Soccer

Upon further review: Doyle's goal comes right on time

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Upon further review: Doyle's goal comes right on time

Using his 18th starting lineup in 19 games, DC United head coach Ben Olson continues to manage his roster. After kickoff Wednesday in Chicago, Olsen’s players managed the game before it was settled by a wonder strike for a 1-0 win over the Fire.

Conor Doyle delivered the goal of the week candidate in the 73rd minute when he rifled a shot from 25-yards out that zoomed past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.  Fire defender Eric Gehrig blocked Bobby Boswell’s effort from inside the area, but it ricocheted to a charging Doyle for his second goal of the season.

The Fire had the advantage in possession at 62 percent, but did not dictate the game. Instead credit should be given to United’s defensive organization. Much of Chicago’s possession was either in its own half or in midfield. The Fire came into the game leading the league in shots on target at 5.3 per game, but only had one on frame against United.

Fabian Espindola, Nick De Leon, and Perry Kitchen were second half substitutes for United. In fact it was Espindola’s quality service on a free kick into the penalty area that led to Doyle’s goal. Chris Rolfe who scored twice Sunday against New England was given the night off with United set to play Saturday in Toronto.

Conclusions:

  1. Conor Doyle is enjoying his best stretch with United. Doyle joined United from England’s Derby County in the summer of 2013 and scored two goals in separate games against Montreal. Last season in 17 appearances Doyle failed to score, but there was no a question about his quality or commitment. It was Doyle’s work on the training ground that earned him his first start of the season back on May 23 at New England.  Since then Doyle has made six more starts and looks very comfortable playing on the flank.
  2. Luke Mishu is the real deal. From Notre Dame Mishu was not drafted, but earned his way on to United’s roster in preseason training. Wednesday was only Mishu’s second league appearance. In a match in May against Portland Mishu started on the right side of midfield. Against Chicago Mishu started at left back and was effective at limiting Fire midfielder and offensive threat Harry Shipp. In short Mishu was able to handle his defensive responsibilities and surged forward at the right moments.

 

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.