Soccer

United begin another tough stretch of three games in eight days

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United begin another tough stretch of three games in eight days

Here we go again.

With a 1-0 loss on Sunday in Philadelphia, DC United ended a busy stretch of three games in nine days that also included a tie with Sporting Kansas City and a win over Orlando City. Now United starts a busy period again beginning with Saturday’s game at New England.

This time the Black and Red is set to play three games in eight days including a mid-week trip to Portland before returning home May 23rd to host Philadelphia. There is a cliché about taking one game at a time and United has no trouble focusing on the Revolution with first place in the Eastern Conference on the line.

DC United and Western Conference leaders FC Dallas remain MLS leaders on points per game with 21 points from 11 matches. After a 4-2 setback Wednesday in Kansas City, the Revolution has played one more match than United and sits two points back in the standings.

Both the Revolution and United are trying to get back to collecting points. In the loss to Philadelphia United’s eight-game unbeaten run came to an end. The Revolution had its nine-game unbeaten run stopped in Kansas City.

The challenge:

  1.      Dealing with injuries. United started the season with Markus Halsti and Luis Silva sidelined by injuries. Halsti, the Finnish international signed by United this past winter, made his MLS début Sunday in Philadelphia after recovering from a knee injury suffered in preseason. Through 80 minutes in the center of the midfield Halsti with steel on defense and precise passes showed his quality against Philadelphia and United has another strong option in the middle. United’s attack is the question. Unfortunately in that game Silva, who missed the first month of the season with a hamstring injury, was forced to an early exit by another hamstring injury and is out 2-3 weeks.  Silva joins Fabian Espindola (knee injury) and Nick De Leon (hamstring injury) in United’s athletic training room. From Argentina forward/midfielder Facundo Coria was signed this week, but he will not be ready to play until his international transfer certificate and work visa is complete. United is not rattled and believers it has the depth Chris Rolfe has been the team’s constant going forward whether he plays up top or on the flank. Michael Farfan has offered bright moments on offense and will need to continue to progress in De Leon’s absence. Finally United needs Chris Pontius and Jairo Arrieta to become even more dangerous and provide goals.
  2.      An angry Revolution. New England is smarting from Wednesday’s road loss to Sporting Kansas City and will be eager to energize its offense in front of the home crowd. With 17 goals the Revs are right at the top in scoring in MLS and it is easy to see why. The Revs have multiple options and that’s why it was no surprise when Juan Agudelo struck first against Kansas City. What was a surprise were the four unanswered goals from Sporting. In addition to Agudelo, Charlie Davies also has four goals on the season and they are supported in midfield by Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, and Teal Bunbury.

Bottom line: United will have the dual challenge of being disciplined on defense, while creating the pressure in attack that was missing in Philadelphia to prevent New England from getting in to an offensive rhythm.

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.