Soccer

DCU ready for the Houston heat

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DCU ready for the Houston heat

Its hard to think of anything positive related to the recent heat wave that also triggered a violent storm that left most of the D.C. area without power for days. If nothing else the oppressive temperatures may have helped prepare D.C. United for Sundays game at Houston.

"The weather in DC has been a little unusual to say the least, United defender Robbie Russell said. "But it has been good in preparing us for that kind of humidity and that kind of heat. I know I was hurting in Houston, but that game is in the past."

The heat seemed to take its toll on United in Houston back in May when the Black and Red lost to the Dynamo 1-0. Whether it has been the heat or just a strong Dynamo side, United has never won in Houston.

Since 2006 United has managed only one draw against the Dynamo in Texas and is 0-6-1 at both Robertson and BBVA Compass stadiums. United has been outscored in those matches 13-4.

"The summer has been brutal here so the guys are ready for that, added head coach Ben Olsen. It will be a level playing field as far as heat, it shouldnt be an issue."

To add to this wild weather summer, it might be hotter in D.C. on Sunday than Houston. The forecast for Houston is for temperatures in the 80s and a chance of showers. Width of the playing field and not the weather is probably the bigger issue. Even with their own stadium, Houston has kept its playing field only 70-yards wide.

They know how to utilize that small space, said former Dynamo star and now United captain Dwayne De Rosario. They are very good in tight quarters and we just have to be ready and willing to set the intensity and match up with them. It suits their game, but we also have the skill to play in those tight areas.

On 25 points from 18 matches Dominic Kinnears team is now in fifth place and very much in contention in the Eastern Conference. Since beating the LA galaxy at the end of May, the Dynamo has only won twice in seven matches. The Dynamo has yet to score in July with 0-0 draws against Chicago and Kansas City.

The book is similar with Houston year after year, Olsen said. Brad Davis is a helluva player and their service is very good and their commitment to get on the end of that service is very good. Their combative and their organized and they are well coached.

Much of the Dynamos invention on offense does go through Davis on the left side of the midfield. Davis had 16 assists last year and was critical in their march to MLS Cup 2011. Over the last three seasons Davis has chalked up 40 assists and is crosses from the flank are even more precise on Houstons tighter home field.

Houston is a team that likes to serve a lot of balls in (to the area), added United midfielder Chris Pontius. We have to close down service especially on Bard Davis and force them to the middle of the field and make them make the game from there. We need to get as wide as possible and we need to get more passion than we had the last time we were there.

Out wide United will be playing its first game without Andy Najar. While Najar has joined Honduras for the Olympics, Uniteds strength in number will once again be on display. Najars absence should allow a healthy Danny Cruz to get back in the starting lineup on the right side of midfield.

The most intriguing question about Olsens starting eleven centers on the midfield. Olsen could start Branko Boskovic in the attacking role and move Dwayne De Rosario higher behind the striker like he did in the 3-0 win over Montreal. Olsens other option is to use Boskovic off the bench and drop De Rosario back to the center of the midfield.

The Washington Spirit are hitting the road to face off against Utah Royals FC on Saturday

The Washington Spirit are hitting the road to face off against Utah Royals FC on Saturday

The Washington Spirit are hitting the road as they prepare to face off against the Utah Royals FC on Saturday at 9 p.m. 

Utah is hosting Washington in their home opener of the season at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. 

The Spirit are coming off of a victory over Sky Blue FC 2-0. The win moving the Spirit to the top of the NWSL rankings. 

It was a big night for the Spirit’s new additions.

During Saturday’s game against Sky Blue FC Spirit rookie defender Sam Staab scored a corner kick during the 59th minute giving the Spirit a 1-0 lead. Washington’s Megan Crosson also scored her first goal two minutes into the second half-stoppage time, sealing the win.

This will be the first game of the season for Utah. Utah finished the 2018 season with a record of 9-7-8, falling two points short of the playoffs. 

New Utah Royals FC midfielder Veronica “Vero" Boquete is expected to be a major contribution to Utah this season. Boquete is a Spanish Women’s National Team veteran midfielder who was captain of Spain’s first-ever World Cup in 2015. Bouquet was named NWSL Best XI after winning league Player of the Week three times. 

The last time the Washington played Utah, Washington lost 0-1. 

MORE SPIRIT NEWS:

Washington Spirit home opener on Saturday

Washington Spirit home opener on Saturday

The Washington Spirit will kick off their first game of the 2019 NWSL season on Saturday, April 13th at 7:00p.m. The Spirit will host the Sky Blue FC at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Washington finished the 2018 season in eighth place with a 2-17-5 record and 35 goals. However, with some new additions to the roster they are expected to make major improvements in the 2019 season.  

During the off-season the Spirit announced former professional soccer player Richie Burke as the new head coach and signed all five of their 2018 NWSL College Draft picks, including first-round picks Jordan DiBiasi, Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady and Dorian Bailey, and second-round pick Bayley Feist. The Spirit also added two new international players in midfielders Amy Harrison and Chloe Logarzo of Australia. 

USWNT trio Andi Sullivan, Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe will return to the team. 

In 2018 Bledsoe and Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridanboth led the league in saves with 108, setting a new NWSL record. 

The last time the two teams met they played to a 1-1 draw. Sky Blue FC midfielder Sarah Killion tied the game in the 87th minute after Spirit forward Arielle Ship put the Spirit in the lead during the 71st minute. 

Tickets can be purchased here