Johnson's goal lifts Real Salt Lake past D.C. United

Johnson's goal lifts Real Salt Lake past D.C. United

SANDY, Utah (AP) -- Will Johnson scored in the 49th minute to help Real Salt Lake beat D.C. United 1-0 Saturday night for its first Major League Soccer victory in more than a month.

Salt Lake (14-10-4) has shut out two consecutive league opponents after a scoreless draw against Philadelphia a week earlier.

United (12-10-5) is winless in four of its last five MLS contests.

After a scoreless opening half, Salt Lake took the lead on Johnson's goal in the fourth minute of the second half. Ned Grabavoy backed a pass to Paulo Jr. on the left side of the penalty area, and Paulo Jr. sent a cross into the 6-yard box that was deflected by DC defender Brandon McDonald. Johnson got his head under the deflected ball and knocked it home.

DC tried to come up with the tying score in the 63rd minute when Dwayne De Rosario kicked a right footer from the center of the box. Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando came up with the diving save at the bottom corner of the right post.

Salt Lake was fortunate not to yield several first-half goals. D.C. relentlessly attacked and set up several good scoring chances throughout the half.

United forward Chris Pontinus caught Rimando out of position in the 11th minute and tried to slot the ball inside the right post, but his shot across the penalty area just hooked wide of the post.

Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert denied Pontinus on another shot in the 21st minute. Pontinus blasted a right footer from the center of the box and Wingert blocked it to prevent the goal.

D.C. came up empty on another solid chance in the 28th minute. De Rosario kicked from the center of the box and blasted the ball at the left post. It bounced off the post and narrowly missed crossing the line.

Wingert earned drew a yellow card in the 70th minute and will miss Salt Lake's match against Houston on Thursday.

Lightning near the Wasatch Mountains east of Rio Tinto Stadium caused play to be suspended in the 4th minute. The lightning delay lasted 84 minutes before play resumed amid a steady rain.

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."

MORE SOCCER: STL: 'Tyrant'-like act by Spirit to stifle Rapinoe protest

Spirit players speak out against owner shutting down Rapinoe's protest

Spirit players speak out against owner shutting down Rapinoe's protest

Two days after the Washington Spirit organization changed the timing of their pregame routine in order to preempt Megan Rapinoe’s national anthem protest, Spirit players are speaking out against the team’s decision.

"We respect our owner’s freedom to share his views and we understand his intentions,” read a statement posted on the Spirit website. “But as a team we don’t necessarily agree with those opinions or the actions taken Wednesday evening.” 

The statement - signed ‘all of the players of the Washington Spirit’ - was also posted to Spirit captain, and longtime U.S. Women’s National Team star, Ali Krieger’s personal website. 

“As a team, we were disappointed we were not informed of the plans for the national anthem or given an opportunity to weigh in on the decision,” the statement continued.

The Washington Spirit and Rapinoe’s Seattle Reign FC were still in the locker rooms when the national anthem was played ahead of schedule at Wednesday’s National Women’s Soccer League match between the two teams. 

In an exclusive interview Tuesday afternoon, Rapinoe told CSN that she planned to kneel during the national anthem prior to Wednesday's game - as she did before Sunday's NWSL contest between Seattle and the Chicago Red Stars.