Soccer

Upon further review: Rolfe to the rescue

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Upon further review: Rolfe to the rescue

At the risk of sounding redundant, it was Chris Rolfe to the rescue for DC United. In the second half Rolfe provided both goals, one from a penalty kick, to lead United past the New England Revolution Sunday at RFK Stadium.

Rolfe now has four game-winning goals on the season and helped rally United to another come from behind win. The Revs Charlie Davies opened the scoring in the tenth minute on an assist from Lee Nguyen. United’s successful rally improved its record to an impressive 5-4-1 when allowing the first goal.

Surprisingly United was sluggish from the start and in the 94 degree heat the Revs were more assertive and dangerous. Nguyen was especially active for the Revolution and in addition to the assist on Davies’ goal had scoring opportunities of his own. United made it to the break only down a goal.

The second half was much better for the home team. The spirit of Fabian Espindola burst through and he provided a perfect cross for an equally perfect finish from Rolfe in the penalty area for the equalizer in the 70th minute. In short United was the better team in the second half and deserved at least a draw

United was able to get more than a draw when a mazy run in the 81st minute by second half substitute Miguel Aguilar led to a penalty. Revs second half sub midfielder Steve Neuman was whistled for a foul on a clumsy challenge of Aguilar just inside the top of the penalty area. Rolfe converted his second penalty kick of the season.

The victory stopped United’s two-game losing streak and increased its lead over second place New England by seven points.

Conclusions:

  1. The Rolfe factor. We noted Chris Rolfe to the rescue. Since his arrival early last season Rolfe has been an important factor in United’s success. It doesn’t matter if Rolfe plays out wide on the flank or at forward, he excels.  On Sunday playing as forward he scored two goals and now has six for the season—his goal total from all of last season. With Espindola missing time  earlier this season from injury and suspension and Eddie Johnson out for health reasons, Rolfe’s increased production  has been a big factor in United’s  ability secure and now hold on to first place.
  2. Better starts.  Yes United did it again and claimed there points despite conceding the opening goal. It is a credit to United’s character and resilience that the team has a winning record, 5-4-1, when allowing the first goal. Still surviving through slow starts is not a game plan United wants to hold on to.  United was able to bag three points on Sunday, but knows it needs to better from the opening kick especially with a heavy road schedule next.

Premier League Roundup: Sheffield United avoids injury scare from Callum Robinson

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Premier League Roundup: Sheffield United avoids injury scare from Callum Robinson

Two weeks into the Premier League season and there's already been a little bit of everything on the pitch. Teams are prepping for Matchday 3 and are having to navigate some early season injuries before getting there. 

Here are the latest news and notes surrounding the Premier League:

Team/Player News

Brighton & Hove Albion: Striker Tomer Hemed has departed for Championship side Charlton Athletic. The Israel international has been on the books at Albion for four seasons, scoring 33 times in 108 appearances for the club. He was a key part of Brighton's Championship squads, scoring in double figures for two seasons as they won promotion at the second attempt, though his game time has been limited since they made it to the top tier.

Chelsea: Full-back Davide Zappacosta has joined Roma on loan until January, with the deal including the option to extend the loan until the end of the year.    
Zappacosta saw his role reduce when Maurizio Sarri took control of the club, seeing just 125 minutes of league action during the 2018-19 season. Chelsea has also extended Zappacosta's contract through the 2022 season. 

Manchester City: There were concerns when Oleksandr Zinchenko went down clutching the back of his left thigh on Saturday (vs. Tottenham). However, after a brief pause in play, Zinchenko was cleared on-field to continue, and he completed 90 minutes. Speaking to CityTV after the match, he confirmed. "It was just a cramp. Everything is okay." 

Once again they could be without their center back John Stones who missed City's last match. City released a statement before their Tottenham tie on their revealing that Stones had "suffered a rectus femoris strain" which would keep him out of the match. Nicolas Otamendi was handed a recall, and the Argentine could continue at Bournemouth on Sunday as the thigh problem is likely to rule Stones out of game week three as well. "He has a muscular problem," Pep said in his post-match press conference. "A week to ten days [before he can return to play]."

There is good injury news though as defender Benjamin Mendy has returned to training for the first time since a long-term knee injury. He'll like have to battle Zinchenko for a starting spot as the Ukrainian has established himself as Pep Guardiola's first-choice left-back.

Sheffield United: The Republic of Ireland international, Callum Robinson, limped off with a muscular problem before the hour mark on Sunday, and there were fears that he could be set for spell out. But Robinson moved quickly to quell those fears by insisting he will be ready for the visit of Leicester citing fatigue and hamstring tightness. Robinson has been the preferred attacking partner of Dave McGoldrick in the first two games, but Chris Wilder would have no hesitation in selecting Oli McBurnie who is eager to impress following his arrival from Swansea. "You’ve seen a glimpse of what Oli offers you today, and I think everyone is excited," the United boss said post-match.

Source: NBC Sports Rotoworld

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Why USWNT hero Rose Lavelle almost quit soccer as a teenager

Why USWNT hero Rose Lavelle almost quit soccer as a teenager

Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle joined Roger Bennett and Michael Davies for a live edition of their podcast Men in Blazers at the British Embassy on Monday.

Introduced as the player whose saucy nutmeg in the semifinal would be something England could never recover from, Lavelle discussed the afterglow of the World Cup win, how she fell in love with soccer and tweeting.

One moment that changed her course in soccer was getting cut from the Olympic Development Program at 13. The coach that cut her ended up being her coach at the University of Wisconsin, and that moment solidified her desire to move further up in the program.

"I had wanted to quit and my mom was like 'you have to finish the year,'" she said. "And then I got cut and she was like 'alright you can quit' and I was like 'NO!'

"I think I learn a lot more from the lows in my life than the highs and I feel like that's one of the moments I learned a lot about myself," Lavelle added.

The highlight of her time with the Men in Blazers was when she dramatically read some of her favorite tweets, in which she philosophizes about "canine obesity, parallel parking and the challenges of having to put on jeans two days in a row," according to Davies.

She started with the pressure of parallel parking in front of an onlooker.

"A lot goes into it [tweeting] but I have to make sure that the wording's right," Lavelle said. "It's kind of like a college paper just a lot less words. That's how much work goes into it."

Next, she lamented the fact that dogs can't consume chocolate without getting sick.

Lavelle has a dog of her own, a bulldog named Wilma Jean Wrinkles, who has her own Instagram account and lives in Cincinnati with her parents. (Wilma Jean Wrinkles was recently profiled in our Pro Pets series.)

Her final tweet was about her concerns on airplane etiquette.

"Here's what I love about your social media," Bennett said. "The Rose Lavelle as a football player on the field and the Rose Lavelle on social media are one and the same."

You can watch Lavelle's appearance on the Men In Blazers podcast on September 15 on NBC Sports Network as part of their Premier League coverage.

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