- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 1, 2001

D.C. United is in a five-team chase for a Major League Soccer playoff berth, but its chances of securing one are bleak to say the least.
Along with the Kansas City Wizards, Dallas Burn, New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids, United is battling for one of the last two playoffs spots, with Kansas and Dallas appearing the likely winners.
United (7-15-2, 23 points) takes on the worst team in MLS the Tampa Bay Mutiny (4-19-2, 14 points) in a must-win game today at 12:30 p.m., following the sold-out United States-Honduras World Cup qualifier at RFK Stadium.
In order to make the playoffs, United must win its last four games and hope that Kansas City (10-12-3, 33 points) and Dallas (10-11-4, 35 points) lose their last three games; New England (7-12-6, 27 points) loses one of its last three games and Colorado (5-11-8, 23 points) loses at least one of its last four games.
"When you are mathematically still alive you have to think about still making it [to the playoffs] and our demeanor has to be such," United coach Thomas Rongen said.
United will be without its captain Marco Etcheverry. The Bolivian midfielder limped off with a groin injury last week in United's win over Columbus. But midfielder Bobby Convey will make his first start after being out six weeks following surgery to remove an abdominal hernia.
"Again, we will be playing with five or six rookies due to injuries to our veteran players," Rongen said. "It gives the young kids a great chance to play in a great atmosphere."
United will also be without defender Eddie Pope, who is with the U.S. national team.
Note Midfielder Ben Olsen told his hometown paper the Harrisburg (Pa.)Patriot-News this week that his right ankle, which he broke in February while on loan to English First Division club Nottingham Forest, had to be "re-broken and some bad bones scraped off" because the bone had become infected. Olsen, who missed the whole season with the injury, is recovering slowly after a failed comeback in June playing for the Hershey Wildcats. He now has a cast on the ankle.


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