D.C United goes after a spot in elite eight

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D.C United goes after a spot in elite eight

A deep lineup with flexible players has allowed D.C. United to burst into the month of June on top of Major League Soccers Eastern Conference and a game away from the quarterfinals of the U.S open Cup. A win over Philadelphia Tuesday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland will put United through to the final eight of the competition.

Continued successes in the U.S. Open Cup will not only give United a chance at its 13th major trophy, but the champion will receive a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League. Its a lucrative incentive and one that head coach Ben Olsen describes as huge and something that has changed this tournament

United is healthier than they have been in a long time, but they are not at full strength. Like they did in their 2-1 win over Richmond to advance to the round-of-sixteen, United will have to play Philadelphia without midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and defender Dejan Jakovic who are with Canada to prepare for World Cup qualifying.

De Rosario joined Canada as MLS player of the month for May after scoring four goals and adding four assists in six league matches. On the season De Rosario has been the only United player to start in all 15 MLS games. The reigning league MVP has been Uniteds constant in a team sheet constantly changing because of injuries.

Forward Chris Pontius is still listed as doubtful with an injured glut muscle, but defender Robbie Russell has been back at training after being sidelined with a hamstring injury and has been upgraded to probable. Only Danny Cruz, who has a hamstring injury, is listed as out among players who have seen regular time.

Its nice to be healthy, said Olsen. Its nice to have some difficult decisions to make because both teams will play as good a lineup as possible. Thats exciting for people to come out and watch a game where you are right on top of the players.

In Richmond it took Marcelo Saragosas goal off a Branko Boskovic corner kick in the 107th minute to eliminate the Kickers. The connection between the two exemplified Uniteds depth. Saragosa has been out of the rotation and Boskovic over the last month has just started to fulfill his potential after being slowed by injuries.

Ive been playing and coaching Open Cup games for a long time now and this is it, every time, Olsen noted after the match. Its never great, the other team is always fighting for their lives and ramped up more than the quote unquote better team, and we survived.

The winning moment in Richmond brought much needed joy to Saragosa. Cruel reality interrupted Saragosas life on the field with the April death of his father in Brazil. Saragosas spring included two trips back home and the Open Cup game served as chance for him to restart his season.

He doesnt have a lot of games Olsen said of Saragosa who has appeared in five league games. I thought as the game went on he got better, got more control of the game and finishing off with a goal was good.

For Boskovic, De Rosarios absence could give him another opportunity to play a more prominent role in the midfield. The game at the SoccerPlex will also mark a return to the place where Boskovic suffered a season-ending knee injury last April in an Open Cup loss to New England.

Uniteds ability to move players on the back line has also been part of the teams success Midfielder Lewis Neal started at left back against Richmond and in the center of the defense Ethan White appeared on the field for the first time this season. White had been out all season recovering from knee surgery after playing in 24 games last season.

In the Union, United will be dealing with a side that is probably putting extra emphasis on the U.S. Open Cup. In league play the Union have stumbled to eighth place and only scored eight goals in eleven games. Recently the Union was shutout in Toronto to give the home team its first win of the season.

In fact the Unions losing performance in Toronto served as motivation its Open Cup match last week against Rochester. The Union responded with a 3-0 win over the Rhinos punctuated by two Freddy Adu goals.

NWSL Highlights: Spirit catch Thorns atop standings in Week 13

NWSL Highlights: Spirit catch Thorns atop standings in Week 13

Week 13 in the National Women’s Soccer League saw the Washington Spirit finally catch the Portland Thorns atop the table, while the Houston Dash snapped a six-game losing streak.

Orlando and Chicago squared off in a game with huge playoff implications, and Sky Blue FC and Boston met for Northeast bragging rights.

NWSL Week 10 highlights include final games by USWNT members

NWSL Week 10 highlights include final games by USWNT members

Another week of NWSL action is in the books, but Week 10 was far from just another slate of games. We saw the Western New York Flash make league history in Rochester plus late drama in Orlando and Washington.

This was also the final weekend of NWSL play before members of the U.S. Women's National Team report for camp ahead of the Rio Olympics. 

With 1-0 loss to Colombia, US finishes 4th in Copa America

With 1-0 loss to Colombia, US finishes 4th in Copa America

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Carlos Bacca beat goalkeeper Tim Howard by sliding to poke in a headed cross in the 31st minute, and the United States finished fourth in the Copa America with a 1-0 defeat against Colombia on Saturday night.

After losing to Argentina 4-0 in the semifinals, the 31st-ranked U.S. was beaten by No. 3 Colombia for the second time in the 16-nation tournament.

Bobby Wood came closest to scoring for the U.S. when he hit a post in the 62nd, one minute after Colombia's Juan Cuadrado hit the underside of the crossbar.

The U.S. matched its previous best finish in the tournament, when it lost to Colombia in the 1995 fourth-place game at Uruguay.

After the Americans lost to Jamaica in the semifinals of last year's CONCACAF Gold Cup and struggled in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was hoping his team would rebound in the Copa, when right back DeAndre Yedlin, central defender John Brooks, midfielder Gyasi Zardes and forward Bobby Wood solidified their positions as regular starters.

Darlington Nagbe and 17-year-old Christian Pulisic again entered as second-half subs, two more players who could break through and replace veterans during the remaining 16 months of World Cup qualifying.

Colombia, which never has won the Copa America, finished third for fourth time but first since 1995. Argentina plays Chile for the title on Sunday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Both teams finished a man short, when American defender Michael Orozco and Colombian defender Santiago Arias were ejected for a confrontation in the third minute of second-half stoppage time. Orozco is suspended the U.S.'s World Cup qualifier at St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, and Arias for Colombia's qualifier against Venezuela.

Klinsmann inserted the 37-year-old Howard into his lineup in place of Brad Guzan, who had started the previous nine games. Matt Besler was in central defense instead of Brooks, who was bothered by knee inflammation, and Orozco was at left back because Fabian Johnson has a sore groin.

Midfielders Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya returned to the lineup along with Wood after the three served one-game suspensions.

Colombia scored after Juan Cuadrado, from along a flank, cut the ball back to James Rodriguez, just outside the penalty area. Arias made a run to get by Bedoya, and Rodriguez lofted a pass to Arias, who jumped at the edge of the 6-yard box and headed the ball across Howard's goal to Bacca. The forward slid ahead of Yedlin to nudge the ball in for his 13th international goal, his second of the tournament.

Clint Dempsey, who led the U.S. with three goals in the tournament, nearly scored on a free kick in the 51st minute. Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina dived left and lifted his right arm to tip Dempsey's effort wide.