Hamid leads DC United to tie against Fire

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Hamid leads DC United to tie against Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) -- Lionard Pajoy scored in the 50th minute, and Bill Hamid made eight saves to help D.C. United rally for a 1-1 tie with the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

The draw gave D.C. second place in the Eastern Conference.

United (17-10-7) went 5-0-2 in its last seven matches to finish with 58 points, one more than New York and Chicago (17-11-6). New York finished third, ahead of fourth-place Chicago, on a tiebreaker.

With New York beating Philadelphia earlier in the day, the Fire needed to beat D.C. to avoid playing in the first-round one-game elimination round.

Instead, Chicago will host fifth-place Houston in that game. It will be played either Wednesday or Thursday. The winner plays Eastern Conference champion Kansas City in the second round.

Pajoy beat Sean Johnson with a diving header in the 50th minute.

Pajoy's eighth goal of the season, and third since joining United from Philadelphia, was one of D.C.'s few good chances. United was held to two shots on goal in the first half and five for the game, including a carom by Pajoy in the 70th minute that Johnson cleared off the line.

Chicago took nine shots on goal, but only forward Patrick Nyarko beat Hamid. He right-footed a 24-yard shot low to Hamid's left side in the 16th minute for his fourth goal of the year.

Every opportunity after that, the Fire either misfired or squandered. In the last 25 minutes, Dominic Oduro, Serjill MacDonald and Jalil Anibama all had close-in opportunities that were either saved by Hamid, hit the post, flew over the crossbar, or, in the case of Oduro's last shot, were blocked by midfielder Nick DeLeon. Hamid's eight saves matched his season high.

It's official: U.S. Soccer hires Bruce Arena to replace Jurgen Klinsmann

It's official: U.S. Soccer hires Bruce Arena to replace Jurgen Klinsmann

NEW YORK – Bruce Arena is returning to coach the U.S. national soccer team, a decade after he was fired.

The winningest coach in American national team history, Arena took over Tuesday, one day after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired. The 65-year-old Arena starts work Dec. 1.

With the U.S. 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, the U.S. Soccer Federation wants to spark a turnaround when the playoffs resume March 24 with a home game against Honduras.

"His experience at the international level, understanding of the requirements needed to lead a team through World Cup qualifying, and proven ability to build a successful team were all aspects we felt were vital for the next coach," USSF President Sunil Gulati, who fired Arena in 2006, said in a statement. "I know Bruce will be fully committed to preparing the players for the next eight qualifying games and earning a berth to an eighth straight FIFA World Cup."

Arena first took over as national team coach after the 1998 World Cup and led the U.S. to a 71-30-29 record.

"I'm looking forward to working with a strong group of players that understand the challenge in front of them after the first two games," Arena said in a statement. "Working as a team, I'm confident that we'll take the right steps forward to qualify"

A wisecracking Brooklynite known for blunt talk and sarcasm, he coached the University of Virginia from 1978-95, then led D.C. United to titles in Major League Soccer's first two seasons before losing in the 1998 final. He guided the Americans to the team's best World Cup finish since 1930, a 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2002 quarterfinals.

He was let go after the team's first-round elimination by Ghana in 2006. Arena coached the New York Red Bulls of MLS from July 2006 to November 2007, then was hired the following August by the Galaxy. He led the team to MLS titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Arena was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Marquez's late goal lifts Mexico over US 2-1 in World Cup Qualifier

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USA TODAY Sports

Marquez's late goal lifts Mexico over US 2-1 in World Cup Qualifier

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Rafa Marquez scored on a header in the 89th minute, and Mexico beat the United States 2-1 Friday night in the Americans' first home loss in World Cup qualifying since 2001.

Miguel Layun put Mexico ahead in the 20th minute, but Bobby Wood tied the score in the 49th.

The U.S. dominated the second half before the 37-year-old Marquez, unmarked and drifting across the penalty area, got the back of his head on Layun's corner kick and lifted the ball over goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Guzan lost the goalkeeper job to Tim Howard, who started at the last two World Cups. But Howard injured his right leg on a goal kick and was replaced in the 40th minute.

The U.S. had beaten Mexico four straight times by 2-0 scores in home qualifiers -- all at Columbus -- and the Americans had been 30-0-2 at home in qualifying since a 3-2 loss to Honduras at Washington's RFK Stadium in September 2001.