Soccer

Union beat United with only 10 men in U.S. Open Cup

usatsi_8674745_141983962_lowres.jpg

Union beat United with only 10 men in U.S. Open Cup

The Philadelphia Union used a U.S. Open Cup run last year, when they made it to the final, to energize their season. On Wednesday the Union seemed to channel the spirit of 2014 and rallied for a 2-1 win over to D.C. United to advance to the quarterfinals. 

The U.S. Open Cup is often full of twists and turns and Tuesday offered another example. Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the playing conditions in the first 14 minutes of the match before lightning forced a stoppage in play. 

After play resumed, the Union was reduced to ten men when C.J. Sapong was given a red card for an elbow to the face of United defender Kofi Opare in the 24th minute. Three minutes later United opened the scoring on a goal by Jairo Arrieta that was started by a dangerous Miguel Aguilar cross from the right flank.

Despite conceding a quick goal after the red card, the loss of Sapong only seemed to spur the Union. From the 35th minute to the 40th minute the Union consistently pressured and United was satisfied to reach the break up 1-0. The Union’s pressure paid off in the second half with goals from Eric Ayuk Mbu in the 56th minute and Fabinho in the 79th minute.

There is little time for D.C. United to lament the lost Cup opportunity Tuesday in Philadelphia. There is first place to protect in the Eastern Conference and that continues with league play on Friday in Seattle. Later this summer there is another trophy to chase with the start of CONCACAF Champions League play.

Conclusions:

  1. No excuses. Balancing the needs of the league schedule, United’s starting lineup featured from back to front Dykstra, Mishu, Birnbaum, Opare, Robinson, Doyle, Jeffrey, Halsti, Aguilar, Coria, and Arrieta. It might not have been United’s first choice lineup, but on a team that has used 19 starting lineups in 20 MLS matches the first eleven had enough talent and experience to succeed.
  2. Aguilar best player. D.C. United continues to build a strong foundation through the MLS SuperDraft. This year’s first round pick midfielder Miguel Aguilar is getting better with each game. On Tuesday in Philadelphia was dangerous on his runs, especially in the first half, and was crafty in the final third.

MORE D.C. UNITED: US heads to World Cup final with 2-0 win over Germany

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

audi-field-silhouette.jpg
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.