Soccer

United’s stumble in Philadelphia was unexpected

usatsi_8571354_141983962_lowres.jpg

United’s stumble in Philadelphia was unexpected

Regardless of standing position there are no easy games in Major League Soccer. D.C. United was reminded of the challenges of MLS Sunday night after a 1-0 road loss to the Philadelphia Union to end the Black and Red’s eight game unbeaten streak.

The Union had been winless in five consecutive games and had gone 296 minutes without a goal before homegrown product and second half substitute Zak Pfeffer broke through in the third minute of stoppage to secure the win with his second goal of the year. It was a thrilling end to a day that started with Union fans protesting the current state of the club with only two wins from 12 matches.

For United it was a disappointing end of a stretch of 270 minutes of soccer in nine days that had started with a tie against Sporting Kansas City and a win over Orlando City. To be sure United was saddled with a heavy schedule, but believed it had the depth and quality to prevail. In the end the Union was the better side on the night.

Life in MLS is dealing with parity and therefore results that might seem surprising. United’s stumble in Philadelphia was unexpected.  Also Sunday Orlando ambushed the LA Galaxy at home 4-0 and it is doubtful many predicted Montreal offensive explosion Saturday in a 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake.

Conclusions:

  1. Bill Hamid is a stud. While United struggled to put true bite in its attack, Hamid held the fort in goal and finished with five saves. Hamid leads MLS in save percentage and kept the game scoreless when he robbed Vincent Nogueira in the 32nd minute and denied Conor Casey from point-blank range just before halftime. In the second half Hamid also thwarted a chance by Sebastien Le Toux in the 73rd minute.
  2. Successful debut. After being part of the 18-man roster for the 2-1 win over Orlando City, Markus Halsti finally made his MLS debut with DC United. The Finnish international, sidelined by a knee injury in preseason, started and played 80 minutes Sunday in the center of midfield next to Perry Kitchen. Halsti was composed on the ball and then excellent in his distribution especially with quick passes to the flank.
  3. It’s a start. First round draft pick Miguel Aguilar made his first career start with United on the left side of midfield and played 65 minutes. In the words of head coach Ben Olsen, “Aquilar had trouble finding the game, but when he did he had some good moments. He’s still going to be a good player but he’s young.” Aguilar hit the post with an effort in the 50th minute.
  4. Of concern. Luis Silva came on in the second half as a substitute, but did not finish the game because of what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Silva’s exit reduced United to ten men. Silva’s start to the season was delayed because of a hamstring injury, but he said after the game he didn’t believe the injury suffered on Sunday was as bad.   

 

 

Washington Spirit and Australian national players try American treats for first time

Washington Spirit and Australian national players try American treats for first time

Washington Spirit and Australian national players Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison sat down with NBC Sports Washington to taste test a few American favorites and rate the treats. For the first time ever, Aussies Logarzo and Harrison each tried a Twinkie and took a sip of Coke.  

For Harrison, the initial comment after taking a bite was disgust, "Ew."  

However, Logarzo gave the twinkie a 10 out of 10, "if I was seven years old." 

Both players enjoyed the Coke and had tasted it before. 

The Washington Spirit are returning home to their stomping grounds to host Portland Thorns FC at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 17.

Both the Spirit and Thorns are coming off wins from last weekend, with the Spirit defeating Sky Blue FC 3-2 and the Thorns beating the Orlando Pride 3-1. This weekend is a chance for both teams to move up in the NWSL standings. The Spirit currently sits in 6th place (2-1-1), just one spot behind the Thorns in 5th place (2-0-2).

If the Spirit secure a win against the Thorns they could move up as high as second place in the NWSL table, their highest ranking since 2016.

Both the Spirit and the Thorns will be missing a few contributors to their rosters who are currently preparing with the U.S. Women’s National team for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Spirit forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Rose Lavelle will be absent and Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, midfielders Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, forward Christine Sinclair and defender Emily Sonnett will be absent as well.

This has been a big week for the Spirit. Both defender Cheyna Matthews and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe received accolades for their contributions in the league.

During the 22nd and 68th minutes of last weeks game against Sky Blue FC, Matthews scored to put Washington ahead. Matthews was nominated for the NWSL’s week five Goal of the Week.

In addition, Bledsoe was named the Westfield W-League’s goalkeeper of the year after helping Sydney FC claim the 2019 W-League title. Bledsoe is only the third American goalkeeper to receive this award.

Spirit vs. Thorns FC takes place at the Maryland SoccerPlex, on the team's first annual Armed Forces Night. The Spirit will show appreciation to veterans and active duty service members at halftime and provide discounted priced tickets to the game.

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth Premier League Championship Sunday: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

zaha-nathan-ake-palace-bournemouth-ap.png
Associated Press Images

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth Premier League Championship Sunday: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

After successfully avoiding relegation from the Premier League once again, Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth square off on Championship Sunday at Selhurst Park on  NBC Sports Washington. 

Both clubs are heading into the final day with some momentum, Crystal Palace winning two of their last three matches and Bournemouth coming off a 1-0 victory over Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday. 

While both clubs have secured safety, Crystal Palace will be looking to avenge a 2-1 loss in October, when a late Junior Stanislas penalty gave Bournemouth all three points. 

Want to watch Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth on NBC Sports Washington? Here are all the details:

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth How to Watch

What: Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth, English Premier League Matchday 38

Where: Selhurst Park, London, UK

When: 10:00 a.m. ET Sunday, May 12

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington

Stream: NBCSports.com/Live or the NBC Sports app. 

Crystal Palace vs. AFC Bournemouth Preview

Record: Crystal Palace (13-7-17, 46 points), AFC Bournemouth (13-6-18, 45 points)

Last Game: 3-2 win at Cardiff City, 5/4 (Crystal Palace), 1-0 win vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 5/4 (AFC Bournemouth) 

Last Head-to-Head Matchup: AFC Bournemouth 2-1 win on 10/1/2018

Top Scorers: Luka Milivojevic, 12 goals (Crystal Palace), Callum Wilson, 14 goals (AFC Bournemouth)