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Dave Johnson: United Surprises AC Milan

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Dave Johnson: United Surprises AC Milan

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 10:13 pm

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.com Washington -- DC Uniteds season of frustration was interrupted in the most unpredictable but in the end most pleasing of ways. Despite being reduced to ten-men for the final 25 minutes of the match United stunned Italian powerhouse AC Milan 3-2 before 30,367 fans at RFK Stadium.United had exhausted all their substitutes when Brandon Barklage suffered a leg injury as he tried to defend AC Milans Brazilian midfielder Mancini. Still United, while conceding two goals after Barklages injury, did not exhaust their effort as they defended a Milan side suddenly determined to get at least a tie.Aside from the Barklage injury, the script was close to perfect for United. While AC Milan, with its arsenal of stars even with national team absences, hoped to simply entertain, United was concerned not only with the show but the substance.With a 1-8 record in MLS play United needed the Milan encounter not only to bring joy but build confidence and serve as a potential spring board for the future. The mission was accomplished as United, with only 4 goals in 9 MLS games, scored three against Milan.It was also a night of redemption for three United players. Chris Pontius, Santino Quaranta, and Luciano Emilio had been slowed by injury, illness, and fitness, but returned to the starting lineup and were active and involved in giving United a 2-0 half-time lead.After AC Milan successfully defended a corner kick, midfielder Stephen King--making his first start in a United uniform--won the cleared ball and then served a ball from the right flank to the left side of the penalty area.Pontius, on the edge of the six yard box, headed the ball back across the goal where Emilio ran on to the bouncing ball and stabbed it with his right boot to give United a goal 20 minutes into the match.Emilios goal was the punctuation mark on a positive ten minutes of play for United. Understandably United was tentative early and almost conceded a goal barely a minute into the game.Pato was able to slip behind the United defense after a superb combination between Ronaldinho and Clarence Seedorf. After Seedorf returned a pass to Ronaldinho, the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year slotted a through ball to Pato but his shot from eight yards out was saved by Bill Hamid.In the 30th minute Pontius headed home a Quaranta corner kick, and United no longer looked like a team that has not scored a goal in its last 346 minutes of MLS play. In fact as the first half drew to a close the game became more chippy as Milans frustration grew.In the closing seconds of the opening 45 minutes Ronaldinho almost put AC Milan on the board but his deft touch from about six yards out on the left side of the box was cleared off the line by a sliding United defender Rodney Wallace before the ball slipped inside the far post.Stunned with a two goal deficit, Milan looked for the proper response in the second half and almost received it with a vintage Rondaldinho moment in the 53rd minute. After a cross from Pato, Ronaldinho delivered a shot with bicycle kick that just ricocheted off the far post to save United second half goalkeeper Troy Perkins from becoming a role player in a You Tube video.Danny Allsopp would make it 3-0 United in the 63rd minute when he pounced on a weak back pass from Milan defender Massimo Oddo who was dealing with pressure from United midfielder Christian Castillo.The game did turn on Barklages injury. The loss of a man for United only added to Milans resolve and the visitors were rewarded with a penalty kick five minutes after United was down a man.Kurt Moorsink was ruled to have handled the ball in the area as he was sliding to deny a Mancini cross. Milans Massimo Oddo converted the penalty kick and then grabbed his second goal on a 25-yard drive in the 72nd minute.The rest of the game was mostly one-way traffic in Milans direction, but United was able to fight through and now have some hope going forward. At the very least United would seem to have more options. King performed well in his role in central midfield next to Clyde Simms and Pontius looked comfortable on the left wing. Up front the pairing of Quaranta and Emilio did produce enough to give head coach Curt Onalfo decisions to make.Video: Russ Thaler reports on United's win over AC Milan.

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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.

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