Soccer

United prepares for clash

United prepares for clash

There should be no reason for D.C. United to panic. Despite inconsistent form United is still in a playoff position. Furthermore the Black and Red has the confidence of not having lost at home since the opening game as it prepares for a massive clash Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls.
To describe the third meeting of the season against the Red Bulls as massive is probably not an exaggeration. Beyond the built-in rivalry and the Atlantic Cup trophy that is on the line, the Red Bulls are in second place five points ahead of United and only two points behind Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City.
United has played one fewer game than the Red Bulls, but it is more the teams quality in games than quantity of games played that is the concern. It has been a disruptive summer. In June and July United only had five leagues matches and now is trying to survive a stretch of five matches in 14 days.
The heavy schedule weighed heavily on head coach Ben Olsens mind as the team went into last Saturdays game in Montreal. Chris Pontius and Dwayne De Rosario, who had a slight calf strain, were used as substitutes instead of starters. Nick De Leon was sidelined by an illness. A 3-0 loss to the Impact followed.
You cant play these guys every game, with two days rest in between three games, said Olsen said. I went out with a group that had some energy and overall they were pretty good. I didnt think we got two big calls that might get us out of here with the result.
It really could have been different. For all the possession the Impact had, they only had one shot in the first half. Still the Impact had the first goal. United is a perfect 7-0 this season when it scores first, but has struggled to a 1-7-2 mark when it concedes the first goal.
I think we just need to fight a little harder and work more for each other, De Rosario said. Every time a team scores against us, we put our heads down and think its the end. Then, we stop really pushing forward and we want to keep the ball. We are playing more reserved defensively; staying back, and then it creates a lot of space.
Whether it has been through injuries, suspensions, or fatigue, United has not been able to field a consistent lineup. The lineup changes may in part explain Uniteds unpredictability. The team no longer has the momentum that propelled it to the top of the table at mid-season. United has not won consecutive games since a four-game winning streak in late May that carried into June.
Its hard to put a finger on, said United defender Brandon McDonald. We have done well though bouncing back after a loss. We know what is at stake. We have done well at home. The fans are behind us and we feed off their energy. It is a whole different animal when we are here.
United does usually put on a show at R.F.K. Stadium. Multi-goal games are the norm. Since United lost 1-0 in the season opener to Sporting Kansas City, only twice in twelve matches has United failed to score more than one goal. In addition United has outscored opponents at home by a convincing 29-12 advantage.
Against the Red Bulls it will be interesting to see if United stays with the partnership of Marcelo Saragosa and Perry Kitchen. They have paired together in the center of the midfield in the last two games. Against Montreal Kitchen completed 34 of 42 passes and was more involved in the attack and against Chicago the formation was a resounding success in a 4-2 win.
The Red Bulls were able to earn a 1-1 draw on the road against Kansas City to stop a three-game losing streak away from home. To secure the point the Red Bulls needed an own goal, but they now possess a potentially lethal attack that produced five goals in the previous two home matches.
The Red Bulls forward combination of Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry has combined for 25 goals. In the midfield former Everton star and Australian international Tim Cahill already has a goal and two assists in just four matches. Add to the mix Sebastian Le Toux and Joel Lindpere and Uniteds defenders will have no shortage of responsibilities.

The Washington Spirit are hitting the road to face off against Utah Royals FC on Saturday

The Washington Spirit are hitting the road to face off against Utah Royals FC on Saturday

The Washington Spirit are hitting the road as they prepare to face off against the Utah Royals FC on Saturday at 9 p.m. 

Utah is hosting Washington in their home opener of the season at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. 

The Spirit are coming off of a victory over Sky Blue FC 2-0. The win moving the Spirit to the top of the NWSL rankings. 

It was a big night for the Spirit’s new additions.

During Saturday’s game against Sky Blue FC Spirit rookie defender Sam Staab scored a corner kick during the 59th minute giving the Spirit a 1-0 lead. Washington’s Megan Crosson also scored her first goal two minutes into the second half-stoppage time, sealing the win.

This will be the first game of the season for Utah. Utah finished the 2018 season with a record of 9-7-8, falling two points short of the playoffs. 

New Utah Royals FC midfielder Veronica “Vero" Boquete is expected to be a major contribution to Utah this season. Boquete is a Spanish Women’s National Team veteran midfielder who was captain of Spain’s first-ever World Cup in 2015. Bouquet was named NWSL Best XI after winning league Player of the Week three times. 

The last time the Washington played Utah, Washington lost 0-1. 

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Washington Spirit home opener on Saturday

Washington Spirit home opener on Saturday

The Washington Spirit will kick off their first game of the 2019 NWSL season on Saturday, April 13th at 7:00p.m. The Spirit will host the Sky Blue FC at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Washington finished the 2018 season in eighth place with a 2-17-5 record and 35 goals. However, with some new additions to the roster they are expected to make major improvements in the 2019 season.  

During the off-season the Spirit announced former professional soccer player Richie Burke as the new head coach and signed all five of their 2018 NWSL College Draft picks, including first-round picks Jordan DiBiasi, Sam Staab, Tegan McGrady and Dorian Bailey, and second-round pick Bayley Feist. The Spirit also added two new international players in midfielders Amy Harrison and Chloe Logarzo of Australia. 

USWNT trio Andi Sullivan, Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe will return to the team. 

In 2018 Bledsoe and Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridanboth led the league in saves with 108, setting a new NWSL record. 

The last time the two teams met they played to a 1-1 draw. Sky Blue FC midfielder Sarah Killion tied the game in the 87th minute after Spirit forward Arielle Ship put the Spirit in the lead during the 71st minute. 

Tickets can be purchased here