D.C. United still fighting for playoffs

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D.C. United still fighting for playoffs

There are no style points now for D.C. United, only points in the standings. Uniteds quest to end a five year playoff drought is set to continue on Saturday in Portland with Ben Olsens team strengthened by a goal-scoring boom, but fully prepared to grind out a result.

With four games to go, United enters the weekend in fourth place in Major League Soccers Eastern Conference on 50 points and four points ahead of Houston. The top five teams make the post season and goal scoring is the first tie breaker. United is positioned well with 47 goals, second in the conference to New Yorks 50 goals.

United has scored multiple goals in 14 games this season, but United also taken great pride in securing 1-0 victories in the last two games of its current three-game winning streak. It is Uniteds longest winning streak since May and has come with Dwayne De Rosario sidelined by a knee injury.

Once you win a 1-0 game, they are great, said head coach Ben Olsen. We dont have many of them (1-0 wins) at this club in the last four or five years. Hanging on, especially when these teams have nothing to lose and they just throw crazy numbers forward, it not an easy task. We need to still continue to get better in this next couple games because it is all going to get tougher.

In Uniteds 1-0 win over Chivas USA Sunday, Branko Boskovic came through with his first goal in a Black and Red uniform. Boskovics lifeline to three critical points at home was scored as Chivas continued to introduce offensive players instead of playing like a road team satisfied with a 0-0 draw,

In Portland, United will be dealing with another team that has to throw caution to the wind.

The Timbers are nine points out of a playoff spot with four games to play. On the season the Timbers have given up 50 goals, second only to Toronto F.C., but are difficult at home. They have sold out 32 consecutive matches, and currently have a four game unbeaten streak at Jeld-Wen Field.

Portland is not an easy team, stressed United defender Brandon McDonald. You look at their record you could go Oh we should win this, but its not like that. In this league, anybody can beat anybody so we have to go out and we have to start taking our away matches like we do our home matches.

Uniteds most interesting question remains in midfield. Recently Boskovic has been both a starter and a substitute.

The Timbers have conceded the most goals in the league from set-pieces and United could benefit from Boskovics quality on free kicks and corner kicks. He has also been an asset as a reserve and the central midfield partnership of Perry Kitchen and Marcelo Saragosa has been effective.

Formations are nice to talk about, but this time of year is often more about raw determination.

Before a total collapse in 2010, United just missed out on the playoffs on the final day of the 2008 and 2009 campaigns. United believes it has the depth to avoid a similar fate over the next three weeks.

This is my fourth year here and not having been able to make the playoffs hurts, because this is a team that has had so much success, said United defender Dejan Jakovic. So Im definitely focused on that and Im trying to do anything possible to get this team to the playoffs. And not just the playoffs, but even further.

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.