Soccer

United have depth but need to bring it all together

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United have depth but need to bring it all together

Bill Hamid made sure DC united had a chance. Fielding a starting eleven of mostly reserves United grew in confidence as the match went on, received a stellar effort in goal and two spectacular saves from Hamid, but failed to break through in a 1-0 loss to the Timbers Wednesday in Portland. 

The Timbers started the night at the bottom of the Western Conference and as expected tried to set the tone early and did with a goal form Maximiliano Urruti in the 5th minute. Pressure from Gaston Fernandez forced United defender Taylor Kemp into a turnover and then Fernandez streaking into the box found Urruti for the easy tap-in.

United weathered an early storm from the Timbers and crafted a strong finish to the first half. Starting forwards Conor Doyle and Jairo Arrieta started to link up more before the break and Steve Birnbaum had a clear chance on a corner. Despite the surge United failed to get a shot on target.

United had a bright start to the second half and there was a sense the Black and Red would find the equalizer. Newcomer Facundo Coria came on as a substitute for the second straight game and helped United continue to force the issue. Despite United’s effort Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasay did not have to make a save.

Conclusions:

  1.      Halsti and Coria will make a difference.  Markus Halsti has now made two appearances in midfield for United and he has demonstrated an ability to maintain possessions and ignite attacks. Under pressure Halsti does not get rattled and he played a big role in helping United establish its presence in the game after chasing the Timbers early in the match. Like Halsti, Coria has only made two appearances, but it is clear he has the skill and invention to help United going forward.
  2.     Need to put it all together. In addition to Halsti and Coria, Miguel Aguilar threatened on the left flank and in his second start of the season showed some of the attacking qualities that earned him a first round selection by United in the SuperDraft. Fellow rookie Luke Mishu did not shy away from his first MLS appearance and was solid in his 72 minutes. United has depth it needs with several players dealing with injuries, but needs to be better. In three games United has scored just one goal and in short has to be better in the final third.

 

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

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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.