not going to give a good review to anybody on our squad."

United's efforts were hampered Saturday night by the loss of both starting strikers, as Charlie Davies left the field in the 34th minute with a tight hamstring and Wolff departed 10 minutes later. Davies left the locker room before reporters arrived, but Wolff was seen receiving treatment from a trainer before gingerly putting on a pair of slacks. "I've had lots of little ones over the years," said Wolff, who said it was too early to tell whether he would be fit for United's next league match, which takes place on May 29 at Portland. 

The club hosts a friendly match against Dutch giants Ajax next Sunday at RFK. Kick-off is at 5:00.

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D.C. United Vs. Colorado Rapids: Pontius' PK Salvages Point For Black-And-Red

A 62nd minute penalty by Chris Pontius ensured that D.C. United would extend their unbeaten streak to three games as they came back to draw the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids 1-1 Saturday night at RFK Stadium. However, neither side will be happy with the outcome, thanks in large part to the refereeing performance by Terry Vaughn.

Already off Ben Olsen's Christmas card list for his failure to send off Colorado goalscorer Drew Moor in the first half, Vaughn ended any hope that he would exit the field unnoticed by not giving United a spot kick in the 56th minute when Joseph Ngwenya appeared to have been shoved over in the box by Jeff Larentowicz. Replays showed that there was much less contact than there appeared to be in real time, but softer penalties have certainly been given.

Vaughn atoned for his mistake, at least in the eyes of D.C. United fans, by completely botching the penalty decision that resulted in Pontius' equalizer. The United man initiated the contact on the left edge of the area with a shoulder barge of Kosuke Kimura before both men stumbled to the ground inside the box. Vaughn showed no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, but that did not make Colorado's protests any less vociferous or righteous.

Colorado's introduction of Conor Casey in the 68th minute did little to change the outcome as United looked the better side in the final twenty minutes and pressed in vain for a winner.

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D.C. United Vs. Colorado Rapids: United Down 1-0 At Halftime, Davies Leaves Injured

We are at halftime here at RFK Stadium, and right now Drew Moor's 23rd minute goal is what separates the Colorado Rapids from D.C. United, as the visitors are in front 1-0. But the biggest story of the evening is that Charlie Davies left the game in the 34th minute with what appears to be a hamstring injury. The extent of the injury is not yet clear, but it could be a hammer blow to whatever chance Davies had of making the U.S. roster in this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup. U.S. National Team Manager Bob Bradley is in attendance tonight, and is watching the game from the D.C. United director's box.

Davies was substituted in favor of Santino Quaranta after pulling up lame and eventually sitting in the center circle while play went on in United's defensive end. He appeared to tell the two trainers that went out to see him that he could not continue and walked off the field under his own power. He briefly had his right leg worked on by a trainer before watching the rest of the first half with a towel over his head.

According to the club's official Twitter account, Davies was subbed off with a tight hamstring. We'll see if we can get a more complete report after the match.

Before exiting the field, Davies had looked fairly threatening for United. He had the ball in the Colorado net in the 7th minute after finishing a through ball from Chris Pontius, but assistant referee Steven Taylor correctly ruled the striker offside. In the 11th minute, Davies' strike partner Josh Wolff sent a through ball to Davies, but the New Hampshire native's first touch was disastrous and skittered harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.

Wolff, who was substituted for Joseph Ngwenya in the 43rd minute after picking up an injury, had United's best legitimate chance of the match, heading wide of Matt Pickens' goal off a Dax McCarty free kick.

Moor's goal came as a result of a Jamie Smith free kick from the left midfield area after referee Terry Vaughn ruled that Perry Kitchen had fouled Moor. Smith's initial ball was knocked down, but not cleared by United's defense, and Moor beat Ethan White to the loose ball and sidefooted it past Bill Hamid. Making things even worse for United, Moor could have easily been sent off by Vaughn after the defender appeared to trip McCarty, who was racing to collect a through ball from midfield. However, apparently concluding that Moor had not denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity, Vaughn let Moor off with a red card, which in turn rendered United's players and head coach Ben Olsen apoplectic.

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D.C. United Vs. Colorado Rapids: Wolff and Simms Back In D.C. Lineup

D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen has made two changes to the line-up that started last Saturday's 0-0 draw against FC Dallas. As expected, Josh Wolff is back at the forward position alongside Charlie Davies, while Clyde Simms returns to the central midfield role and will play alongside Dax McCarty. Correspondingly, Joseph Ngwenya  (who started and played 54 minutes against Dallas) drops to the bench. Stephen King, who played the full 90 against Dallas, is not a part of the eligible 18. 

For Colorado, Conor Casey starts on the bench, meaning Andre Akpan and Quincy Amarikwa start up front for Gary Smith. Jamie Smith starts in midfield for Colorado and Kosuke Kimura shifts into defense as Scott Palguta is dropped to the bench.

The full line-ups for both teams are below. Members of the U.S. National Team's player pool are in italics.

Full D.C. United Starting Line-up: Bill Hamid (GK), Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Clyde Simms, Dax McCarty (Captain), Chris Pontius, Josh Wolff, Charlie Davies.

Available D.C. United substitutes: Steven Cronin (GK), Chris Korb, Marc Burch, Fred, Santino Quaranta, Blake Brettschneider, Joseph Ngwenya.

Colorado Starting Line-up: Matt Pickens (GK), Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Kosuke Kimura, Jamie Smith, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni (Captain), Wells Thompson, Andre Akpan, Quincy Amarikwa.

Available Colorado substitutes: Steward Ceus (GK), Danny Earls, Scott Palguta, Joseph Nane, Ross LaBauex, Sanna Nyassi, Conor Casey.

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D.C. United Vs. Colorado Rapids: United Close Three-Game Homestand Against Defending Champions

D.C. United look to end their three-game league homestand with a victory tonight against the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids in a match laden with significance not only for United -- who can climb as high as second place in the Eastern Conference with a win and favorable results elsewhere -- but for striker Charlie Davies and midfielder Dax McCarty. The two will perform tonight under the watchful eye of U.S. National Team Manager Bob Bradley, who is in the process of deciding his final roster for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup and is taking advantage of his last chance to see Davies and McCarty in person before the May 21 deadline.

Colorado Rapids (4-3-2) at D.C. United (3-4-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14.

Place: RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

TV: CSN (That's right, folks, D.C. United is back on local TV! Cue the music!)

Team News and Tactics

D.C. United: Ben Olsen's had the luxury of fielding a pretty settled team for the last couple matches, and he's been spared a selection headache tonight with the news that Andy Najar has been cleared to play after suffering a bruised foot in last week's 0-0 draw against FC Dallas. Kurt Morsink (concussion) was taken off the club's injured list this week, according to Steven Goff. Though Morsink probably won't return to action tonight, his comeback would be a vital boost to United, who are expected to lose at least Dejan Jakovic and Andy Najar to Gold Cup duty in June. Expect Olsen to return to the partnership of Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff up front after Joseph Ngwenya started in the latter's place against FC Dallas. Look for the back line of Daniel Woolard, Jakovic, Ethan White and Perry Kitchen to remain intact from last week, with either Stephen King or Clyde Simms partnering McCarty in midfield.

Colorado: The Rapids extended their unbeaten streak to four games last Saturday by holding out for a goalless draw at New England. Striker Conor Casey (pulled hamstring) is set to return against United, while fellow forward Omar Cummings (sprained ankle) is expected to miss his second straight match. Caleb Folan had to leave the New England match after just half an hour with a groin strain, and he won't be available tonight, either. Look for Quincy Amarikwa to partner Casey up front (If Casey cannot go or has to be subbed, look for Andre Akpan to take his place. In right midfield, watch for Sanna Nyassi to get the starting nod over Wells Thompson, while Colorado coach Gary Smith will likely pair Marvell Wynne and Drew moor at the center-back position.

Key to the Game

Be Physical and Disrupt Colorado's Attack: United has been on the end of a fair few hidings this season, including a 4-1 loss to the Rapids at Colorado back on April 3. But since then, United and Colorado have gone in opposite directions, especially when it comes to health. Kitchen and Jakovic (as well as Davies) were absent from the April bloodletting, and United's back line has grown in confidence and cohesion. With Casey likely making his return from injury tonight, the United defenders shouldn't hesitate to be physical with him and make the former U.S. international test his recovering muscles.

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