With the season only seven matches old, there may be no such thing as a must-win game just yet. But after two straight defeats and the prospect of no further league action until Memorial Day weekend, Colorado Rapids head coach Gary Smith knows that a victory in tomorrow’s trip to the nation’s capital would add a much needed boost to the team’s morale.
The Rapids have played well in their two defeats -- on the road at San Jose and last week against Western Conference leaders Los Angeles -- and the squad remains confident in its ability to play fluid, pressing soccer. However, another game without a point, followed by two weeks rest from league play, would not go down well.
Despite D.C. United’s desperate start to the season, Smith knows the trip to RFK Stadium will not be easy.
“They need points themselves and it will be a difficult game,” said Smith. “They will have some added passion but our away form’s been very good.”
Smith feels D.C. United is lacking in the confidence department due to their poor form, and that’s what his team will look to exploit.
“I think there is fluency within this group and we are performing extremely well,” Smith said. “We are just a tad off-color in front of goal. The players are looking forward to the challenge. They want to turn round this two game losing streak.”
It’s not for a lack of effort that goals have been hard to come by. Omar Cummings ran dangerously at the LA defense all night last week but to no avail and will want to reverse that trend. His strike partner, Conor Casey, will have his own motivations to get on the score sheet given his surprise exclusion from the US World Cup squad.
Smith can rely on the bulk of his first team regulars for the game, though Kosuke Kimura is out for an extended period with a stress fracture of his left foot and fellow defender Scott Palguta is suffering from a calf injury. Scottish midfielder Jamie Smith is still coming back from a strained hamstring.