DCU ready for the Houston heat

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DCU ready for the Houston heat

Its hard to think of anything positive related to the recent heat wave that also triggered a violent storm that left most of the D.C. area without power for days. If nothing else the oppressive temperatures may have helped prepare D.C. United for Sundays game at Houston.

"The weather in DC has been a little unusual to say the least, United defender Robbie Russell said. "But it has been good in preparing us for that kind of humidity and that kind of heat. I know I was hurting in Houston, but that game is in the past."

The heat seemed to take its toll on United in Houston back in May when the Black and Red lost to the Dynamo 1-0. Whether it has been the heat or just a strong Dynamo side, United has never won in Houston.

Since 2006 United has managed only one draw against the Dynamo in Texas and is 0-6-1 at both Robertson and BBVA Compass stadiums. United has been outscored in those matches 13-4.

"The summer has been brutal here so the guys are ready for that, added head coach Ben Olsen. It will be a level playing field as far as heat, it shouldnt be an issue."

To add to this wild weather summer, it might be hotter in D.C. on Sunday than Houston. The forecast for Houston is for temperatures in the 80s and a chance of showers. Width of the playing field and not the weather is probably the bigger issue. Even with their own stadium, Houston has kept its playing field only 70-yards wide.

They know how to utilize that small space, said former Dynamo star and now United captain Dwayne De Rosario. They are very good in tight quarters and we just have to be ready and willing to set the intensity and match up with them. It suits their game, but we also have the skill to play in those tight areas.

On 25 points from 18 matches Dominic Kinnears team is now in fifth place and very much in contention in the Eastern Conference. Since beating the LA galaxy at the end of May, the Dynamo has only won twice in seven matches. The Dynamo has yet to score in July with 0-0 draws against Chicago and Kansas City.

The book is similar with Houston year after year, Olsen said. Brad Davis is a helluva player and their service is very good and their commitment to get on the end of that service is very good. Their combative and their organized and they are well coached.

Much of the Dynamos invention on offense does go through Davis on the left side of the midfield. Davis had 16 assists last year and was critical in their march to MLS Cup 2011. Over the last three seasons Davis has chalked up 40 assists and is crosses from the flank are even more precise on Houstons tighter home field.

Houston is a team that likes to serve a lot of balls in (to the area), added United midfielder Chris Pontius. We have to close down service especially on Bard Davis and force them to the middle of the field and make them make the game from there. We need to get as wide as possible and we need to get more passion than we had the last time we were there.

Out wide United will be playing its first game without Andy Najar. While Najar has joined Honduras for the Olympics, Uniteds strength in number will once again be on display. Najars absence should allow a healthy Danny Cruz to get back in the starting lineup on the right side of midfield.

The most intriguing question about Olsens starting eleven centers on the midfield. Olsen could start Branko Boskovic in the attacking role and move Dwayne De Rosario higher behind the striker like he did in the 3-0 win over Montreal. Olsens other option is to use Boskovic off the bench and drop De Rosario back to the center of the midfield.

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.