Until D.C. United kicks off against the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. ET (Comcast SportsNet/DC), a few items to peruse:

*United is on firmer footing after missing the MLS playoffs four consecutive years, but with several injuries and a heavy schedule, the next 11 days will reveal a lot about this improving club.

*Today’s story received prominent play on the front page of the Sports print section.

*For a change, the RFK Stadium forecast from the Capital Weather Gang calls for decent conditions.

Much more.....

*United hopes to soon learn its potential opponent and venue for the U.S. Open Cup’s third round May 29, the starting point for MLS clubs. The hunch is United will face the winner of next week’s match between the third-tier Richmond Kickers and amateur Aegean Hawks from the Washington area. The Hawks, who will host Richmond at Maryland SoccerPlex on Tuesday, defeated the fourth-division Carolina Dynamo, 3-1, last night.

*Meantime, the long-awaited announcement of United’s friendly against Serie A champion Juventus on July 28 at RFK should come Thursday. Tickets are tentatively scheduled to go on sale Friday.

*Two weeks from tonight, the U.S. men’s national team will host Brazil in a friendly at FedEx Field. The Brazilians are bringing a young squad to prepare for the Olympics, and one of the few veterans on the roster is now unavailable: FC Barcelona right back Dani Alves fractured his collarbone in training.