Soccer

D.C. United looks to extend home streak vs. Sporting KC

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D.C. United looks to extend home streak vs. Sporting KC

For DC United, it’s an opportunity to be greedy. United is undefeated in six games and on 17 points is off to its best start after eight games in club history. The Black and Red has not lost a home game since last June and continues its stay at RFK Stadium Saturday when it plays Sporting Kansas City (Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on CSN).

Establishing a home field advantage has been a stated goal of DC United.  With last Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew, United’s unbeaten run on East Capitol Street has reached 16 games including 12 consecutive in league play. The Houston Dynamo holds the record for unbeaten MLS games at home with 30.

United will enter the weekend with highest points per game at 2.13, but continue to fly under the national media radar. Perhaps United has not been spectacular, but it has more than made up for it in consistency and commitment. In the current MLS power rankings United ranks fourth behind Seattle, New England, and the Red Bulls.

“We’re lucky; haven’t you read everything about us,” head coach Ben Olsen joked when asked about the team’s impressive standing.

Sporting Kansas City has only lost twice in nine matches, but has had to settle for four draws. It could be argued Sporting played its best match of the season last week in a 1-0 win over Chicago. As the score line indicates Sporting struggled to finish its chances and has all season with the exception of a four-goal outburst against Houston.

The challenge:

  1. Dealing with Benny and the hair cut.  It should be noted Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber’s, shall we say interesting haircut, is for a good cause.Feilhaber had fans donate money to the Victory Project, which benefits kids in Kansas City,   to place votes for his next haircut. Feilhaber is now sporting the winning choice—a mullet. More importantly Feilhaber is sporting a winning style on the field and was named MLS Player of the Month for April. Feilhaber’s resume for April included three assists, and the first two-goal game of his five-year MLS career .Preventing Feilhaber from dictating the flow of the game will be a priority for United.
  2. Keep it going. It is hard to find fault with United’s game right now. Against Columbus the Black and Red truly performed like a first place team by defending well and then seizing its opportunities. This is the middle game of a three-game stay at RFK with expansion Orlando City next. There are points at stake that United would like to bank with full knowledge of the long journey that is the MLS schedule. Fabian Espindola has been back for two games and his impact was felt in both victories.  Luis Silva has been used as a substitute for five consecutive games and that is an example of the strength of options available to t head coach Ben Olsen when filling out his team sheet. Chris Rolfe has a goal or an assist in four straight games and has combines well with multiple players.

 

 

 

Game Preview: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns at Audi Field

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USA Today Sports Images

Game Preview: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns at Audi Field

The Washington Spirit, one of nine teams in the National Women's Soccer League, will pay a visit to Audi Field later this summer.

The game versus the Portland Thorns FC is scheduled for August 25 at 8 pm. Tickets can be purchased online via Ticketmaster and start at $31, but will also be available at the door. 

If you're looking for where to watch the Spirit take on the Thorns from the comfort of your own couch, the game will be broadcast on ESPNews starting at 7:38 pm. Dalen Cuff is set to host the pregame show, with USA Women's National Team alumnus Aly Wagner commentating alongside Jenn Hildreth, in her second season of NWSL coverage.

Considering the recent addition of the legendary Wayne Rooney and their move to the new facility, DC United has a lot to celebrate.

Audi Field, which opened in Washington D.C.'s Buzzard Point on July 9, seats 20,000 spectators. For DC United, who previously played at RFK Stadium, the capacity is a step down from the almost 46,000 seats at RFK. But for the Spirit, who call Germantown's Maryland Soccerplex their home, the audience will hopefully far outnumber the Plex's usual 3,000 to 4,000 spectators.

The Spirit have struggled this season, with an unusually high amound of draws and more losses than wins. Though fan favorite and star forward Mallory Pugh is still sidelined with a PCL sprain, the team hopes to improve their ability to close one-goal deficits and gain a sustained offensive advantage. 

Aside from the Audi Field game, the Spirit will host two more home games this season. Utah Royals FC will visit the Soccerplex on Wednesday, August 22, and Sky Blue FC will close out the Spirit's home season on Saturday, September 1. Tickets for either game at their usual field can be purchased through the Washington Spirit's website or upon entry. 

If you haven't paid attention to women's soccer since the USWNT's 2015 World Cup victory, no worries. There's no better time than the present to support women's pro sports. Regardless of the end result, Portland vs. Washington will be a great match-up to watch, and the event has already made DC sports history.

MORE DC SPORTS NEWS:

Wayne Rooney stuns D.C. soccer fans with surprise appearance during World Cup viewing

Wayne Rooney stuns D.C. soccer fans with surprise appearance during World Cup viewing

Washington Dulles International Airport was flooded by soccer fans alike Thursday afternoon awaiting the arrival of one specific person inside the international arrivals terminal: England's all-time goalscorer Wayne Rooney. 

Over 100 fans packed the halls as the 32-year-old made his way out of the airport while posing for pictures and signing autographs. 

Rooney penned a two-and-a-half year guaranteed contract worth about $13 million, which makes him the highest-paid player in D.C. United history. 

He officially becomes available to play for the club beginning July 10, after the transfer window opens. This means his first game could potentially be against Vancouver inside the brand new Audi Field July 10. 

After greeting fans at the airport, Rooney and his camp piled into two blacks SUVs en route to Northeast D.C. 

Little did World Cup fans taking in the England-Belgium match at Wunder Garten know that they were about to be surprised by Wayne Rooney himself. 

In an appearance that lasted just over seven minutes and included a slew of selfies, short conversations and one television interview, Rooney's presence dazzled fans and left others stunned. 

One England native who is now a D.C. resident told me: "We grew up watching him (Rooney) score in the World Cup and that was really important to us. It's hard to believe he just walked through here."

As you would imagine, management at Wunder Garten was thrilled, too.  

"It was great for us because it put us on the map. For someone as famous as Wayne Rooney to come through our establishment, shake hands and hang out, that means a lot. We loved having him here and would love to have him back," said Michael Keller, a member of the bar's management staff. 

 The Englishman will have his hands full as he attempts to put D.C. United back on the map this season. 

Follow Rooney on Twitter and Instagram @WayneRooney.