Soccer

Upon Further Review: D.C. United stalled by Toronto FC

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Upon Further Review: D.C. United stalled by Toronto FC

For DC United, it was busy.  A stretch of five games that started on May 23rd and spanned over two week produced positive results and positive signs, but ended on Saturday with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Toronto FC. 

The visitors from Canada were the better team on the night and ended the Black and Red’s franchise home unbeaten streak at twenty games. Michael Bradley is away with the United States Men’s National Team and Jozy Altidore did not come on until the second half, but Sebastian Giovinco, the reigning MLS Player of the Week, put in a bid for repeat honors by scoring two spectacular goals.

Ben Olsen:

“It’s pretty simple, we went in to the game trying to limit [Sebastian] Giovinco’s influence and that didn’t go so well. But, he’s a special player. We are going to come up against very good players in this League and he’s certainly at the top of that list. On any given day he can do what he did today. He’s a difference maker.”

United ended up losing after finally getting off to a better start. In the six games leading up to Saturday United had conceded the first goal including twice in the opening five minutes of matches. Against Toronto United was assertive from the opening kick and in the 6th minute earned a corner kick perfectly taken by Fabian Espindola and then finished by Steve Birnbaum for his first career goal.

Conclusions:

  1. United has depth. Dealing with injuries and the busy schedule United did not flinch and produced a respectable 2-2-1 record. More importantly United maintained possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. Portland and Toronto had better games in United’s two losses, but the Black and Red had chances to either win those games or secure draws. Credit must be given to head coach Ben Olsen for managing for roster over the last two weeks. Five different starting lineups were used by United and 19 different players featured in the first elevens of the last five games. Conor Doyle impressed during the stretch with his ability to play on the flank or up top and he scored his first MLS goal in two years. Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra turned in some of his best work of his United career over the last two games. Newcomers Facundo Coria and Markus Halsti also showed promise with contributions over the last two weeks.
  2. Toronto will make the playoffs.  Excluding this year’s expansion teams, Toronto FC is the only MLS team never to have qualified for the playoffs. The Reds have the fan support and the front office has spent the money. It hasn’t worked. Now it is different and it is more than just Sebastian Giovinco. Make no mistake Giovinco is special and the right kind of designated player addition, but this team is more organized and has more steel on defense than previous editions of TFC.  In the past Toronto has been able to attack, but also find ways to lose games. Now TFC looks like it has what it takes on the defensive end and that will be important with Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore set to miss time this summer for the Gold Cup.

 

 

 

 

Australian Taste Test: Washington Spirit Aussies serve up Vegemite

Australian Taste Test: Washington Spirit Aussies serve up Vegemite

Washington Spirit Aussies Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison have NBC Sports Washington’s Anna Witte try Australian staples Vegemite and Bundaberg ginger beer.

According to Logarzo, before each game with the Australian National team, all of the players would eat vegemite on toast with poached eggs and avocado. 

Witte rated the Vegemite a four out of ten, her immediate response was that it tastes "Super salty."

"Not awful, but I don't think I would buy it for myself....it's awful."

Both Logarzo and Harrison joined the Spirit this season. Harrison has appeared in ten games for the Australian national team and Logarzo has appeared in 37. 

After two straight wins the Washington Spirit are looking to continue their winning streak this weekend against the Chicago Red Stars.

Washington will face off against Chicago at the SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois on Sunday, March 26 at 6 p.m.

In the NWSL standings, the Red Stars are in first place with a 3-1-2 record and the Spirit are in fourth with a 3-1-1 record. In 2018, Chicago took the series over Washington with two wins and a draw.

Despite missing U.S. National players Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh, the Spirit defeated Portland Thorns FC last weekend 3-1. 

Amy Harrison scored the first goal during the 16th minute followed by Portland scoring on their own goal in the 47th minute to put Washington ahead 2-0. Finally, in the 71st minute, Jordan Diabasi scored an olimpico. 

Spirit Midfielder Jordan DiBiasi won the NWSL Goal of the Week for her goal against the Portland Thorns last weekend. 

Spirit Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe continues to lead the NWSL with 19 saves. 

 

 

 

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.