Soccer

Upon further review: Wakeup call for D.C. United?

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Upon further review: Wakeup call for D.C. United?

New York City FC is hoping last night’s 3-1 win over DC United before 28,262 at Yankee Stadium is a turning point in its push for the playoffs. For the Black and Red, the game should serve as a wakeup call as it looks to maintain the top spot in MLS. 

“I hope so”, said head coach Ben Olsen when asked if he hoped the loss would be a catalyst for better play. “Poku and Villa made us look like boys. They manhandled us in the second half. We didn’t have a lot of answers for them. It wasn’t just our backs. It was midfielders and we just had too many guys not play up to speed.”

Kwodwo Poku and David Villa finished the second half scoring surge after Thomas McNamara had tied the game at one in the 51st minute. Villa was able to squeeze between defenders Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin in the 80th minute for the game-winner on a beautiful ball from Andrea Pirlo.  Poku ended hopes for a United draw with his goal in 88th minute.

United had the better first half and in the 36th minute seized on a Pirlo turnover to trigger a break with Chris Rolfe and Alvaro Saborio. While Rolfe dribbled to the area, Saborio continued his run. Rolfe rewarded Saborio with a perfect pass that he finished for his second goal in a United uniform.

“Thought we had one of our best halves in the last few weeks at least,” Rolfe said of the opening 45 minutes in New York. “Coming out in the second half we were confident in continuing that path. They put it to us. They had a lot more energy. They were confident in what they wanted to do, and it showed.”

Conclusions:

  1. United needs to be more consistent. To be sure it is not all doom and gloom and United still leads the Supporter’s Shield table, but the last few weeks have been uneasy for the Black and Red.  United’s three-game winning streak that ended last night was marked by consecutive rallies from early two-goal deficits and a victory despite being outshot 25-1. Resilient yes, but United ended up paying for that inconsistency on Thursday night. After a promising start to the game New York City had a 17-5 advantage in shots.
  2. Bill Hamid still shines in defeat. Despite conceding three goals, Hamid’s quality came through. He finished with four saves and gave United a chance to get something out of its trip to New York before the team collapsed in the final ten minutes.
  3. Return of Markus Halsti.  In the off season Halsti was United’s big signing from Malmö in Sweden, but because of injuries has only appeared in seven league games.  Halsti started last night, his first appearance since July 18 and head coach Ben Olsen said, “His range of passing changes our game. He got a bit leggy there towards the end. We need to get his fitness up so he can be a 90 minute player. I thought he was really good.”

 

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

With playoffs on the line, the Washington Spirit hosts the NC Courage in a must-win regular-season home finale Saturday night.

NC Courage sits high atop their first-place throne with an icy six-win streak, 14-4--4 record overall leading the NWSL with 46 points, 31 goal differential, 50 goals for and 19 goals against. The struggling Spirit, with one win, one loss and three draws in their past five matches, need to find a way to crack the Courage and tack on another win to keep postseason hopes alive.

Mallory Pugh has made strong moves for the Spirit since returning from injury and will be a key player to breakthrough the Courage defense with nine clean sheets (just one more than Washington) and averaging 0.9 goals allowed per game.

The Spirit cannot afford to lose this game if they want to snag a playoff spot, and that chase continues in Maryland.

SPIRIT-COURAGE GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage

Where: Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD

When: Saturday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington 

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Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

The Washington Spirit will make their way to Houston in hopes to secure three points against the Houston Dash on Wednesday night.  

The Spirit are coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars, dropping them to 7W-8L-5D. 

For the first time in quite a while, both midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Mallory Pugh took the field against the Red Stars. Lavelle returned to the lineup after suffering a head injury a few months ago and played 45 minutes in her first game since August 17. 

During the 80th minute, Pugh scored her first goal of the season but it wasn’t enough to take the lead over the Dash. 

Wednesday nights game will be Washington’s first time as a part of the NWSL’s new broadcast deal with ESPN. 

Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. 

SPIRIT-DASH GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash 

Where: BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX

When: Wednesday, September 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2 

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