The M in MLS is for major, but it might as well signify multi-tasking. While DC United goes about the business of protecting first place in the Eastern Conference, it also has to get set for its first U.S. Open Cup game of 2015 Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Welcome to United’s busy summer. The Open Cup road test against the Riverhounds from USL Pro is part of a week that includes a meeting on Sunday at RFK Stadium against second place New England in MLS play. Later this summer United will begin group stage competition in the CONCACAF Champions League.
United’s players should be ready for the extra work. Through a busy schedule and to the top of the Eastern Conference, United head coach Ben Olsen has done a masterful job of managing his roster, including 14 different starting lineups, and given valuable experience to younger players.
Eddie Johnson, Collin Martin, and Michael Seaton are the only three players of the 27 on United’s first team roster not to appear in a match for the team in 2015. Johnson is sidelined by a heart condition. Martin is recovering from a groin injury and Seaton was on loan to a club team in Sweden.
1. Hungry hounds. Cup competitions the world over are all about teams trying to punch above their weight and deliver upsets. USL Pro is the third tier on the American professional soccer ladder where the Riverhounds currently sit in sixth place in the twelve-team Eastern Conference. Rob Vincent is the Riverhounds leading scorer with nine goals and he delivered the dramatic game-winner from 25-yards out in the team’s U.S. Open Cup third round win over the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies.
2. A Cup state of mind. No matter who plays for United, the players must be ready for the Riverhounds’ response. The Riverhounds have only posted a 1-3 record against MLS clubs and will be eager to make a statement. United will have to try and match the Riverhounds energy while maintaining their composure. United will look to attack from the kickoff to try and score early, but also must be wary of the Riverhounds on the counter.
Megan Rapinoe is one of the United States Women's National Team's biggest stars, and her two goals against Spain in the Round of 16 propelled the United States into the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Rapinoe, who sports the captain armband for the stars and stripes, is also one of the most outspoken players on the team. When asked by a reporter from the magazine Eight By Eight in a story published earlier this month if the team would visit the White House if the United States came home from France victorious, her response was simple and direct.
"Psssh, I'm not going to the f*****g White House," she said. "No. I'm not going to the White House. We're not gonna be invited. I doubt it."
Rapinoe's comments caught the attention of President Donald Trump after the magazine posted a short clip of the interview to Twitter on Tuesday. Trump responded with his own tweets:
Rapinoe has a history of speaking out about injustices she sees in this country. A few years ago, she followed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's lead by kneeling for the National Anthem before matches.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now's John D. Halloran on why she took a knee. “It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it.”
Rapinoe has stood for the National Anthem during the World Cup - US Soccer now requires it - but found a new way to protest. While her teammates have had their right hand over their hearts and sung the Star Spangled Banner, Rapinoe has stood still with her lips sealed and hands by her sides.
This also caught the attention of Trump, who called Rapinoe's actions "inappropriate."
The United States Women's National Team is back in action on Friday, as they face the host nation France.
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Just one week after Phil Jagielka informed Everton management that he had just captained his last season for the Toffees, West Ham forward Chicharito has confirmed to Sky Sports that he intends to leave the Irons this summer.
Here's the latest Premier League news:
Brighton and Hove Albion: 22 year-old centerback Matt Clarke has officially signed a 4-year, €3.5 deal with Brighton. This is the first signing of manager Graham Potter's tenure with the Seagulls.
Burnley: Everton and Newcastle have joined a number of top-flight Premier League clubs expressing interest in the Claret's 19 year-old forward, Dwight McNeil.
Everton: In wake of the news regarding Jagielka and center-mate Ashley Williams' desires to transfer, the Toffees have joined the bidding war for Bristol City defender Adam Webster.
Newcastle: Manager Rafael Benitez plans to leave the club when his contract expires June 30th, ending a three-year tenure in St. James Park.
West Ham United: In the midst of his quest for a second Gold Cup title, Javier Hernandez and West Ham United have reportedly come to a mutual agreement that the forward should leave this summer with a year still left on his contract. The decision comes on the heels of West Ham signing forward Maxi Gomez from Celta Vigo, putting the Mexican's playing time in jeopardy. Chicharito's agent is rumored to be in talks with MLS clubs as potential destinations.
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