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Off to rocky start, Minnesota United visits Rapids

Minnesota United FC is still searching for its first MLS victory as it prepares to visit the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Colorado (1-1-0) opened the season with a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on March 4 after getting a second-half goal from Dominique Badji. The Rapids are coming off a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on March 11.

Minnesota United (0-2-0) has been pummeled in its first two MLS matches. The team opened its inaugural MLS season with a 5-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on March 3 followed by a 6-1 loss to Atlanta United FC, another expansion team, on Sunday.

Earlier this week, Colorado announced that Axel Sjoberg, one of the league's top young defenders, will miss at least six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery on his hamstring.

Colorado also announced this week that goalkeeper Tim Howard has been called on to rejoin the U.S. Men's national team for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama. Howard missed a considerable amount of time after suffering an adductor injury during Team USA's loss to Mexico in November, but he looked quite fit last weekend while recording seven saves in Colorado's loss to the New York Red Bulls.

"Getting called up to the national team is a great honor," Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "Tim getting called up is a reflection of the commitment that he still has, and more importantly the effort that he put in during the offseason to get back to full health and be available for this part of the season.

"It's great for both club and country, and I just look forward to see him continuing to improve and gain his footing as we continue on into 2017."

Minnesota United is still trying to find its footing after being outscored 11-2 in its first two matches. The team played its home opener against Atlanta United in a snowstorm before a crowd of 35,403 at TCF Bank Stadium, the largest crowd to watch a soccer match in Minnesota since 1984.

"The crowd, the supporters were fantastic," Minnesota United defender Vadim Demidov said. "They were with us all the time, the whole 90 minutes, and they were much greater than us today."

Updated March 17, 2017

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