Soccer

United looks to strike back

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United looks to strike back

Defensive midfielder is not one of soccers glamour positions. Traditional jersey numbers are not assigned to it like number 9 for striker and number 10 for playmaking midfielder. The importance of a defensive midfielder goes beyond the numbers and is a focus for D.C. United.

United is hoping to have Perry Kitchen still in the starting eleven when it begins a three-game home stretch Wednesday against the Colorado Rapids at R.F.K. Stadium. Kitchen was forced to leave the first half of Saturdays 1-0 loss in Houston with a hyper extended left knee. An MRI revealed no structural damage to Kitchens knee.

We had about four or five guys taking MRIs today, said United head coach Ben Olsen after Mondays training. We are trying to get through and we will see who can walk and who can run. But this year I do have options.

It is no slight to Stephen King, who replaced Kitchen on Saturday, but after the switch in defensive midfield United was not as fluid. Going all the way back to Richie Williams United fans have appreciated the role of the defensive midfielder. From allowing the attacking midfielder to create to helping with possession, the defensive midfielder is an important role that Kitchen has been growing into.

In addition to concern for Kitchen, his first choice replacement Marcelo Saragosa has been battling a calf strain that prevented him from being on the substitutes bench. Also in the defensive third Dejan Jakovic, Emilliano Dudar, and Ethan White continue to recover from injuries.

Up front is where Olsens options come into play and he will need them. Chris Pontius is slowed by tightness in his gluteal muscle and leading scorer Maicon Santos is feeling some wear and tear with a calf injury. The fitness of Pontius and Santos could determine where Dwayne De Rosario plays. De Rosario might be forced to move up to forward.

If De Rosario leaves the midfield then that will create an opening for Branko Boskovic to get his third start of the year. The health questions around Pontius and Santos could also lead to a start for Hamdi Salihi at forward. After a rocky start to his MLS career Salihi has scored two goals in the last three games.

On the outside of midfield Olsen has a choice of Danny Cruz, Andy Najar, and Lewis Neal. Najar seems to be set to stay in midfield after starting one game at right back. Neal was in the first eleven against Toronto FC and with over ten years of experience in the English leagues is an intriguing option on the left side.

He (Neal) is sharp on the ball, Olsen said. I would like to see him be more of a threat offensively. He can keep the ball for days. He is technically sound. He just needs to relax a little bit and get more crosses in.

Like United, the Colorado Rapids have found a way to play through early season injuries and still get results. On 15 points from 10 matches, the Rapids lost their defensive midfielder Pablo Mastroeni to a concussion in the second game of the season. At forward Omar Cummings suffered a sprained left ankle in their 2-0 win over FC Dallas and is out four weeks.

The Rapids have been able to spread the wealth. The teams 15 goals have been scored by eight different players and nine of the goals have been finished by newcomers. Leading the Rapids debutantes is Kamani Hill who has three goals and is back in the United States after playing in Germany and Portugal following his career at UCLA.

The Rapids are also hoping to get more minutes out of Conor Casey at forward. Casey ruptured his left Achilles tendon at Seattle lasts season and just returned two games ago after a ten-month absence. He has been used off the bench, but his return to full fitness will help a Rapids attack that is now being engineered from the center of midfield by Argentine Martin Rivero.

Rivero has a little Christian Gomez in him according to Olsen and sealed the win over Dallas with his first MLS goal. Riveros goal came off a Brian Mullan cross and he and left-sided midfielder Jamie Castrillon should keep Uniteds outside backs Robbie Russell and Chris Korb busy.

On defense the Rapids have recorded four shutouts. Their back five starts with defensive midfielder Jeff Laurentowicz who is one of the better players at the position in MLS. The back four has plenty of experience with Tyrone Marshall and Drew Moor anchoring the middle and Colombian Luis Zapata and Kosuke Kimura able to jump into the attack.

Yes I am concerned we have lost two of three games, Olsen added. I am confident we will respond. After giving up five goals in San Jose, we came back and shutout Toronto. We have a break coming up to heal up, but we need to take care of business in these next three home games.

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. 

 

 

2018 World Cup: Group Stage results, scores, TV Schedule, and how to watch

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USA Today Sports

2018 World Cup: Group Stage results, scores, TV Schedule, and how to watch

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia begins Thursday, with group stage play until the knockout round begins June 27.

Although the United States Men's National Team did not qualify, the field is set for an unpredictable tournament featuring the best soccer players in the World. 

Brazil, Germany and Spain — as they seem to always be — are the favorites to win the 2018 World Cup. Before they can get there, though, they'll have to advance out of the group stage.

The 2018 World Cup airs on FOX and FS1. You can stream World Cup games online with Fox Sports Go and the Fox Sports Go app.

Here's everything you need to know about the group stage fixtures.

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP HOW TO WATCH: 

GROUP STAGE TELEVISION SCHEDULE

Group A schedule, teams, standings, results, scores

Group A Teams: Russia (70), Egypt (45), Saudi Arabia (67), Uruguay (14)
Group A Schedule:
June 14: 
Russia 5, Saudi Arabia 0
June 15: Uruguay 1, Egypt 0
June 19: Russia vs. Egypt. 2:00 p.m. FOX
June 20: Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia. 11:00 a.m. FOX
June 25: Uruguay vs. Russia. 10:00 a.m. FOX
June 25: Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt. 10:00 a.m. FS1

Group B schedule, teams, standings

Group B Teams: Iran (37), Morocco (41), Portugal (4), Spain (10)
Group B Schedule:
June 15: 
Iran 1, Morocco 0
June 15: Spain 3, Portugal 3
June 20: Portugal vs. Morocco. 8:00 a.m. FS1
June 20: Iran vs. Spain.  2:00 p.m. FOX
June 25: Spain vs. Morocco. 2:00 p.m. FS1
June 25: Iran vs. Portugal.  2:00 p.m. FOX

Group C schedule, teams, standings

Group C Teams: Australia (36), Denmark (12), France (7), Peru (11)
Group C Schedule:
June 16: 
France 2, Australia 1
June 16: Denmark 1, Peru 0
June 21: Denmark vs. Australia. 8:00 a.m. FS1
June 21: France vs. Peru.  11:00 a.m. FOX
June 26: Australia vs. Peru. 10:00 a.m. FS1
June 26: Denmark vs. France. 10:00 a.m. FOX

Group D schedule, teams, standings

Group D Teams: Argentina (5), Croatia (20), Iceland (22), Nigeria (48)
Group D Schedule
June 16: 
Argentina 1, Iceland 1
June 16: Croatia 2, Nigeria 0
June 21: Argentina vs. Croatia. 2:00 p.m. FOX
June 22: Nigeria vs. Iceland. 11:00 a.m. FOX
June 26: Nigeria vs. Argentina. 2:00 p.m. FOX
June 26: Iceland vs. Croatia. 2:00 p.m. FS1

Group E schedule, teams, standings

Group E Teams: Brazil (2), Costa Rica (23), Serbia (34), Switzerland (6)
Group E Schedule
June 17: 
Serbia 1, Costa Rica 0
June 17: Brazil 1, Switzerland 1
June 22: Brazil vs. Costa Rica 8:00 a.m. FS1
June 22: Serbia vs. Switzerland. 2:00 p.m. FOX
June 27: Serbia vs. Brazil. 2:00 p.m. FOX
June 27: Switzerland vs. Costa Rica. 2:00 p.m. FS1

Group F schedule, teams, standings

Group F Teams: Germany (1), Korea Republic (57), Mexico (15), Sweden (24)
Group F Schedule
June 17: 
Mexico 1, Germany 0
June 18: Sweden 1, Korea Republic 0
June 23: Korea Republic vs. Mexico.  11:00 a.m. FOX
June 23: Germany vs. Sweden.  2:00 p.m. FOX
June 27: Korea Republic vs. Germany. 10:00 a.m. FS1
June 27: Mexico vs. Sweden. 10:00 a.m. FOX

Group G schedule, teams, standings

Group G Teams: Belgium (3), England (12), Panama (55), Tunisia (21)
Group G Schedule
June 18: 
Belgium 3, Panama 0
June 18: Tunisia vs. England. 2:00 p.m. FS1
June 23: Belgium vs. Tunisia. 8:00 a.m. FOX
June 24: England vs. Panama 8:00 a.m. FS1
June 28: Panama vs. Tunisia. 2:00 p.m. FS1
June 28: England vs. Belgium.  2:00 p.m. FOX

Group H schedule, teams, standings

Group H Teams: Colombia (16), Japan (61), Poland (8), Senegal (27)
Group H Schedule
June 19: 
Colombia vs. Japan. 8:00 a.m. FS1
June 19:Poland vs. Senegal. 11:00 a.m. FOX
June 24: Japan vs. Senegal. 11:00 a.m. FOX
June 24: Poland vs. Colombia. 2:00 p.m. FOX
June 28: Japan vs. Poland. 10:00 a.m. FS1
June 28: Senegal vs. Colombia. 10:00 a.m. FOX

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP SCHEDULE

Group Stage: Thursday, June 15 to Thursday, June 28
Round of 16: Saturday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 3
Quarterfinals: Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7
Semifinals: Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11
Third Place Game: Saturday, July 14
World Cup Final: Sunday, July 15

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP GROUP STAGE SCHEDULE, RESULTS, SCORES:

Thursday, June 14: 
Russia 5, Saudi Arabia 0 (Group A)

 Friday, June 15: 
Uruguay 1, Egypt 0 (Group A)
Iran 1, Morocco 0 (Group B)
Portugal 3, Spain 3 (Group B)

Saturday. June 16: 
France 2, Australia 1 (Group C)
Argentina 1, Iceland 1 (Group D)
Denmark 1, Peru 0 (Group C)
Croatia 2, Nigeria 0 (Group D)

Sunday, June 17:
Serbia 1, Costa Rica 0(Group E)
Mexico 1, Germany 0 (Group F)
Brazil 1, Switzerland 1 (Group E)

Monday, June 18:
Sweden 1, Korea Republic 0 (Group F)
Belgium vs. Panama. 11:00 a.m. FS1 (Group G)
Tunisia vs. England. 2:00 p.m. FS1 (Group G)

Tuesday, June 19: 
Colombia vs. Japan. 8:00 a.m. FS1 (Group H)
Poland vs. Senegal. 11:00 a.m. FOX (Group H)
Russia vs. Egypt. 2:00 p.m. FOX (Group A)

Wednesday, June 20: 
Portugal vs. Morocco. 8:00 a.m. FS1 (Group B)
Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia. 11:00 a.m. FOX (Group A)
Iran vs. Spain.  2:00 p.m. FOX (Group B) 

Thursday, June 21: 
Denmark vs. Australia. 8:00 a.m. FS1 (Group C)
France vs. Peru.  11:00 a.m. FOX (Group C)
Argentina vs. Croatia. 2:00 p.m. FOX (Group D)

Friday, June 22:
Brazil vs. Costa Rica 8:00 a.m. FS1 (Group E)
Nigeria vs. Iceland. 11:00 a.m. FOX (Group D)
Serbia vs. Switzerland. 2:00 p.m. FOX (Group E)

Saturday, June 23:
Belgium vs. Tunisia. 8:00 a.m. FOX (Group G)
Korea Republic vs. Mexico.  11:00 a.m. FOX (Group F)
Germany vs. Sweden.  2:00 p.m. FOX (Group F)

Sunday, June 24:
England vs. Panama 8:00 a.m. FS1 (Group G)
Japan vs. Senegal. 11:00 a.m. FOX (Group H)
Poland vs. Colombia. 2:00 p.m. FOX (Group H)

Monday, June 25: 
Uruguay vs. Russia. 10:00 a.m. FOX (Group A)
Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt. 10:00 a.m. FS1 (Group A)
Spain vs. Morocco. 2:00 p.m. FS1 (Group B)
Iran vs. Portugal.  2:00 p.m. FOX (Group B)

Tuesday, June 26: 
Australia vs. Peru. 10:00 a.m. FS1 (Group C)
Denmark vs. France. 10:00 a.m. FOX (Group C)
Nigeria vs. Argentina. 2:00 p.m. FOX (Group D)
Iceland vs. Croatia. 2:00 p.m. FS1 (Group D)

Wednesday, June 27:
Korea Republic vs. Germany. 10:00 a.m. FS1(Group F)
Mexico vs. Sweden. 10:00 a.m. FOX (Group F)
Serbia vs. Brazil. 2:00 p.m. FOX (Group E)
Switzerland vs. Costa Rica. 2:00 p.m. FS1(Group E)

Thursday, June 28: 
Senegal vs. Colombia. 10:00 a.m. FOX  (Group H)
Japan vs. Poland. 10:00 a.m. FS1 (Group H)
Panama vs. Tunisia. 2:00 p.m. FS1 (Group G)
England vs. Belgium.  2:00 p.m. FOX (Group G)

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP LOCATIONS

Moscow: Luzhniki Stadium (81,000), Otkrythye Arena (44,9292)
Saint Petersburg: Krestovsky Stadium (66,881)
Sochi: Fisht Olympic Stadium (47,659)
Ekaterinburg: Central Stadium (35,000)
Saransk: Mordovia Arena (45,015)
Rostov-on-Don: Rostov Arena (43,702)
Kazan: Kazan Arena (41,105)
Kaliningrad: Kaliningrad Stadium (35,00)
Samara: Cosmos Arena (44,918)
Volgograd: Volgograd Arena (45,015)
Nizhny Novgorod: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (44,899)

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP TOP-10 ODDS & NOTABLES

Brazil: 4-1
Germany: 19-4
Spain: 13-2
France: 7-1
Argentina: 9-1
Belgium: 11-1
England: 16-1
Portugal: 22-1
Uruguay: 28-1
Croatia: 35-1
Russia: 60-1
Mexico: 100-1
Iceland: 300-1
Costa Rica: 500-1
Panama: 1000-1