Upon further review: D.C. United able to salvage tie in Jamaica


Upon further review: D.C. United able to salvage tie in Jamaica

CONCACAF Champions League debutantes Montego Bay United served notice of serious commitment to the competition when it hired veteran MLS coach Tim Hankinson. On Tuesday in Jamaica it was clear Hankinson had made a difference as D.C. United was forced to rally to salvage a 3-3 tie in its final game of group play.

Even though United had already clinched first place in Group H, the Black and Red had hoped for a win to secure a better seed for the knockout stage of the CCL. Teams in the quarterfinals are seeded No. 1 – 8 based on points, with goal differential as the first tiebreaker. In last season’s tournament United earned the top seed, but lost in the quarterfinals to Alajuelense.

Still it is significant that United was able to snare at least a point to finish group play with three wins and one draw. After 49 minutes it was looking like United would suffer a defeat as Montego Bay built a 3-0 lead. In the meeting between the teams at R.F.K. Stadium United finished with a 3-0 win, but early in that match Montego Bay showed flashes of its building confidence with several quality chances.

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To rescue its trip to the Jamaican resort, Jairo Arrieta opened United’s scoring in the 59th minute. Arrieta then assisted on Kofi Opare’s goal in the 78th minute with the rescue mission complete when Michael Farfan scored deep in stoppage time on an assist from Perry Kitchen.

1. Opportunity lost: United still won Group H, but needed a better response to improve its chances of a better seeding for next spring’s quarterfinals. Seedlings will be announced when all teams finish group play. On Tuesday Montego Bay started the match with more energy and commitment. Even though slow starts have plagued United in MLS play, it is hard to draw a connection because the lineups have been drastically different. Regardless, while United has proven to be resilient, it will need to be strong from start of matches when the completion level and stakes rise in the knockout round of the CCL.

2. Give an A to the B unit. To navigate through the group stage, United mostly used reserves. Conor Doyle, Kofi Opare and Miguel Aguilar led the team with two goals apiece. Michael Farfan led the team in group play with three assists. The tournament has also proven to be a valuable window for rookie Luke Mishu to impress. Mishu can play on the flank in midfield or on defense and is another example of United’s success finding players from the college ranks.

Game Preview: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns at Audi Field

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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.


Wayne Rooney stuns D.C. soccer fans with surprise appearance during World Cup viewing

Wayne Rooney stuns D.C. soccer fans with surprise appearance during World Cup viewing

Washington Dulles International Airport was flooded by soccer fans alike Thursday afternoon awaiting the arrival of one specific person inside the international arrivals terminal: England's all-time goalscorer Wayne Rooney. 

Over 100 fans packed the halls as the 32-year-old made his way out of the airport while posing for pictures and signing autographs. 

Rooney penned a two-and-a-half year guaranteed contract worth about $13 million, which makes him the highest-paid player in D.C. United history. 

He officially becomes available to play for the club beginning July 10, after the transfer window opens. This means his first game could potentially be against Vancouver inside the brand new Audi Field July 10. 

After greeting fans at the airport, Rooney and his camp piled into two blacks SUVs en route to Northeast D.C. 

Little did World Cup fans taking in the England-Belgium match at Wunder Garten know that they were about to be surprised by Wayne Rooney himself. 

In an appearance that lasted just over seven minutes and included a slew of selfies, short conversations and one television interview, Rooney's presence dazzled fans and left others stunned. 

One England native who is now a D.C. resident told me: "We grew up watching him (Rooney) score in the World Cup and that was really important to us. It's hard to believe he just walked through here."

As you would imagine, management at Wunder Garten was thrilled, too.  

"It was great for us because it put us on the map. For someone as famous as Wayne Rooney to come through our establishment, shake hands and hang out, that means a lot. We loved having him here and would love to have him back," said Michael Keller, a member of the bar's management staff. 

 The Englishman will have his hands full as he attempts to put D.C. United back on the map this season. 

Follow Rooney on Twitter and Instagram @WayneRooney.