D.C. United tops Arabe Unido in CCL opener


D.C. United tops Arabe Unido in CCL opener

Don’t pass go. Don’t ask questions. It is life on the road in the CONCACAF Champions League. The goal is to a grab a result and get home as fast as possible. For DC United in its CCL opener it was mission accomplished after a 1-0 win in Panama over Arabe Unido.

“I was pleased,” said head coach Ben Olsen who was not in Panama because of a CONCACAF red card suspension from last season.  “It is all about finding a way to get points on the road and it was great opportunity for guys coming back from injury and some of the younger players.”

One of the younger players provided the game’s only goal. First round draft pick and rookie from the University of San Francisco Miguel Aguilar scored in the 85th minute to secure the full three points for United.  Aguilar was part of a first eleven that included fellow rookie Luke Mishu along with United academy product Jalen Robinson.

The game was fairly even in possession, but United had seven corner kicks and more shots on target (6-4). 

With Olsen back in D.C., assistant coach Chad Ashton was in charge and he noted:

“I think it was a good game, a hard fought game. They have a very athletic team that is very dangerous and we feel fortunate to be able to come down here and get a result. We have a very long season, including Champions League this past March, so it was important to able mix in more players and still get a result.” 


  1. Michael Farfan impact.  “I thought as the game went on the midfield found its way,” Ashton said.  “We looked solid defensively in the first half and then Michael Farfan added an offensive dimension for us in the second half that resulted in the goal.” It was Farfan who came on in the second half as a substitute and used a clever back-heel pass to feed a through ball to Aguilar for the game-winning finish. Farfan is just coming back from a hamstring injury. Last Thursday against New York City FC Farfan played 26 minutes, but before that had not featured in a game since May 23.
  2. Solid in goal. Andrew Dykstra was in goal for United and against an aggressive Arabe Unido side he was forced to make four saves. Dykstra’s denial of an effort by Armando Polo in the 12th minute prevented the home side from gaining early confidence.
  3. Rested for the weekend.  Second year player Steve Birnbaum was the only regular starter to play. Birnbaum was joined on the backline by Jalen Robinson, Luke Mishu and Kofe Opare. The midfield featured Miguel Aguilar and Chris Pontius on the flanks with Markus Halsti and Jared Jeffrey in the middle. Up front Facundo Coria played underneath Jairo Arrieta.

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

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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.


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.