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Severely shorthanded D.C. United fighting for its playoff life against Mutiny.

(Tuesday, July 11, 2000) -- For D.C. United, playoff extinction is approaching with 10 games left on the schedule.

The Black-and-Red, the defending and three-time Major League Soccer champion, however, faces a must-win situation at home tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Mutiny with five usual starters sidelined:

In addition to defender Jeff Agoos and midfielder Ben Olsen scratched because of injury and defender Eddie Pope with the United States national team for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier in Guatemala, defender Carlos Llamosa and midfielder Richie Williams will sit after the yellow cards received Saturday in a 3-0 loss to Dallas earned them suspensions for accumulated caution points.

In the meantime, with three defenders out, Tampa Bay features the league’s top scorer in striker Mamadou Diallo who has 17 goals.

Capsule previews of Wednesday’s two matches with both times Eastern:

Tampa Bay Mutiny at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., Sunshine Network.
Tampa Bay 11-9, 33 points, tied for first in Central Division; D.C. United 4-13-5, 17 points, fourth in East.
Season series: Tampa Bay leads 1-0, defeating United 3-0 July 4 at home.
All-time regular-season series: United leads 12-5 (D.C. leads 37-28 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: Tampa Bay - F Mamadou Diallo (17 goals, 1 assist, 35 points); United: F Jamie Moreno (9-4-22) .
Did you know? Through 20 games, Mamadou Diallo is five goals ahead of Roy Lassiter's pace when Lassiter scored an MLS season record 27 goals in 1996 for the Mutiny.
Key players out: Tampa Bay - none reported. United - D Jeff Agoos (right knee surgery), D Carlos Llamosa (caution points accumulation), M Ben Olsen (left ankle sprain), D Eddie Pope (U.S. national team), M Richie Williams (caution points accumulation).
Key matchup: Tampa Bay M Josh Keller vs. D.C. United M Marco Etcheverry: With a depleted back line, the best defense for D.C. could end up being an effective offense. If Etcheverry has clear passing lanes to find forwards Moreno and Raúl Diaz Arce, Mutiny G Scott Garlick, who made 12 saves in the July 4 meeting, might continue to be the most shell-shocked goalkeeper in MLS.
Notes: With 10 games remaining, D.C. has already given up more goals this season (45), than it did all of last year (43) . . . Tampa Bay brings the league's second best offense into RFK, led by Diallo (17 goals) and midfielder Carlos Valderrama (19 assists) . . . In the last meeting between these clubs (July 4), the Mutiny found net three times against a full D.C. squad . . . In Wednesday's meeting, the three United defenders on the field in the July 4 match (Jeff Agoos, Carlos Llamosa and Eddie Pope), will not suit up for D.C. due to injury, caution point accumulation and national team duty, respectively . . . Diallo put on a clinic in the July 4 match, and with only three defenders listed as available for Wednesday's game, United will need a stellar team defensive effort to shut down the Senegalese sensation . . . Last year, D.C. went 8-2 down the stretch and will need to match that run to have a solid chance at making the playoffs . . . The odds continue to mount against D.C., loser of two consecutive matches, while Tampa Bay, after starting out 2-6 on the road, has won two in a row away from Raymond James Stadium.
Scheduled officials: Referee: Paul Tamberino; Assistants: Nathan Clement, Bill Dittmar.

New England Revolution at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m., Fox New England.
7-7-5, 26 points, second in East; Columbus 7-10-4, 25 points,, fourth in Central.
Season series: Columbus leads 1-0, defeating Revolution 3-1 June 24 in Columbus.
All-time regular-season series: Columbus leads 14-3 (Crew leads 28-13 in aggregate goals).
Leading scorers: New England - F Wolde Harris (8-5-21); Columbus: F Dante Washington (11-7-29).
Did you know? Crew G Mark Dougherty has allowed only one goal in five career starts vs. the Revolution (0.20 goals against average), and is 5-0 all-time. The 0.20 GAA is the keeper's lowest mark vs. any MLS team.
Key players out: Columbus - F Brian McBride (fractured cheekbone), D Ansil Elcock (Trinidad & Tobago national team); New England - D Ted Chronopoulos (strained left hamstring), F Eric Wynalda (strained right calf).
Key matchup: New England D Rusty Pierce vs. Columbus Crew F Dante Washington - With Brian McBride absent, Washington has exploded offensively and now sits tied for third in the league’s scoring race. Pierce will need to be sharp to close the passing lanes used by Washington, who racked up three assists in the last meeting.
Notes: The Crew are 8-1 all-time against the Revs in Columbus, falling to New England for the only time on July 11, 1996 at Ohio Stadium . . . The Revolution acquired Wynalda from the Miami Fusion for Ivan McKinley last Saturday, but Wynalda said he will not travel to Columbus for this game to rest his injured calf, which is not yet at 100 percent . . . Crew midfielder Robert Warzycha, who assisted on Columbus' first goal in the team's last meeting, is just one assist shy of 50 for his MLS career . . . In the last weeks, New England has dropped from the third playoff seed to eighth, and if the Crew win this game, it will leap-frog the Revs and the Dallas Burn into the seventh playoff spot . . . The June 24 meeting between these squads saw Crew keeper Matt Napoleon earn his first MLS win and Revs G Juergen Sommer make his first appearance since 1998. In this match, however, Mark Dougherty and Jeff Causey return between the pipes for Columbus and New England, respectively . . . Revolution defenders Maurcio Wright and Rusty Pierce sat out that last meeting and will face one of the fastest group of strikers in the league.
Scheduled officials: Referee - Kevin Terry; Assistants - Craig Lowry, J.R. Perdue.

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