Soccer

United must be ready for take off against Houston

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United must be ready for take off against Houston

R.F.K Stadium is big, but on the field space will be at a premium for D.C United in Saturdays home match against the Houston Dynamo. An organized and disciplined Dynamo side has found a way to 8 points from 5 matches and will test Uniteds six-game unbeaten run.

They (Houston) know each other very well, United head coach Ben Olsen You dont get a lot of chances against Houston, you never do. You have to take advantage of those few opportunities you have.

Olsens standing desire to have his team switch the point of attack will be especially important against the Dynamo. An offense without invention or creativity will struggle against the Dynamos defense that is particularly strong in the middle with central defenders Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell.

Uniteds flank players, which likely again will include Danny Cruz and Nick De Leon, will be needed to help the stretch the field. In addition United could use its outside backs to help in the attack. That is not the strength of left back Daniel Woolard, but its possible for right back Robbie Russell to pick his spots and go forward.

Heading into Saturdays match Uniteds offense is showing plenty of signs of life. Now playing at forward Chris Pontius had his first career hat trick in Sundays 4-1 win over New York and is the MLS Player-of-the-Week. United is averaging nearly 15 shots per contest, and that means goals United has 12 on the season, trailing only New York (17) and San Jose (13).

On defense United worked extensively on set pieces this week. The Dynamo has only 5 goals on the season, but two have come off corner kicks. Again United should be confident with only eight goals allowed this season compared to 19 goals conceded at the same time last year.

Its been a good run but we have long way to go Olsen said. We are starting to become a group that is tough to play against and that is committed every time that we step on the field. Now the soccer part and all the intricacies need to get a little better and sharper and I think k that will come with time. We are still a group that is new.

The work rate of United forward Maicon Santos is proving to be a critical ingredient in the Black and Reds early success. Santos has 4 goals and 1 assist to lead the team, but his active play has led to other goals and scoring chances. At 61 and 186 pounds Santos gives United a different dynamic.

He (Santos) gives us that physical presence that we have been missing up there, Olsen added. Guys are doing a good job of playing off of him and thats one side of it. The other side is he is putting the ball in the back of the net. On the defensive side, he is working hard to put their back s under pressure and create turnovers.

Along with drawing attention for its six game unbeaten run, United is raising eye brows for accomplishing it without goals from reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario who is operating out of the midfield and not at forward. Through eight matches this season only four players in MLS have taken more shots. Still despite having 26 shots De Rosario remains goalless.

He is in a different spot, Olsen explained No doubt if you pout De Ro right around the goal for 90 minutes he is going to get his goals. Right now we need him in the midfield. We are looking for him to be our rhythm guy to get the ball and get us out of pressure and be a link guy and then came late to play in and around the goal.

Saturday is an important test for United. Next week United is In San Jose on Wednesday and Toronto on Saturday. Then on May 12 United will be in Houston when the Dynamo opens its new stadium. Three points at home are vital for United in an Eastern Conference table that is crowded below first place Sporting Kansas City.

How to watch D.C. United games in 2019

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USA TODAY Sports

How to watch D.C. United games in 2019

Hello, fellow Black and Red enthusiast! If you’re excited after 2018’s late-season run for D.C. United and the optimism it brings this spring - who could blame you?

The team largely returns intact, including homegrown keeper Bill Hamid, its three-headed monster of Paul Arriola, Luciano Acosta and captain Wayne Rooney up front, and the squad added promising young midfielder Lucas Rodriguez to aid the attack.

But alas, the team announced a new multi-year deal with FloSports, putting the majority of their games solely in the streaming space. For those used to watching the squad on TV this comes as a shock, but never fear, we’re here to guide you to ensure you don’t miss any of the action this season.

What’s FloSports?

FloSports is a streaming service that will air all non-nationally televised D.C. United games in addition to original content on FloFC.com. The service is available to all residents in the DMV area, extending as far south as Richmond and all the way to Delaware. They’ll offer both English and Spanish commentary, all in high definition.

Ok, so how much does it cost?

The rate depends on a few factors. If you’re a season ticket holder, partner or a member of a supporter group (Screaming Eagles, Barra Brava, etc.), the price is $5.99 per month. For all others it’s $8.99 per month.

Can I only watch online?

Nope. FloSports can be accessed by downloading its app on iOS, Roku or Apple TV 4.

Are there any other ways to watch the team?

Yes. Audi Field is located in D.C. and offers better-than-high definition views of the team for 17 home matches this season.

What if I don’t want to pay?

Well pushy, 21 of the 34 league matches will be broadcast exclusively through FloSports, so that means 13 other matches will be nationally televised, either on ESPN, Fox Sports or UniMas.

Also, that number could grow later in the season based on the team’s performance and the whims of the major networks enforcing their programming flexibility.

When does the season start?

D.C. kicks off March 3rd against defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United FC on ESPN, where the team hopes to continue the run of results from its late season surge in 2018 and set the tone for a new campaign.

Can I borrow your password for FloSports so I can watch the games?

This article is over.

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.

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