April 23, 2014

D.C. United Game 6 Recap: United throw away two points at Columbus

For the record, D.C. United is unbeaten in its last four games. But in reality, Saturday night’s 1-1 draw at Columbus features all the satisfaction of moving up two spots in a 40-person line at the DMV. Up a goal and up a man, D.C. United had a 3-on-2 break to put the game away, but Fabian Espindola lost the ball to Crew defender Will Trapp, who then played a perfect cross-field ball for Héctor Jiménez, who blasted a shot past United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to level the match.

The draw put United’s record at 2-2-2 (8 points). D.C. is 2-0-2 in its last four matches, and the result, if taken by just the score only, is a nice improvement from United’s 3-1 loss to Columbus at RFK Stadium earlier this season. But the bottom line is there is no joy in this draw before 11,437 at Crew Stadium, within which United gave up the equalizer while playing against just 10 men after Bernardo Anor was sent off in the 81st minute for a two-footed tackle on D.C. midfielder Perry Kitchen. [Read more...]

D.C. United Game 5 Recap: Sweet victory for United over rival New York

D.C. United earned a valuable three points over its biggest rival Saturday night before 12,364 at RFK Stadium, as United tripped up the New York Red Bulls, 1-0, on a 4th-minute goal by Davy Arnaud. The win lifted United to 2-2-1 on the season (seven points), and allowed D.C. to claim seven of a possible nine points from a three-game home-stand against Eastern Conference foes Chicago, New England, and New York.

Arnaud’s goal was a thing of beauty early in the game that looks like it came straight from the training ground. After United won a corner that was taken to the left of New York goalkeeper Luis Robles, Fabian Espindola sent the kick into the center of the penalty area. There, United defender Bobby Boswell flicked a header forward and to his left, where Arnaud ran on to it and headed it to the opposite corner past Robles to give D.C. a lead it would never relinquish. [Read more...]

D.C. United Game 4 Recap: Rolfe quickly turns tide for United

Chris Rolfe needed just 27 minutes to do for United what so many others had failed to do so often. Rolfe’s goal deep into stoppage time put the finishing touches on a 2-0 D.C. win over the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium Saturday night, snapping a 15-game Major League Soccer winless streak for United. D.C. improved to 1-2-1 (4 points) and moved the club into sixth place in MLS’ Eastern Conference. New England fell to 1-3-1 (4 points) and has scored just two goals and five games.

United could understand the Revs’ meager offensive plight. Entering Saturday’s win, D.C. had only scored two goals, as well. And it was the Revs who put United into the lead Saturday, when José Gonçalves neatly tucked a left-footed volley into his own net in the 43rd minute – because if you are going to score an own goal, make it a tidy one. To be fair, however, United earned the goal, as well, as Cristian made a nice run to take a feed from Fabian Espindola near the end line to New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth’s right. His cross was then turned in nicely by Gonçalves. [Read more...]

D.C. United Game 3 Recap: Progress made but United fails to finish Fire

Javier Espindola and Perry Kitchen scored D.C. United’s first goals of the 2014 Major League Soccer season, but a late defensive lapse cost the home team as United played to a 2-2 tie against the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Washington. The draw marks United’s first point in the standings this season, with the team’s record now standing at 0-2-1. Chicago, who got goals from Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Quincy Amarikwa to begin and end the scoring, is now 0-1-3.

While the draw and goals are encouraging for United, Amarikwa’s goal in the 82nd minute that erased United’s 2-1 lead cost D.C. the chance to break what is now a 15-game winless streak in the league dating back to last August. United had done a lot right prior to that. The attack looked more coordinated Saturday than in either of the club’s first two matches this year, and carried a good bit of the play through the first half. But it wasn’t until Hurtado scored for the first time in five years after a Chicago corner kick that D.C. was able to wake up and find the back of the net for the first time all season. [Read more...]

D.C. United Game 2 Recap: United still scoreless, winless after Toronto loss

D.C. United fell to 0-2 on the 2014 Major League Soccer season Saturday afternoon with a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto. Jermain Defoe scored the only goal of the match, converting on a rebound shot in the 60th minute to give TFC its second consecutive win to start the season. United managed just two shots on goal for the entire match (Defoe had three by himself) and United were quite fortunate not to have taken a heavier loss.

Defoe, a veteran of the English Premier League who once scored five goals in a game for Tottenham in a 9-1 win over Wigan on November 22, 2009, could well have scored more than one Saturday had it not been for D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, the goalpost, and a little bit of luck. Hamid saved two of Defoe’s shots early in the game to keep the contest scoreless, and Defoe later missed a chance just wide while trying to avoid Hamid, who had the post well covered. [Read more...]

D.C. United Game 1 Recap: United suffers ugly opening loss

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Of course, if you’re building a city, you might want to at least align some bricks or something on the first day. Such limited progress wasn’t really seen Saturday night at RFK Stadium, as D.C. United were steamrolled at home, 3-0, by the Columbus Crew before 13,540. Federico Higuain scored twice and Jairo Arrieta added the other, as United is now winless in its last 13 Major League Soccer matches going back to last season.

While the talking point for many will be the penalty awarded by replacement referee Andres Pfefferkorn that led to the Crew’s second goal, there is very little reason to think that had the call not been given and the match stayed at 1-0 to Columbus, that United wouldn’t have lost anyway. Much like last year, United were anemic offensively, taking just one shot on goal (from 11 attempts). And that shot was from defender Christian Fernandez. [Read more...]

D.C. United Game 1 Preview: For United, it has to get better, right?

For D.C. United players, coaches, management, and fans, it’s finally time to realistically hope that the 2013 Major League Soccer season is just a memory. Sure, it’s worth remembering United’s run in the U.S. Open Cup, which culminated in a 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake that saw United win its 13th major trophy since beginning play in MLS’ inaugural season of 1996.

But 2013 also ended with United having won just three of 34 regular-season matches, so far out of a playoff spot supporters would have needed a telescope to find them. Quick bounce-backs to respectability aren’t necessarily rare in MLS, and to some extent, one can’t even imagine United having a season worse than it did last year, even if there were no changes in personnel since a 2-1 loss to Houston on October 27 put the final touches on a 3-24-7 campaign. [Read more...]

District Sports Page looking for writers

Do you have a passion for one (or all) of the pro teams in DC? Can you articulate that passion via thoughtful analysis or constructive opinion? Do you have an interest in describing game action, and not just who did what, but why and how they did it?

District Sports Page is looking to add to our staff of writers covering the professional teams in Washington, DC.

Do you currently have your own blog, or write for someone else’s, but looking to expand? Are you a college student or recent graduate looking for experience? Are you a seasoned writer but not in the industry anymore? Do you have a particular sports expertise but need guidance in the creative process?

We’re looking for candidates with strong writing skills, a deep understanding of the sports they write about, time and energy to commit to the endeavor, and most of all, a passion for DC sports.

Our mission here at the District Sports Page is simple: To provide independent daily, quality, analytical, critical and opinionated coverage of the DC pro teams.

Journalism is comprised of the asking and answering of questions: the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the story. The mainstream media in town do a great job of giving sports fans a broad overview of the Who, What, When and Where of the games and stories they cover, but because they have to cater to a mass audience, the Why and the How often are overlooked.

Hopefully, that’s where you’ll come in.

If you have a deep understanding of the games, and can articulate that in writing, DSP might be the place to showcase your talents.

We are in need of writers for all sports, so if you want to write about the Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, Nationals or United, let us know! Shoot, if you have a particular knowledge or passion for the Kastles or the Mystics, we’ll make room for you.

If you’re interested, please send an email to: comments@districtsportspage.com and include the following:

  1. Resume
  2. Examples or links to previous writing
  3. Cover letter describing your writing style, expertise in a particular sport, level of commitment, and writing ambitions

We look forward to hearing from you.

D.C. United and Philadelphia Union swap picks; United select Steve Birnbaum at No. 2 in MLS SuperDraft

Roundly questioned and a bit maligned for a trade earlier this week with Philadelphia that saw D.C. United give up the top spot in Major League Soccer’s allocation order and young defender Ethan White, United dealt with the Union again on Thursday.

This time, United and the Union, slated to pick first and second, respectively, in the draft, swapped picks. United got the player it probably wanted all along in University of California central defender Steve Birnbaum. The Union took goalkeeper Andre Blake, which makes the reasoning for swapping picks with United and sending D.C. allocation money (according to the club) rather strange, since there was next to no chance United were going to select any goalkeeper with the first pick in this draft. [Read more...]

D.C. United ANALYSIS: Club trades Ethan White to Philadelphia in odd deal

D.C. United today announced it had traded defender Ethan White and the top spot in Major League Soccer’s allocation order to the Philadelphia Union for veteran defender Jeff Parke and Philly’s sixth position in the allocation order.

White appeared in 14 regular-season matches for United last season, and 38 overall in three years with the club. He turned 23 on New Year’s Day and joined United after being part of the club’s U-18 Academy team and playing two seasons at the University of Maryland. White was one of several homegrown players on the D.C. roster. [Read more...]

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