Soccer

Upon further review: D.C. United beats the odds

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Upon further review: D.C. United beats the odds

Twenty five to one sounds like long odds. Instead 25 to 1 was the advantage the Impact had in shots against DC United and it should have made it long odds for the Black and Red to secure any points from their road trip to Montreal.

Despite the odds and shots disadvantage United secured all three points with a 1-0 win over the Impact.  United is now the first team in MLS history to win with only one shot on goal according to Elias Sports Bureau. The victory over the Impact was different from United’s victories the previous two weeks when it battled back from early two-goal deficits against Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake.

United’s only shot and goal came from a Montreal miscue in the 13th minute when Marco Donadel played a difficult back pass to  defender Wandrille Lefevre just outside the area. United forward Jairo Arrieta pressured Lefevre into a turnover and then escorted the ball to Chris Rolfe who finished for his team leading ninth goal of the season.

Conclusions:

  1. Bill Hamid is the best goalkeeper in MLS.  Hamid returned from a five-game absence after surgeries on his left hand and right knee and didn’t miss a beat. The Impact had three breakaway chances that were calmly snuffed out by Hamid and in the end he was credited with eight saves. In short Hamid was the difference between a win or a tie and a loss. It doesn’t make sense that Hamid was not called by the United States Men’s National team for the Gold Cup 
  2. Detailed defending. In addition to Hamid’s heroics, United was better as a team on defense. In recent games when United has leaked goals early it has not been about one player or one specific problem. In wins over Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake United was loose on defense. Against the Impact the marking in the penalty area was better by United defenders and players were helping each other out and working collectively as a unit.
  3. Chris Rolfe is the glue to United.  Rolfe provided the only goal against Montreal and he leads United in goals. There is more to the Rolfe story. He started his career as a forward, but is also now an accomplished midfielder. Rolfe not only invents on offense but defends well and was up to the challenge against Impact flank players Andres Romero and Costa Rican international Johan Venegas.
  4. Fabian Espindola was missed.   Give fill credit to Jairo Arrieta because his tenacity led to the game’s only goal, but United seemed to be bypassing the midfield and playing more direct.  When Espindola plays below striker Alvaro Saborio he is able to link the midfield to the attacking third. It is not clear how long Espindola will be out with a knee injury, but Thursday against New York City FC United will have to find a way to be better connected and keep more possession.

Ben Olsen:

“I can only be concerned about so many things with this team. I could be concerned with giving up goals, not giving up goals. We would’ve liked to play better. We had a guy go down the day before a game, so we played two numbers 9’s up high. You can prepare all week and things go wrong and you change it up and you adapt.”

RELATED: United makes history in their win over Montreal

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.

MORE DC SPORTS NEWS:

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.