Soccer

DC United looking for one more at home

772208.png

DC United looking for one more at home

D.C. United is so close. For the first time in almost three years United has chance to slip into first place with a win Saturday at home against New England. The top spot in the Eastern Conference would be a welcome reward for United ahead of a 21-day break from league play.

A victory over the Revolution would also extend Uniteds unbeaten streak at R.F.K. Stadium to eight games. United has not lost at home since the 1-0 season-opening defeat to Sporting Kansas City. Since then United has survived injuries to multiple players and thrived with its depth from goalkeeper to forward.

I hate to say it, but it has been a blessing in a lot of ways that we have had some minor injuries throughout this stretch, said United head coach Ben Olsen. Guys have had to come in and do their part. Now going through this middle part of the season hopefully we will continue to find a rhythm and trust our depth and continue with wins.

It was June of 2009 when United used goals from Jamie Moreno and Christian Gomez to capture a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire and a first place standing. It has been an interesting ride since, but this is now a club that appears to being moving from strength to strength. Adversity has been turned into opportunity and United is after its first three-game winning streak since 2008.

We are in no position to be complacent, Olsen added. We havent made the playoffs in a few years. We are doing in my mind what D.C. United should do and those are win games, put teams on their heels, and entertain the fans.

Through 14 games this year United is 7-4-3 with 24 points. Only in four other years did United rack up points at a better pace. Three of those seasons, 1997, 1998, 1999, United made it all the way to MLS Cup and in 2006 captured the Supporters Shield. United is trending positive and after not recording back-to-back victories in 89 games has done it twice in less than a month.

Wins over Colorado and Toronto FC highlighted Uniteds versatility and resourcefulness. Dwayne De Rosario earned MLS Player-of-the-Week with three goals at both striker and attacking midfielder. Branko Boskovic started both games and was an attacking midfielder, left-sided midfielder, and alongside Perry Kitchen in the middle.

Hes a rhythm player, and he needs these games, said Olsen of Boskovic. He needs more games, and hes only going to improve. Weve done him a little bit of an injustice in that he hasnt played a lot of minutes. Hes been 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there, filling rolls for us, and thats no way to get a rhythm. Its not an easy way to play.

When Danny Cruz suffered a hamstring injury in the 3-1 over Toronto FC, Andy Najar shifted from right back to right midfield and then assisted on Hamdi Salihis goal. For most of his pro career Najar has been known as a midfielder, but now has started twice and appeared in two other games at right back.

Hes (Najar) playing hungry, like hes got something to prove, Olsen said Were, just in fact, really seeing Andy consistently playing with the hunger, I see that in him. Competition will do that sometimes. He played right back, Im asking him to do that, and the plays he was making on their defenders was pretty fun to watch.

Despite Cruz injury that could coast him four weeks, there is encouraging news out of Uniteds training room. Defender Emiliano Dudar and midfielder Nick De Leon were back in the mix at practice after battling hamstring injuries in recent weeks. Leading scorers Chris Pontius and Maicon Santos are eager to get back in the side.

Santos and Pontius have both missed the last two games with injuries and are listed as probable for Saturday. The emergence Salihi with four goals in the last five games has helped United navigate through the absence of Santos and Pontius. United now has 16 players who have either scored or have an assist, or both.

Saturday United will face a Revolution side that is playing with more confidence and is averaging 2.25 goals per game in May after being shutout in four of their first seven games. The Revs have conceded five goals on set-piece situations to tie Toronto for most in MLS.

Regardless of the opponent United has been playing with a swagger not seen in years. A win on Saturday will give United a first place position to match that swagger.

Arsenal-Real Madrid friendly brings spectacle, physicality of European soccer to FedEx Field

lacazette-aubameyang-arsenal-madrid.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Arsenal-Real Madrid friendly brings spectacle, physicality of European soccer to FedEx Field

Soccer is known as “the beautiful game,” and there was plenty of sporting beauty on display during Arsenal and Real Madrid’s International Champions Cup clash at FedEx Field Monday night. 

But there was also a level of physicality FedEx Field doesn’t usually see unless the Redskins are playing here: a number of hard tackles, penalties, and an intense competitive edge, as if both clubs were fighting for legitimate European silverware. 

The first half alone featured the two sides of the soccer coin. There was some truly breathtaking play from both teams, highlighted by Arsenal’s second goal. Alexandre Lacazette set up strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a lovely back-heel flick, Aubameyang dribbling past Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas and burying the ball in the net, despite Sergio Ramos’ best efforts to clear the shot off the goalline. 

But the opening 45 minutes also featured a rash of fouls and two red cards. Real Madrid defender Nacho was sent off in the ninth minute after receiving two yellow cards, the second being a handball in the Madrid box which resulted in a Lacazette penalty try to give Arsenal the early lead. Arsenal manager Unai Emery said after the match he asked the referee if Real Madrid could be allowed to bring on another player to keep the sides equal, but the official said no. 

In a way, Emery got his wish at the end of the half when Arsenal center back Sokratis picked up two yellow cards in the span of two minutes, reducing both teams to 10 men before the halftime whistle. The Greek defender punted the ball across the pitch in frustration after seeing red from the referee to the delight of the Real Madrid supporters. 

The second half featured even more fireworks as Real Madrid mounted a comeback. Welsh forward Gareth Bale, who Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has publicly stated he hopes soon leaves the club, scored off a rebound to halve the deficit, Marco Asensio tying the game at 2-2 just minutes later. 


While some of the star power left the field as both managers emptied their benches in the closing stages, the two sides continued to give the crowd of 52,000 plenty of eye-catching attacking play to cheer on. In fact, the thrills continued after the final whistle, Real Madrid ultimately winning the match in a penalty shootout. 

D.C. United fans got a taste of world-class soccer when English star Wayne Rooney took MLS by storm last year. But Monday's clash between two European giants, their rosters featuring some of the globe's best players in their athletic primes, displayed all the beauty -- and even brutality -- the sport has to offer. 

MORE SOCCER NEWS: 

Real Madrid vs. Arsenal – International Champions Cup: How to watch, stream, history, lineups

ozil-fedex-field-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Real Madrid vs. Arsenal – International Champions Cup: How to watch, stream, history, lineups

The start of training camp is still two days away, but football is back at FedEx Field. English football, that is. 

The final stop on Arsenal's USA tour pits them against Real Madrid in Landover, Md. 

Arsenal finished 5th in the Premier League last season, totally 63 points across 32 matches. Real Madrid finished 3rd in La Liga play with 68 points across 38 matches. 

The two storied clubs will be meeting for just the third time ever, with Arsenal leading the series 1-0-1. 

Here's everything you need to know for how to watch, stream, and potential starters for Arsenal vs. Real Madrid. 

When is Arsenal vs. Real Madrid? 

Arsenal vs. Real Madrid is tonight, July 23, at 7:00 p.m. EST. The match will be played at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., home of the Washington Redksins. 

What channel is Arsenal vs. Real Madrid on? 

Arsenal vs. Real Madrid will be broadcast live in the United States on ESPN, as well as ESPN Deportes, with coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. 

Where can I stream Arsenal vs. Real Madrid? 

You can stream Arsenal vs. Real Madrid on Hulu Live TV (they have live sports) via your computer or mobile device. Hulu Live TV is $44.99/month but gives viewers the option of a 7-day free trial. Arsenal vs. Real Madrid can also be streamed on Playstation Vue and Sling Orange. 

Who is playing in Arsenal vs. Real Madrid? 

While neither starting XI has been confirmed, expect to see Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Sokratis Papastathopoulos in the starting lineup for the Gunners. Forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to get the nod up top as well. 

As for Madrid, manager Zinedine Zidane is expected to start Eden Hazard but not Welshman Gareth Bale. Tony Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco should patrol the midfield for the Spanish club, with Belgin keeper Thibaut Courtois in net.  

RELATED