United look to keep streak alive against rising Chicago Fire


United look to keep streak alive against rising Chicago Fire

The streak is under serious threat. DC United has not lost since June at RFK Stadium. The Black and Red is riding a record tying 19-game unbeaten streak at home and to establish a new franchise mark has to deal with its fourth match in eleven days against a surging side form Chicago.

The Fire is coming off a resounding 3-0 win Saturday over Montreal and is unbeaten in its last three games. After only cobbling together eight goals in its first seven matches, the Fire has found the back of the net eight times in its last four games.

United has more than survived its schedule and unfortunate injuries.  United’s most lethal combination from last summer was Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva and they have yet to start a game together because of injury or suspension. Espindola, arguably United’s best player last season, has only appeared in two games.

The challenge:

  1. Starting strong. United can be excused for feeling a bit weary. The team albeit not every player has been on both coasts in the past week and has been challenged.  Still United is at home and can ill-afford to fall into the trap of its last two matches when it conceded goals in the opening five minutes. The team leads the league in wins (3) when allowing the first goal, but in the midst of a heavy schedule would rather not have to chase the game.
  2. The finish. United is in first place, but still needs to be even better in the final third. After only putting one shot on target in its previous three games, United was better in attack on Saturday with five shots on goal. Conor Doyle has been working hard enough to earn a goal and might start again up top. Jairo Arrieta has proven to be a super-sub and his energy off the bench has changed games.
  3. Opportunity for the newcomers. In the middle of a busy stretch Markus Halsti and Facundo Coria might receive more playing time. In different situations both players possess the quality to be in the first eleven, but on United to date they have been valuable substitutes. In the midfield Halsti and Coria can create space and ignite attacks.
  4. No Maloney, but still the right Shipp.  Without question the absence of Shaun Maloney is going to be a challenge for the Fire. Maloney has been called up by Scotland for a friendly against Qatar and a qualifier against the Republic of Ireland. Maloney will not be pulling the strings in midfield, but Harrison Shipp is still a big concern on the right flank. 

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

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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.


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.