Soccer

United ready to make friendly count

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United ready to make friendly count

The friendly with Paris St. Germain was fun, but D.C. United is hoping the 1-1 tie with the French league giant was also productive. The answer will play out in Saturday's home game against revitalized Eastern Conference rival Columbus Crew.

"I think by the way we played this is a boost of confidence," Dwayne De Rosario said after last Saturday's match. "If we can play with teams like PSG, then we can play with any team. We just have to show up and play with that same confidence."

United's play on the field has matched the uneven summer schedule. In five games over the last two months United managed only an uninspired 1-0 win against Philadelphia and a 3-0 win over Montreal. In July a ten-man United lost to Houston 4-0 and most recently in MLS play a 1-0 road loss to the Crew.

On the heels of the losses to the Dynamo and Crew, United's head coach Ben Olsen wanted the approach to PSG to be like a league match. United had lost its swagger. The rhythm and possession that led the Black and Red to the top of the Eastern Conference were missing. The game against PSG allowed United to play without the pressure of failure.

"I thought our possession was as good as it has been all year," Olsen noted. "It was because of the fact that we just played simple. We didn't complicate, we just got the ball to the next guy and gave the next guy more time on the ball. Everybody wanted the ball and we were confident."

The match against PSG comes with all kinds of qualifiers. It was only a friendly and PSG had only played a couple of pre-season games. Still PSG offered a side worth several hundred million dollars and after conceding an early goal to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, United not only responded but dictated much of the possession.

Against PSG United used the now familiar set up of Dwayne De Rosario playing below the striker and Branko Boskovic in the center of the midfield. Their ability to link together is a driving force in United's way of playing, but it is also critical for outside backs Danel Woolard and Chris Korb to be involved.

"The coaches want to play attacking, quality soccer," Korb said. "I think that comes into play with outside backs getting forward and I think that is why they like me in some games and some spots. That doesn't hurt me at all. I just want to get better going forward and get more assists and help the team win."

In his second year in MLS, Korb is starting at right back in place of Robbie Russell who is out with plantar fasciitis. Over the last season and a half Korb has found himself in the starting eleven twenty times and is growing in confidence. On the left side, with Marc Burch now in Seattle, Woolard has seized the opportunity and become a valuable and versatile defender.

On Saturday United will be looking to avenge its loss in Columbus two weeks ago. On the season the Crew's offense has been anemic with only 20 goals from 19 matches. There is hope for the Crew with the arrival of Jairo Arrieta from Saprissa in Costa Rica. In his third match with the Crew, Arrieta netted two goals in a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.

The Crew has played one fewer game, but is only five points behind United in the Eastern Conference standings. Like United, the Crew is also energized by success in a friendly, a 2-1 win over Stoke City. Both teams believe they are ready for the finals three months of the MLS season.

"It is our responsibility to win games at home," said Olsen. "Yes we have lost three of four games, but they are away games. You have to take care of home games and you will be okay in this league."

Rose Lavelle explains her Tweets with Men in Blaazers

Rose Lavelle explains her Tweets with Men in Blaazers

At the British Embassy Monday night, Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle joined Roger Bennett and Michael Davies for a live edition of their podcast Men in Blazers.

Introduced as the player whose saucy nutmeg in the semifinal would be something England could never recover from, Lavelle discussed the afterglow of the World Cup win, how she fell in love with soccer and tweeting.

One moment that changed her course in soccer was getting cut from the Olympic Development Program at 13. The coach that cut her ended up being her coach at the University of Wisconsin, and that moment solidified her desire to move further up in the program.

"I had wanted to quit and my mom was like 'you have to finish the year,'" she reflected. "And then I got cut and she was like 'alright you can quit' and I was like 'NO!'"

"I think I learn a lot more from the lows in my life than the highs and I feel like that's one of the moments I learned a lot about myself," Lavelle said.

The highlight of her time with the Men in Blazers was when she dramatically read some of her favorite tweets, in which she philosophizes about "canine obesity, parallel parking and the challenges of having to put on jeans two days in a row," according to Davies.

She started with the pressure of parallel parking in front of an onlooker.

"A lot goes into it [tweeting] but I have to make sure that the wording's right," Lavelle said. "It's kind of like a college paper just a lot less words. That's how much work goes into it."

Next, she lamented the fact that dogs can't consume chocolate without getting sick.

Lavelle has a dog of her own, a bulldog named Wilma Jean Wrinkles, who has her own Instagram account and lives in Cincinnati with her parents. Wilma Jean Wrinkles was recently profiled in our Pro Pets series.

Her final tweet was about her concerns on airplane etiquette.

"Here's what I love about your social media," Bennett said. "The Rose Lavelle as a football player on the field and the Rose Lavelle on social media are one and the same."

You can watch Lavelle's appearance on the Men In Blazers podcast on September 15 on NBC Sports Network as part of their Premier League coverage.

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Premier League Roundup: Manager Dean Smith confirms Jonathan Kodjia's ankle injury

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Associated Press

Premier League Roundup: Manager Dean Smith confirms Jonathan Kodjia's ankle injury

We're less than two weeks into Premier League Season and things have already shaken up. Between dramatic draws, undeserved penalties and raucous fans, saying there's excitement going into Matchday 3 would be an understatement. 

Here's the latest news and notes surrounding the Premier League:

Team/Player News

Aston Villa: In lieu of opening weekend, Jonathan Kodjia's "high ankle sprain" has been confirmed by manager Dean Smith. This prevented the forward from any involvement At Villa Park, and could leave him sidelined until the end of August. But Kodjia's not alone: manager Smith proved himself to be the bearer of bad news yet again after confirming Kortney Hause's ankle injury that he picked up in Leipzig. The defender is still recovering.

Arsenal: It looks like the Gunner's busy pre-season ride was worth it. Winning both games this season, Dani Ceballos played an integral role in their second victory, setting up both Arsenal goals and leading the team to a 2-1 home win. 

Burnley: The Clarets were humbled this weekend (refresher: their matchday 1 game resulted in a 3-0 victory for Burnley), after the Gunners got the best of them and won 2-1. However, Ashley Barnes has been a consistent positive attribute to the team despite their rollercoaster of a start. Barnes has completed three goals in two matches, and his hot streak is expected to continue. 

Norwich City: The team dominated Newcastle in a 3-1 victory in their home opener, and they gave their fans quite the show in the process. Teemu Pukki recorded a hat-trick to loud and supportive home support, and the striker now leads the Premier League with four goals in two games. Between a stunning volley, and teaming up with midfielder Todd Cantwell for two goals/assists in the course of 12 minutes to finish off the Magpies, Pukki has risen to the top of everybody's fantasy team wish lists. 

Liverpool: Sadio Mane's start to the season was an exciting one. With the game tied, the Senegalese international made a move to his right before unleashing a deadly right-footed blast to give the Reds the lead. Liverpool continued to hold their own and finished victoriously 2-1 over Southampton, giving them six points within just two games.

Southampton: Maybe dropping Danny Ings from the starting XI wasn't the Saints' best idea. Following a drastic loss during week 1, Southampton entered their match against Liverpool hoping to shake things up. The team fell flat, losing 2-1, forward Danny Ings was able to make an impact once he was let off the bench. The forward scored the Saints' only goal in two games and the team is hoping for their first positive result next weekend against Brighton.

Manchester City: City have spent the entirety of this season so far crushing statistics. The team registered 32 shots to Tottenham's three, had 34 crosses to Tottenham's seven and took 13 corners to Tottenham's two. But these sweet plays weren't enough: the Spurs held their own and Manchester City ended their match on August 17th with a 2-2 tie. Kevin De Bruyne was the focal point for both goals.

Tottenham Hotspurs: Forward Erik Lamela can be accredited for both goals, assisting one and scoring another, and allowing the team to just barely escape The Etihad and end with a tie. Not long after City scored the opening point, a pass from Tanguy Ndombele set Lamela up with a bending effort from 20 yards out for his first goal, and the forward later landed an unstoppable corner.

Leicester City: Wilfred Ndidi was on both sides of the coin last game: both giving up and scoring a goal as Leicester City and Chelsea drew 1-1. In the first, Mason Mount picked Wilfred Ndidi’s pocket and coolly shot the ball by Kasper Schmeichel for his first Chelsea goal and the 1-0 advantage. Later in the game, Chelsea’s zonal marking broke down as Maddison found Ndidi on a corner for the second goal of the game.

Everton: Left-back Lucas Digne limped off with a suspected hamstring injury on Saturday, but fears were squashed after Everton boss Marco Silva alluded to the injury being "nothing special." But beware of wishful thinking: a trip to Villa Park doesn't seem likely (or realistic) for Digne.

Wolverhampton: Man United spent much time hosting a crowded box, but it wasn't enough to keep Wolves' Raul Neves from shooting through the defense, leading to a 1-1 draw. Neves' goal was followed by a Paul Pogba miss on an undeserved penalty, and the match ended in a tie.

Source: NBC Sports Rotoworld

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