Minus De Rosario DCU searches for a plus

746294.png

Minus De Rosario DCU searches for a plus

The stadium lights went out at one point during Canadas World Cup qualifier Tuesday in Panama. D.C. United is hoping its bid for the playoffs will not be short circuited by the loss of Dwayne De Rosario to a knee injury suffered in that game.

Life for United without the Canadian international will begin Saturday against New England at RFK Stadium. De Rosario, who played in 26 of Uniteds 27 MLS matches, is out 10-12 weeks because of a sprained MCL that happened in Canadas 2-0 loss to Panama. Just a week ago in the home fixture against Panama De Rosario provided the goal in a 1-0 win.

He is a guy thats scored a bunch of goals for us and for other teams, so it's a guy you want on the field, United midfielder Chris Pontius said of De Rosario. In teams that make deep runs and playoffs, numerous players step up not just one player. We have got to find that and everyone has got to take a little more pressure on their shoulders.

De Rosario is Uniteds captain and has accepted different roles. This season he has been used as both an attacking midfielder and withdrawn forward. De Rosario is tied for second in the league with 12 assists to go with seven goals. On August 29th the reigning league MVP scored his 100th career goal in a 2-2 tie with the New York Red Bulls.

If anything I think there is a higher percentage chance that it (loss of De Rosario) could bring us together, said United head coach Ben Olsen. I dont know if that is going to happen, but I could see that happening more than these guys throwing in the towel. It is not in this groups DNA.

Heading into the match against the Revolution Uniteds first playoff berth in five years is far from assured. United is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and one point behind Columbus and the final playoff spot. United was in first place at the midpoint of the season, but has lost five of its last nine matches over the past two months.

The timing of De Rosarios injury has also triggered an ominous feeling among Uniteds supporters. On September 10th of last year Pontius suffered a season-ending broken leg against in a 3-0 victory over Chivas USA. United stumbled without Pontius and lost six of its final nine matches.

I think we are stronger mentally and we have better personnel than we did last year at this point, Olsen said. It is great measuring stick for us to move forward and see which guys are ready to give more.

Although its not likely, United has not ruled out looking for help outside the club, but the MLS roster freeze is 5 PM on Saturday. Olsen joked that few clubs are willing to give up a goal scorer for a fourth round draft pick anyway. Against that backdrop it is both a challenge and opportunity for the players on the current roster to somehow fill the void in De Rosarios absence.

For the last four games, starting with a 4-2 win over Chicago, United has gone with a central midfield partnership of Marcelo Saragosa and Perry Kitchen. Over that same stretch Pontius has returned to a role on the left flank. It appears Olsen then has to find someone to partner with forward Lionard Pajoy.

Since being acquired in the trade that sent Danny Cruz to Philadelphia, Pajoy has started Uniteds last five matches and scored on goal. Maicon Santos is healthy again after missing five consecutive matches with a sore foot and is possible option to join Pajoy up top. Santos has seven goals on the season, but has not scored since Uniteds last meeting with New England on May 26.

For all Uniteds troubles on the road, six consecutive losses, United has not lost at home since the season opener against Kansas City. In the Revolution, United will be facing a side that went into a summer swoon. The Revolution had a 10-game winless streak, including seven losses, before finally breaking through in a 2-0 win over Columbus.

Saturdays game will mark Olsens entrance into the D.C. Uniteds Hall of Tradition. Olsen will be recognized for his service to the club as player and will join John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry, Jeff Agoos, Raul Diaz Arce, Eddie Pope and Richie Williams with a banner on the south wall at RFK Stadium.

Olsen appreciates the honor, but his concern is helping to recapture the clubs winning tradition by guiding the Black and Red into the playoffs as a head coach. The matches still have to be played, and without De Rosario, but Uniteds record over its final seven opponents is an impressive 7-1-1.

Hope Solo criticizes 'cowardly' Swedish team following Olympic loss

Hope Solo criticizes 'cowardly' Swedish team following Olympic loss

The U.S. Women's Soccer Team was bounced from the Olympic Tournament on Friday following a shocking 1-1 shootout loss to Sweden.

The USWNT had to once again rally back from 1-0 — as they did against Colombia — with Alex Morgan scoring an equalizer in the 78th minute.

After 30 minutes fo scoreless extra time, the game went to penalty kicks. Morgan and Christen Press missed their attempts, and Hope Solo was unable to stop Lisa Dahlkvist's attempt, snapping the USWNT's 14-game Olympic win streak. It was also the first time the USWNT did not advance to the Olympic gold medal games.

Solo, who has been the focal point of the USWNT's time in Rio due to the chants of "Zika" lobbed her way in the tournament opener, along with her subpar performance in the 2-2 draw against Colombia, once again made headlines following the shocking loss.

While Solo was lauded for the poise she showed following the major gaffe in the Colombia game, she had some choice words for the Swedish team following the loss on Friday.

Solo has never been one to mince words.  

While it was not particularly clear that the Swedish side was playing dirty, Sweden did have 15 penalties to the United States too. The United States outshot Sweden 27-6 and had six shots on goal to Sweden's two. But despite the stat discrepancy, Sweden packed their defense in, forcing the United States to take an increased number of shots from outside. Sweden also did a tremendous job of counter-attacking with deep balls, which the side — coached by former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage — a bevy of uneven scoring chances.

When asked about her "coward" comment, Solo provided clearer detail.

"Sweden dropped off," she said to reporters after the game. "They didn't want to play. They didn't want to pass the ball. They didn't want to play great soccer. It was a combative game, a physical game. Exactly what their game plan was. They dropped into a 50. They didn't try and press. They didn't want to open the game. We had that style of play when Pia was our coach. i don't think they're going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly.

"But they won. They're moving on, and we're going home."

Solo then took to Twitter to clarify her comments.

But the outcome remains the same: A stunning loss before the medal round, and to make matters worse, the result will be overshadowed by critical comments.

RELATED: WOULD THIS TEAM OF MARYLAND NATIVES WIN OLYMPIC GOLD?

U.S. women suffer shocking Olympic elimination in shootout loss to Sweden

U.S. women suffer shocking Olympic elimination in shootout loss to Sweden

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The three-time defending champion U.S. women's national team will miss the Olympic final for the first time after being ousted by Sweden on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Tied after three rounds in the shootout, Sweden captain Caroline Seger beat Hope Solo and Christen Press' attempt against Hedvig Lindhal went over the net. With the next kick, Lisa Dahlkvist beat an outstretched Solo for the win.

RELATED: HOPE SOLO CRITICIZES "COWARDLY" SWEDISH TEAM AFTER LOSS

As Sweden celebrated, U.S. captain Carli Lloyd crouched on the field at Mane Garrincha Stadium. It was the first time that an Olympic women's match had gone to penalties.

It was the earliest the United States had ever been eliminated from the Olympics since women's soccer became a sport in 1996.

After a scoreless first half, Stina Blackstenius scored in the 61st minute to give Sweden a 1-0 lead.

Alex Morgan scored the equalizer in the 78th and the match went to extra time. Lloyd had a header called back for offside in the 115th minute, and Lotta Schelin was offside on her attempt against Solo a minute later -- although replays appeared to show otherwise.

The reigning World Cup champions, who are also four-time Olympic champions, had not dropped a match this year. But it Sweden that will play either Australia or host Brazil in the semifinals.

Blackstenius, who came in as a substitute in the first half, broke away and shook off defender Julie Johnston to beat Solo and give Sweden the lead. It was just her second international goal.

Sweden's coach, Pia Sundhage, high-fived her assistants on the bench. Sundhage coached the U.S. team for five years and led the squad to gold medals in both Beijing and London.

The United States got the equalizer with Morgan's shot that bounced off a Sweden defender. It was Morgan's team-leading 13th goal of the year. Lloyd nearly put the United States ahead in the 85th but her kick to the far corner went just wide.

The Americans won their first two matches in Brazil before a surprising 2-2 draw in Manaus against Colombia, which had already been eliminated.

Johnston returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a groin injury and coach Jill Ellis played all her regular starters after rotating and resting many against Colombia in the heat and humidity of the Amazon. Megan Rapinoe, who started against Colombia after missing more than eight months after right knee surgery, was on the bench but came on as a substitute in the second half.

Press replaced Rapinoe in the extra period.

Sweden had won only five matches against the United States. The two teams played to a scoreless draw at last year's World Cup. The last time the two teams met in the Olympics was at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Sundhage was a player on the Sweden team that fell 2-1 to the Americans.

Ranked sixth in the world, Sweden had struggled in its Olympic group with a 5-1 loss to host Brazil and finished 1-1-1.

Lloyd buried her head in her hands early in the second half after her free kick was off the mark. Just moments later, she had another that was off-target, too. The United States struggled to finish throughout the match.

The crowd at Mane Garrincha Stadium in was sparse at the start of the match and never extended much past the lower bowl of the massive 72,000-seat stadium that was reconstructed and expanded for the men's 2014 World Cup.

The fans that were there continued to jeer Solo with shouts of "Zika!" everytime she touched the ball. The fans have taunted her since the opening match in Brazil because of her posts on social media about the virus.

Field condition concerning ahead of USWNT quarterfinal match with Sweden

Field condition concerning ahead of USWNT quarterfinal match with Sweden

The United States is set to play Sweden on Friday in the quarterfinal round of the women’s soccer tournament at the Rio Olympics. The U.S. – fresh off winning their group – is one victory away from advancing to the medal round.

The match will be played at noon ET on NBCSN and while both teams hope to be prepared for Friday’s win-or-go-home affair, the field at Brasilia’s Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha does not appear to be ready for the rigors of elimination soccer.

Friday’s game will be the ninth Olympic match played at Brasilia’s primary stadium. The stadium, named after Brazilian soccer legend Garrincha, hosted a men’s soccer doubleheader (Mexico-South Korea and Argentina-Honduras) on Wednesday night. 

According to a report in the Brazilian publication oLiberal, ‘emergency’ work was done on the field in the three weeks leading up to the Olympics. The Brazilian men’s team opener their Olympic campaign in Brasilia with a scoreless draw against South Africa. 

A men’s quarterfinal between Portugal and Germany is scheduled for Saturday at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the U.S. vs. Sweden women’s game.