United look to impose its will on Crew


United look to impose its will on Crew

DC United is very much, well united. Heading into Saturday’s home match again the Columbus Crew (Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on CSN), the Black and Red has had many observers scratching their heads. The team doesn’t score much, often doesn’t dominate games, but is sitting on top of the Eastern Conference.

Through seven games United has collected 14 points or two points per game which is the highest average in Major League Soccer. The impressive point total was gathered even while leading scorer Fabian Espindola served a six-game suspension. Espindola’s suspension in part might explain the light goal total with only eight tallies from seven matches.

Espindola was back this past Saturday and, while he didn’t score, he energized, created, and overall brightened United’s attack. In the 2-1 win over the Vancouver, it is no coincidence for only the second time this season United scored two goals with Espindola back occupying opposing defenders.

There are no off nights in MLS. Since a 1-0 win over expansion Orlando City, United has had to deal with the New York Red Bulls, Houston Dynamo, and Vancouver Whitecaps and each brought confidence and conviction to matches against United. The same can be said of the Columbus Crew with an unbeaten string of four matches that has produced nine goals.

The challenge

  1. Build with Espindola. As we noted Espindola immediately made a difference in his MLS season debut against Vancouver.  Now against Columbus United has a chance to develop a true offensive rhythm with Espindola set to start his second game of the season. What is clear is that United has a strong spine up the middle. Espindola sets the tone at the top, Perry Kitchen provides the glue in midfield, and Bobby Boswell has been a rock at the back. Kofi Opare has stepped in for Steve Birnbaum and has been a perfect partner for Boswell in the center of the defense. Last week Chris Rolfe, after playing the first six games on the flank, started with Espindola at forward. Where ever he plays Rolfe has been a difference maker. In short United has been winning games as a collective unit and now can look to impose its will more with Espindola back in the side.
  2. Break up the Crew. When given time and space the Crew can be a real menace on offense. The seven goals over the last weeks were against strugglers Orlando and Philadelphia, but that does diminish the danger factor offered by Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay. Kamara has bagged five goals and United will have to respect his speed and clever runs. Finlay can finish and score, but provides excellent service form the right flank.

RELATED: [Espindola's return leads United past Whitecaps]

Premier League Roundup: Tottenham sell Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid

Associated Press Images

Premier League Roundup: Tottenham sell Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid

With less than a month to go until the summer transfer window closes on Aug. 8, Premier League clubs are wheeling and dealing to ship out or bring in talent. Here's the latest Premier League news:

Player Notes

Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs have sold right-back Kieran Trippier to La Liga side Atletico Madrid, the club announced Wednesday. The English defender made 114 appearances for Tottenham in all competitions after joining from Burnley in 2015. 

West Ham United: Sebastien Haller has been acquired from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in a £45m move. The French striker scored 20 goals last season and replenishes West Ham's attacking options after the departures of Marko ArnautovicAndy Carroll and Lucas Perez.

Everton: In a surprise move, English midfielder Fabian Delph is joining the Toffees from reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. The 29-year-old signed a three-year deal with Everton which runs through 2022. 

Newcastle United: Joselu is heading back to his native Spain, the 29-year-old striker joining La Liga club Alaves for an undisclosed fee. His departure leaves the Magpies thin at forward, top scorers Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon are also leaving the club this summer. 

Sheffield United: The Premier League newcomers have signed former Manchester United academy graduate Ravel Morrison on a one-year contract. "Ravel is an undoubted talent, and we are delighted that we have put together a deal that suits all parties," Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder told BBC. 

Source: Rotoworld


Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle return to Spirit (but Lavelle may not play) Saturday

Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle return to Spirit (but Lavelle may not play) Saturday

Barely two weeks removed from their Women's World Cup Championship victory, U.S. Women's National Team youngsters Rose Lavelle and Malory Pugh will return for the Washington Spirits' matchup against the Houston Dash on Saturday, though Lavelle may not play according to the Washington Post's Steven Goff

Pugh scored once and had one assist in the World Cup, while Lavelle notched three goals, including the game-securing goal in the World Cup final. The pair, along with the rest of the USWNT, partied hard after their gold medal win, but now will rejoin their club team. 

Lavelle is still working back from a hamstring injury that almost kept the midfielder out of the World Cup. She is unlikely to play on Saturday, but will be in attendance to greet fans and sign autographs. 

Fans can watch the Spirit and the Dash face off Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.