Soccer

Upon Further Review: Smothering the Fire

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Upon Further Review: Smothering the Fire

Just in time DC United is looking more like a playoff team.  In its regular season home finale before a crowd of over 20,000 at RFK Stadium, the Black and Red delivered another reassuring performance in a 4-0 win over the Chicago Fire to move into second place in the Eastern Conference. 

For United it is its second straight win after suffering through a six-game winless skid that ended on October 2nd with the 2-1 win over New York City FC.   United is one point ahead of the Columbus Crew and with Sunday’s win is assured of at least having one home playoff game.

“That’s important, and it’s important for a whole bunch of reasons”, said head coach Ben Olsen when asked about getting a home playoff game.  “First and foremost our fans get to see us in a playoff game, here at this building. I’m looking forward to seeing RFK again on a playoff night. That’s always, always a special night.”

As expected the visiting Fire played free and loose and had their moments. From the beginning it was United that was the aggressor and the reward came from a Chris Pontius goal in the 39th minute. The game twisted in the balance until Bobby Boswell head home a Fabian Espindola corner kick in the 67th minute.  Espindola and Alvaro Saborio then finished the scoring with goals in the 71st and 80th minutes.

Ben Olsen:

“I think we’re headed in the right way. Again, I think it’s a day where things went our way, but I think the energy and the focus from the group, and the attitude that our group has right now, is a good one. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Conclusions:

  1. Chris Pontius is back.  Injuries have been too much of factor in Pontius’ career. United looked on their way to the playoffs in 2011 until he suffered a broken leg late in the season. Pontius did bounce back with 12 goals in 2012, but since then has been slowed by nagging injuries from hamstrings to this summer’s calf injury that bothered him in June and July. Pontius built on the match against New York City, when he had three shots on goal, by helping set the tone against the Fire and scoring his third goal of the season and first since May 30.  “He’s changed the way we can play right now, Olsen noted.  “Again, I said it before, he’s playing very simple, he’s connecting passes and he’s moving without the ball. Sometimes when you do the simple things right, you get rewarded. He’s anticipating plays; defensively he’s putting in real shifts.”
  2. The right eleven. For the second straight game United went with the same starting lineup. Something that is unique in a season when United has had 29 different starting lineups. Once again Alvaro Saborio came on as a second half substitute and for the second straight game he scored. With Pontius and Nick De Leon playing well on the flanks, Chris Rolfe is being used as a forward.  Rolfe makes a difference where ever he plays, but his best position is forward. For now the best option seems to be starting Rolfe and Espindola at forward and then having the luxury of Saborio as an attacking spark off the bench.  

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. 

World Cup Viewing Guide: The best soccer bars in Washington, D.C.

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USA TODAY Sports

World Cup Viewing Guide: The best soccer bars in Washington, D.C.

Although the United States men's national soccer team is irrelevant to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there are still plenty of reasons to watch this summer. 

32 countries are making a run for the Cup, which includes both Iceland and Panama making their debuts in worldwide competition. 

In 2014, almost half of the world's population knew what was at stake. 

3.2 billion people tuned in to watch that year. 

Before venturing out to watch this year's madness, consider this list of local bars in the D.C. area: 

Caddies Bar and Grill (4922 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814) 

  • This sports bar located in the heart of Bethesda is offering $9.99 lunch specials Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Happy hour: Monday-Friday from 3-8 p.m. featuring $12 Bud Light, Miller Lite and Yuengling pitchers
  • @caddiescordell

 

Dock FC (1400 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002) 

  • Located in a former warehouse, this location is a hub for soccer fans in the D.C. area. 
  • World Cup Package: a pitcher of beer with nachos, churros and wings for $50 
  • Bucket special: 6 beers for $30 (Modelo Especial, Peroni, Heineken & PBR)
  • Food comes from two separate kitchens under the same ownership
  • Tacos/nachos comes from La Puerta Verde
  • Ari's Diner provides burgers, fries and breakfast foods 
  • Four projectors and a slew of TV's 
  • @DockFCDC

(Photo courtesy: @DockFCDC) 

Fado Irish Pub (808 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001) 

  • Guinness is widely argued as the top beer that goes hand in hand with watching soccer and Fado Irish Pub gives you both
  • $5 drink specials include Guinness, Goose Island, Red Bull and Red Bull Orange
  • June Beer of the Month: Harp Lager 
  • Bucket special: 5 beers for $25 
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday to 2 a.m., Friday-Sunday to 3 a.m.
  • Limited $9.95 brunch deals (avocado toast and Irish breakfasts) 
  • Management is taking reservations throughout the month 
  • @fadodc

 

Franklin Hall (1348 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009) 

Per management, here is the official schedule for the World Cup at Franklin Hall: 

  • Saturday games: $3 Pints, $8 Liters of Narragansett 
  • Sunday games: $4 Pints of Founders Solid Gold, $7 Liters of Miller Lite
  • Tuesday games: $4 Port City Optimal Wit, $6 Giant soft Pretzel with Port City beer cheese
  • Wednesday games: $2 off all Liters and free toppings on all sausages
  • @FranklinHallDC

 

Lou's City Bar (1400 Irving St NW, Washington, DC 20010 )

  • Located next to Bar Roubaix, which was recently named the official bar of Poland, this NW DC area offers a diverse soccer atmosphere
  • Heineken specials: $4 drafts and $16 pitchers 
  • Fans from Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico crowd this bar and enjoy special dishes from each country
  • @Louscitybar

The Lucky Bar (1221 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036) 

  • Set to open early throughout the World Cup, Lucky Bar offers special Russian foods for breakfast and lunch
  • Cocktails include The Putin, Moscow Mule and White & Black Russians 
  • Per management, the atmosphere has been electric throughout the first week with big crowds for Denmark, Iceland and Russia 
  • @luckybardc

 

Public Bar (1214 18th St NW B, Washington, DC 20036) 

  • Heineken specials: $5 drafts and $30 buckets 
  • A hot spot for Mexicans, Peruvians, Colombians and Argentinians 
  • Per management, a Mariachi band will be playing ahead of Mexico's match on 6/23 
  • @PUBLICBAR

 

The Queen Vic   (1206 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002) 

  • This Old English Pub in NE DC offers a traditional British menu for soccer fans throughout the World Cup 
  • Draft specials: $5 Carlsberg and Jameson 
  • Per management, if there is an England match, it will be on with sound throughout the entire bar
  • @thequeenvicdc 

 

Have thoughts on my Top 8? Hop on Twitter and let me know @BobTrosset.