Soccer

Olsen, United ready to take New York

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Olsen, United ready to take New York

U.S. Open Cup disappointment aside, D.C. United is trying to keep the feel-good factor going. The Black and Red navigated their way to three points last week in Philadelphia to remain in first place and now feature an All-Star coach on the sideline for Sundays game against New York.

It was announced this week that Ben Olsen will serve as head coach when the Major League Soccer All Stars play Chelsea next month in Philadelphia. Olsen, who takes his job seriously but not himself, joked that he was the choice because they ran out of candidates and with the game at PPL Park it would be an easy commute for him.

In reality Olsen, in only his second full season as head coach, is honored at his All-Star inclusion. Olsen is quick to make it a team honor with credit to his players and staff. It adds up because United continues to come together as a group. Depth had added competition within the squad and the strength is showing in the results.

In jumping back into league play after a 22-day break, United found a way to get the desired result against the Union and extend its winning streak to four games. As expected the Union, playing in interim head coachs John Hackworths first game, brought fresh ideas and energy to the field. The Union had the better of the possession and play, but United had Chris Pontius goal to secure the 1-0 win.

The ability to grind out results is a big difference this year, said Olsen. Last year we were in a bunch of games, but we just did not have the experience to manage games and see games out. We do want to get to that point where we are dominating possession and style. That still needs to come.

As United goes in pursuit of that style, the plot thickens. With the aid of some traveling United supporters, Sunday nights nationally televised match against the Red Bulls is sold out. The match will also be the second in the Atlantic Cup. With the support of Chris Pontius hat trick United won the first meeting back in April 4-1.

United vs. Red Bulls is also a top of the table clash. After 16 matches United is at the top with 30 points. The Red Bulls are in third place and have 27 points from 15 matches with Sporting Kansas City sandwiched in between on 29 points from just 14 matches. The Red Bulls managed to salvage a 1-1 tie mid-week on the road against Vancouver.

The Red Bulls have now gone three games without a win since running up an impressive five-game winning streak. Most of that winning streak was accomplished without forward Thierry Henry, who has been bothered by a calf strain. In addition defender Rafael Marquez has been absent because of a thigh injury, but both players could be on the field Sunday.

If Henry is in the lineup we know what he offers, added Olsen. But for the most part well try and get ourselves as ready as we can be on our side and everything we can control on our end and then see what their lineup has in store when we get to New York.

Indeed regardless of who is in on New Yorks side, United has to be focused on developing the way Olsen wants his team to play. There are no excuses. United is healthy and can use the summer months for a launching pad for a strong finish to the season and a road win on Sunday would add rocket fuel to the cause.

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. 

World Cup Viewing Guide: The best soccer bars in Washington, D.C.

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USA TODAY Sports

World Cup Viewing Guide: The best soccer bars in Washington, D.C.

Although the United States men's national soccer team is irrelevant to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there are still plenty of reasons to watch this summer. 

32 countries are making a run for the Cup, which includes both Iceland and Panama making their debuts in worldwide competition. 

In 2014, almost half of the world's population knew what was at stake. 

3.2 billion people tuned in to watch that year. 

Before venturing out to watch this year's madness, consider this list of local bars in the D.C. area: 

Caddies Bar and Grill (4922 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814) 

  • This sports bar located in the heart of Bethesda is offering $9.99 lunch specials Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Happy hour: Monday-Friday from 3-8 p.m. featuring $12 Bud Light, Miller Lite and Yuengling pitchers
  • @caddiescordell

 

Dock FC (1400 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002) 

  • Located in a former warehouse, this location is a hub for soccer fans in the D.C. area. 
  • World Cup Package: a pitcher of beer with nachos, churros and wings for $50 
  • Bucket special: 6 beers for $30 (Modelo Especial, Peroni, Heineken & PBR)
  • Food comes from two separate kitchens under the same ownership
  • Tacos/nachos comes from La Puerta Verde
  • Ari's Diner provides burgers, fries and breakfast foods 
  • Four projectors and a slew of TV's 
  • @DockFCDC

(Photo courtesy: @DockFCDC) 

Fado Irish Pub (808 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001) 

  • Guinness is widely argued as the top beer that goes hand in hand with watching soccer and Fado Irish Pub gives you both
  • $5 drink specials include Guinness, Goose Island, Red Bull and Red Bull Orange
  • June Beer of the Month: Harp Lager 
  • Bucket special: 5 beers for $25 
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday to 2 a.m., Friday-Sunday to 3 a.m.
  • Limited $9.95 brunch deals (avocado toast and Irish breakfasts) 
  • Management is taking reservations throughout the month 
  • @fadodc

 

Franklin Hall (1348 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009) 

Per management, here is the official schedule for the World Cup at Franklin Hall: 

  • Saturday games: $3 Pints, $8 Liters of Narragansett 
  • Sunday games: $4 Pints of Founders Solid Gold, $7 Liters of Miller Lite
  • Tuesday games: $4 Port City Optimal Wit, $6 Giant soft Pretzel with Port City beer cheese
  • Wednesday games: $2 off all Liters and free toppings on all sausages
  • @FranklinHallDC

 

Lou's City Bar (1400 Irving St NW, Washington, DC 20010 )

  • Located next to Bar Roubaix, which was recently named the official bar of Poland, this NW DC area offers a diverse soccer atmosphere
  • Heineken specials: $4 drafts and $16 pitchers 
  • Fans from Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico crowd this bar and enjoy special dishes from each country
  • @Louscitybar

The Lucky Bar (1221 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036) 

  • Set to open early throughout the World Cup, Lucky Bar offers special Russian foods for breakfast and lunch
  • Cocktails include The Putin, Moscow Mule and White & Black Russians 
  • Per management, the atmosphere has been electric throughout the first week with big crowds for Denmark, Iceland and Russia 
  • @luckybardc

 

Public Bar (1214 18th St NW B, Washington, DC 20036) 

  • Heineken specials: $5 drafts and $30 buckets 
  • A hot spot for Mexicans, Peruvians, Colombians and Argentinians 
  • Per management, a Mariachi band will be playing ahead of Mexico's match on 6/23 
  • @PUBLICBAR

 

The Queen Vic   (1206 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002) 

  • This Old English Pub in NE DC offers a traditional British menu for soccer fans throughout the World Cup 
  • Draft specials: $5 Carlsberg and Jameson 
  • Per management, if there is an England match, it will be on with sound throughout the entire bar
  • @thequeenvicdc 

 

Have thoughts on my Top 8? Hop on Twitter and let me know @BobTrosset.