*D.C. United’s shorthanded defense will confront a big early-season challenge Sunday against the reigning MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids (7 p.m. ET, Galavision).
*United will also have to confront deteriorating weather conditions. After a record high of 84 degrees in Denver on Saturday, a storm front is creeping over the Rockies and will bear down on the Front Range on Sunday. Snow is expected by mid-afternoon and two to four inches are possible by the end of the night.
*Speaking of winter, Toronto FC’s Dutch coach, Aron Winter, isn’t embracing the media culture in North America. In a letter distributed before his club’s home match Saturday against Chivas USA, Winter said he will not allow reporters into the locker room after matches. While that’s the norm around the world, it runs counter to guidelines established in most U.S.-Canadian sports, including MLS. A league spokesman said the matter would be addressed this week.
For many years, MLS followed baseball’s model and allowed reporters into locker rooms before matches, which was largely unnecessary. That practice all but ended in 2004 when the Freddy Adu spectacle began in Washington. United closed pregame access, and other clubs followed. Winter’s timing is odd: Did he suddenly realize, in the third week of the season, that reporters were in the locker room?
*The U.S. under-20 national team sealed first place in its group with a 2-0 victory over Panama and will face host Guatemala in the CONCACAF quarterfinals Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com). The winner will advance to the U-20 World Cup in Colombia this summer. United’s Perry Kitchen captained the squad and played all 90 minutes in midfield after serving on the backline in the opener against Suriname.
*In a spring friendly, Maryland defeated NCAA champion Akron, 3-1, in Ohio. Besides being without their 2010 seniors, the sides are adjusting to the absence of eight players who bolted early for MLS, including the Zips’ Kitchen and Darlington Nagbe and the Terrapins’ Matt Kassel and Zac MacMath.