DC United begins Cup quest on the road

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DC United begins Cup quest on the road

D.C. United did it. The Black and Red survived seven MLS matches in the month of May and made it to the top of the Eastern Conference. A break is needed, but there is still work to be done with Tuesdays U.S, Open Cup match on the road against the Richmond Kickers.

Forget a trip to Disney World; United has to wait to fully exhale. United has won two Open Cups and would like to get back to the business of adding to the trophy cabinet. Their opponent the Richmond Kickers made it all the way to the semi-finals of last years competition and beat two MLS team on the road in the process.

You can hear in my voice, a fatigued Dwayne De Rosario said after Saturdays 3-2 win over New England. I am absolutely tired. Its been a lot of games in a short period of time. We withstand the demand that was put on us, and thankfully we have the depth of every guy that is ready to step in and make a difference.

United earned its first three game winning streak since 2008 on the strength of two goals from defenders Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic. Against the Revolution United did squander a two-goal lead, but then was bailed out by Maicon Santos who returned from a calf injury and scored the winning goal to add to his team-leading tally of 8 goals for the season.

I thought we needed to get hold of the ball a little more, said United head coach Ben Olsen. Im looking to get Maicon in the game for the reasons we saw. The guy can score goals and he can hold the ball up. So now you have Maicon holding balls up, making it difficult for their center backs, and you have Dwayne De Rosario in the midfield who always helps us with possessions.

The return of Santos to Uniteds rotation was encouraging with managing injuries the focus for United. Jakovic also was back from an ankle injury and scored his first career MLS goal. Rookie midfielder Nick De Leon also returned from a hamstring injury to give United the strength in numbers in necessary to get through Tuesday.

United goes into this Open Cup match with confidence. Over the last month midfielder Branko Boskovic has unveiled the form that made him a designated player in the first place before being slowed by injuries. Fellow DP Hamdi Salihi has also begun to deliver as advertised with four goals.

Its unbelievable, said Boskovic. My two seasons here, and every time was up and down, and now its the first time we look like a real team. We have a good group and good atmosphere, but we need to continue to win.

It is not a United team that is complacent or claiming league title in May. The 3-2 win over the Revolution on Saturday was a nice reward for a lot of hard work, but it also highlighted the word that still needs to be done. There is a story developing with United, but whether through injuries or inexperience the picture is far from complete.

I want to play a different way, and I wish we wouldve been a little sharper, but again, Im looking at the body of three wins at home, which we havent done at this club since June 2008, Olsen added after Saturdays win This is positive stuff, and Im not downplaying that. Again, Im maybe just being a little negative; Im a little unfulfilled with that game.

The translation of Olsens post-match comments demonstrates how much he believes in this team. Olsen was confident back in January that he had the players to work with. Three months into a MLS campaign Olsens belief has been confirmed. This United team has talent and perhaps of more importance is able to adapt.

Now United will have to adapt one more time before truly getting a break. The Kickers pride themselves on begin giant-killers and are 4-4-1 al time against United. In their last meeting with meaning, United emerged with a 2-0 win over the Kickers in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup.

The current Kickers team is in sixth place in the 11-team USL Pro table. In midfield the Kickers feature David Bulow who last year notched his 14th goal in U.S. Open Cup history against Sporting Kansas City in 2011 to become the tournaments all-time leading scorer. Christopher Agorsor notched four goals last week including two in their U.S. Open Cup second round over Aegean Hawks.

Highlights: Sebastian Salazar recaps Week 7 in NWSL

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Highlights: Sebastian Salazar recaps Week 7 in NWSL

Week 7 of the National Women's Soccer League season is in the books - and what a week it was.

We saw the Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit match postponed due to weather, and got a glimpse at how NWSL squads will deal with their U.S. Women's National Team absences later this summer. 

CSN's Sebastian Salazar takes you around the NWSL for highlights from all four league matches this weekend as well as last week's international friendly between Seattle Reign FC and Arsenal Ladies.

WATCH ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS OF WEEK 7 IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE

Real Madrid wins Champions League in penalty shootout

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Real Madrid wins Champions League in penalty shootout

By GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer

MILAN (AP) -- Cristiano Ronaldo did it again for Real Madrid, stepping forward to score a penalty and inflict another devastating loss in a Champions League final on rival Atletico Madrid.

For the second time in three finals, the biggest game in club soccer ended with Ronaldo sealing victory, then ripping off his shirt to show off his muscled torso to adoring fans.

Ronaldo's decisive spot kick in a Saturday night shootout gave Real Madrid a 5-3 victory on penalties, following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

Two years ago, the Portuguese superstar's penalty had sealed a 4-1 extra-time win over Atletico and prompted the first of his provocative celebrations.

"I knew I was going to score the winning penalty. I was confident," said Ronaldo, who won his third Champions League title. "I asked (coach Zinedine) Zidane to let me take the last penalty."

Rising to the dramatic moment after a quiet game for him, Ronaldo sent goalkeeper Jan Oblak the wrong way seconds after Atletico defender Juanfran struck a post with his team's fourth kick.

Real Madrid got its record-extending 11th European title and left Atletico was left with bitter memories of its third loss in a European Cup or Champions League final. In its two previous finals, Atletico gave up last-minute equalizing goals.

"I don't believe in injustices," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "In football, the team that wins deserves to win. They were better during the shootout."

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Simeone said he will consider his future at Atletico, where the combative Argentine has coached for five years.

Zidane has coached for less than five months, yet is already just the seventh man to both coach and play for champion teams in the competition's 61-year history. The France great joins an elite group that includes Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola.

Just like the 2014 final, a Madrid derby finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. This time, it was Real Madrid instead of Atletico in the role of long-time leader giving up a late equalizer.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who struck in stoppage time two years ago, showed a forward's hunger to score in the 15th by forcing the ball past Oblak from close range.

Atletico substitute Yannick Carrasco showed the same desire to level in the 79th, outmuscling Lucas Vazquez to shoot Juanfran's pass high into the net.

Atletico missed a penalty kick in the 48th, given for Pepe's clumsy tackle through Fernando Torres.

Antoine Griezmann's kick struck the cross bar, repeating his failure to beat goalkeeper Keylor Navas from the spot in a league match this season. The France forward scored in the shootout.

Atletico raised its game after Griezmann's miss but the clearest shooting chance fell to defender Stefan Savic who also failed to force a save from Navas.

Ramos showed how a defender, tough and often cynical, should finish. As noted for his red cards as goals, he has now scored in two Champions League finals to stand with Ronaldo in the competition's history.

Atletico's defense was warned of Real Madrid's threat, and its own weakness on the night, from free kicks as early as the sixth minute.

Gareth Bale was fouled deep in Atletico territory, then fired a dipping cross. Attackers again got in front of defenders and both Karim Benzema and Casemiro seemed to deflect the ball toward Oblak staying on his goal-line. This time, the Slovenia goalkeeper blocked with his left leg.

When Madrid did score nine minutes later, Benzema was again free but failed to connect on Bale's flick before Ramos pounced.

Benzema could have likely sealed the win in the 70th when sent clear but Oblak blocked the Frenchman's shot with his chest.

Atletico was soon level when Carrasco exploited substitute Vazquez, a midfielder who had just come on for Benzema.

Early in extra time, Ronaldo wasted a good chance when his downward header struck defender Filipe Luis and looped into Oblak's hands.

Real Madrid was crowned the best in Europe -- watched by Spain's King Felipe VI in San Siro stadium -- to cap a season when it had not even been best at home.

Victory helped eclipse rival Barcelona winning four major trophies, including a Spanish league and cup double. Just not the one that matters most in Madrid.

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Leicester City clinches EPL title, greatest underdog season in sports history

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AP Photo/Rui Vieira

Leicester City clinches EPL title, greatest underdog season in sports history

On Monday afternoon, Chelsea and Tottenham F.C. played to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, meaning Leicester City clinched the Barclays Premier League championship. 

While Leicester City still has a few games left, they have already clinched an outright title thanks to 77 points and a 22-11-3 record and the mantle of greatest underdog season in sports history.

Yes, sports history. All of it.

 The Foxes were promoted to the Premier League after winning the Football League Championship in 2014. Imagine a baseball team being called up to join the AL East and in just the second season, they clinched the pennant after leading the entire season.

Leicester City's estimated payroll for the 2015-16 season is 48.2 million pounds, which is good enough for 17th place, with Chelsea (215.6 million), Manchester United (203 million), Manchester City (193.8 million), Arsenal (192 million) and Liverpool (152 million) firmly cemented at the top.

Unlike a majority of American sports, there are no salary caps in international club football. A player can be bought by another team at any time during the transfer window. The teams at the top of the league, the traditional powers, are typically able to buy the best players because they have more money at their disposal. Since the formation of the English premier League in 1992, only one team outside the traditional powers has claimed the championship — the Blackburn Rovers in 1993.

Leicester City is now the second.

Leicester City had  5000-to-1 odds to win the championship at the beginning of the season. Think about this: Indiana, Illinois, and Colorado have 2000-to-1 odds to win the College Football Playoff championship this season. 

The Foxes were led by Jamie Vardy, who set an EPL record for consecutive games with a goal scored in with 11. Vardy has scored 22 goals in 34 appearances this season and is behind just Tottenham's Harry Kane (24) and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (23) in the league's scoring table. Aguero's salary calls for nearly 220-thousand pounds a week. Vardy makes roughly 45-thousand a week.

In clinching the championship, Leicester City has clinched a spot in the UEFA Champion's league, the top club competition in Europe., the first time in club history. The club was founded in 1884, 24 years before the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series. Not only has Leicester City never qualified for the UEFA Champion's League, but they have never qualified for the UEFA Europa League, the international competition for the teams that just miss out on the Champion's League.

Leicester City winning the Barclays Premier League makes what George Mason did in the 2006 NCAA Tournament look like a regular season MLB series in May.

Simply put, this is the most unthinkable and unexpected championship season in sports history.