DCU, Red Bull playoff series rescheduled


DCU, Red Bull playoff series rescheduled

Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, Major League Soccer requested that D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls switch their home matches in the upcoming two-match Eastern Conference semifinals.  DCU will now open the series at home on Saturday, November 3 at 8 p.m. and their originally scheduled November 7 match in Washington will now be played that night in New York at 8 p.m.

"This was a tough decision but one that is much bigger than the sport of soccer,"  said league commissioner Don Garber.  "Hurricane Sandy is an epic and unprecedented natural disaster, one that continues to affect all of us who live in the New York, New Jersey and tri-state area.  Most of us are still without power and with limited access to communication."

Much of New York City and New Jersey remains without power and with severe flooding in some areas.  The league offices remain closed and have been without power since Monday.  While flood waters reached Red Bull Arena, the stadium did not experience any interior water damage but has relied on backup generators since the storm hit.  

"We thought at the end of the day it was in both parties' best interest to find a suitable alternative," said New York Red Bulls General Manager Jerome de Bontin.

Many attendees rely upon PATH trains to travel to Red Bull Arena.  With the entire New York Subway system, including the PATH, suspended, De Bontin assured that Red Bull is working with the city to find alternative transportation for their Wednesday home match should the PATH still be unavailable.  

"This will have a competitive impact on D.C., we understand that and deeply appreciate their support," said Garber.

Tickets purchased for the November 7 match at RFK will be honored for the newly schedule home game on Saturday or will be refunded.  Both matches will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.  In addition, both clubs have agreed to allow a greater ticket allotment and more flexible seating options for visiting fans.  

"Our fans in the past have responded very quickly when we've had playoff games with quick turnarounds," said D.C. United President and CEO Kevin Payne.  "We think that we still have among the best fan bases in the league and we are entirely confident that our fans will come out and give us the home field advantage that we would have enjoyed Wednesday night."

"I think that there are very few teams in Major League Soccer that could pull something like this off," said Garber.  "Part of our willingness to go down this path was the confidence that we have in Kevin [Payne] and D.C. United and, frankly, the passion of their fans."

The league hopes that Red Bull Arena will be ready to host the second match of the series come Wednesday.  According to De Bontin, the club expects to have full power back by Monday, though league officials will look for a suitable alternative in the area should their power not be restored. 

Green scores again, US settles for 1-1 draw vs New Zealand

Green scores again, US settles for 1-1 draw vs New Zealand

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Julian Green scored his second goal in two matches, before Monty Patterson's equalizer forced the United States to settle for a 1-1 draw in an exhibition against New Zealand on Tuesday night.

Lynden Gooch made his U.S. debut as a second-half substitute in a match played exactly a month before the Americans face Mexico to open their final round of World Cup qualifying.

Goalkeeper William Yarbrough kept New Zealand scoreless over 45 minutes in his first international start and third overall appearance.

David Bingham couldn't do the same in the second half, though he could hardly be blamed for Patterson's strike.

After U.S. forward Jozy Altidore failed to clear a corner kick aimed at New Zealand's Michael Boxhall, Patterson popped up to thump the loose ball into the net from about 5 yards out.

The 21-year-old Green scored his third career goal for the U.S. despite being only on the fringes of the team over the past two years.

Green has made just five appearances since his first goal for the U.S., which came very late in overtime of a 2-1 second-round loss to Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.

But he earned an invite from coach Jurgen Klinsmann to camp after repeatedly making the 18-man roster for German power Bayern Munich.

After scoring the second goal in a 2-0 exhibition win at Cuba on Friday, Green put the U.S. ahead Tuesday in the 27th minute when he reached Altidore's knock-down header on the left flank.

Green dribbled to goal while defender Liam Graham retreated, cut to his right, and then fired a low, 18-yard shot that snuck between wrong-footed goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and the left post.

Gooch, a 20-year-old who has appeared seven times this season for Sunderland of England's Premier League, came on in the 59th minute.

The California native - whose Irish mother and English father give him three international options - created several lively sequences on the right, drawing chants of ''Gooooch!'' from the announced crowd of 9,012 at RFK Stadium.

In the 64th minute, his cross found Green, who lofted a shot well high of the goal. And in the 89th, his corner found Omar Gonzalez, whose header also soared above the crossbar.

The U.S. continued to press, with Michael Bradley denied by Marinovic's diving stop in the 90th minute, and Gonzalez missing wide on another header in stoppage time.

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

With Heather O'Reilly set to retire, USWNT teammates honor all-time great

As U.S. Women’s Soccer star Heather O’Reilly steps into international retirement Thursday night, her soon-to-be former teammates are jumping at the chance to honor O’Reilly one last time.

"She’s the best teammate I ever had,” said Ali Krieger, who has played alongside O’Reilly on the USWNT since 2008. “She’s such an inspiration for so many young athletes, but also for us – her current teammates and the players in the National Women’s Soccer League. She’s been a legend.”

O’Reilly will end her 15-year international career when the U.S. Women face Thailand in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday night.

“She’s motivated me and I know my teammates to want to better themselves every single day,” Krieger said of O’Reilly’s legacy on the national team. “That is something that she can leave us. I’m so happy for her, I’m really proud of her and she continued to inspire me every single day. I wish her all the best and I’m going to miss her like crazy.”

Of all O’Reilly’s teammates, few can appreciate the retiring legend quite like Krieger. The two often featured together on the right side of the U.S. formation, Krieger in defense and O’Reilly just ahead of her in midfield, resulting in a bond that will last beyond their playing days.

“We always say ‘right side – strong side’, so we’re going to hold on to that forever,” Krieger said with a smile. “She’s one of my best friends on the team and I support her decision.”

O’Reilly’s decision was likely made easier by the changing landscape of the national team. After seeing her minutes dwindle during last summer’s successful World Cup run, the 31-year-old veteran was left off the U.S. Olympic Team in August instead traveling to Brazil as an alternate.

Despite that, O’Reilly’s career compares favorably to pretty much every other U.S. international. O'Reilly made her senior international debut while still in high school, and her 230 appearances rank seventh all-time in U.S. Women’s National Team history. 

“It’s so much more than the player that she is and what she’s done for the national team,” said U.S. Women’s National Team forward Crystal Dunn. “It’s her – the person – that I’m going to miss seeing in camps and chatting it up.”

Though they didn’t overlap in Chapel Hill, both Dunn and O’Reilly played collegiately for North Carolina. Thanks to that Tar Heel connection, the duo trained together frequently even when not with the U.S. team.

“She was just one of those people that I looked up to,” Dunn added. “She would kick my butt every single day and I was so in awe that she would go out of her way to help make me better."

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