United prepares for clash

United prepares for clash

There should be no reason for D.C. United to panic. Despite inconsistent form United is still in a playoff position. Furthermore the Black and Red has the confidence of not having lost at home since the opening game as it prepares for a massive clash Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls.
To describe the third meeting of the season against the Red Bulls as massive is probably not an exaggeration. Beyond the built-in rivalry and the Atlantic Cup trophy that is on the line, the Red Bulls are in second place five points ahead of United and only two points behind Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City.
United has played one fewer game than the Red Bulls, but it is more the teams quality in games than quantity of games played that is the concern. It has been a disruptive summer. In June and July United only had five leagues matches and now is trying to survive a stretch of five matches in 14 days.
The heavy schedule weighed heavily on head coach Ben Olsens mind as the team went into last Saturdays game in Montreal. Chris Pontius and Dwayne De Rosario, who had a slight calf strain, were used as substitutes instead of starters. Nick De Leon was sidelined by an illness. A 3-0 loss to the Impact followed.
You cant play these guys every game, with two days rest in between three games, said Olsen said. I went out with a group that had some energy and overall they were pretty good. I didnt think we got two big calls that might get us out of here with the result.
It really could have been different. For all the possession the Impact had, they only had one shot in the first half. Still the Impact had the first goal. United is a perfect 7-0 this season when it scores first, but has struggled to a 1-7-2 mark when it concedes the first goal.
I think we just need to fight a little harder and work more for each other, De Rosario said. Every time a team scores against us, we put our heads down and think its the end. Then, we stop really pushing forward and we want to keep the ball. We are playing more reserved defensively; staying back, and then it creates a lot of space.
Whether it has been through injuries, suspensions, or fatigue, United has not been able to field a consistent lineup. The lineup changes may in part explain Uniteds unpredictability. The team no longer has the momentum that propelled it to the top of the table at mid-season. United has not won consecutive games since a four-game winning streak in late May that carried into June.
Its hard to put a finger on, said United defender Brandon McDonald. We have done well though bouncing back after a loss. We know what is at stake. We have done well at home. The fans are behind us and we feed off their energy. It is a whole different animal when we are here.
United does usually put on a show at R.F.K. Stadium. Multi-goal games are the norm. Since United lost 1-0 in the season opener to Sporting Kansas City, only twice in twelve matches has United failed to score more than one goal. In addition United has outscored opponents at home by a convincing 29-12 advantage.
Against the Red Bulls it will be interesting to see if United stays with the partnership of Marcelo Saragosa and Perry Kitchen. They have paired together in the center of the midfield in the last two games. Against Montreal Kitchen completed 34 of 42 passes and was more involved in the attack and against Chicago the formation was a resounding success in a 4-2 win.
The Red Bulls were able to earn a 1-1 draw on the road against Kansas City to stop a three-game losing streak away from home. To secure the point the Red Bulls needed an own goal, but they now possess a potentially lethal attack that produced five goals in the previous two home matches.
The Red Bulls forward combination of Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry has combined for 25 goals. In the midfield former Everton star and Australian international Tim Cahill already has a goal and two assists in just four matches. Add to the mix Sebastian Le Toux and Joel Lindpere and Uniteds defenders will have no shortage of responsibilities.

Leicester City clinches EPL title, greatest underdog season in sports history

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AP Photo/Rui Vieira

Leicester City clinches EPL title, greatest underdog season in sports history

On Monday afternoon, Chelsea and Tottenham F.C. played to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, meaning Leicester City clinched the Barclays Premier League championship. 

While Leicester City still has a few games left, they have already clinched an outright title thanks to 77 points and a 22-11-3 record and the mantle of greatest underdog season in sports history.

Yes, sports history. All of it.

 The Foxes were promoted to the Premier League after winning the Football League Championship in 2014. Imagine a baseball team being called up to join the AL East and in just the second season, they clinched the pennant after leading the entire season.

Leicester City's estimated payroll for the 2015-16 season is 48.2 million pounds, which is good enough for 17th place, with Chelsea (215.6 million), Manchester United (203 million), Manchester City (193.8 million), Arsenal (192 million) and Liverpool (152 million) firmly cemented at the top.

Unlike a majority of American sports, there are no salary caps in international club football. A player can be bought by another team at any time during the transfer window. The teams at the top of the league, the traditional powers, are typically able to buy the best players because they have more money at their disposal. Since the formation of the English premier League in 1992, only one team outside the traditional powers has claimed the championship — the Blackburn Rovers in 1993.

Leicester City is now the second.

Leicester City had  5000-to-1 odds to win the championship at the beginning of the season. Think about this: Indiana, Illinois, and Colorado have 2000-to-1 odds to win the College Football Playoff championship this season. 

The Foxes were led by Jamie Vardy, who set an EPL record for consecutive games with a goal scored in with 11. Vardy has scored 22 goals in 34 appearances this season and is behind just Tottenham's Harry Kane (24) and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (23) in the league's scoring table. Aguero's salary calls for nearly 220-thousand pounds a week. Vardy makes roughly 45-thousand a week.

In clinching the championship, Leicester City has clinched a spot in the UEFA Champion's league, the top club competition in Europe., the first time in club history. The club was founded in 1884, 24 years before the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series. Not only has Leicester City never qualified for the UEFA Champion's League, but they have never qualified for the UEFA Europa League, the international competition for the teams that just miss out on the Champion's League.

Leicester City winning the Barclays Premier League makes what George Mason did in the 2006 NCAA Tournament look like a regular season MLB series in May.

Simply put, this is the most unthinkable and unexpected championship season in sports history.

 

D.C. United's late goals secure 3-0 win over Revolution

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USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United's late goals secure 3-0 win over Revolution

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lamar Neagle scored on a penalty kick in the first half and D.C. United added two late goals to beat the New England Revolution 3-0 on Saturday.

Neagle converted from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute with a low shot into the left corner. Marcelo Sarvas drew the penalty on a run up the right side where Je-Vaughn Watson's foul occurred just inside the area.

Luciano Acosta scored his first MLS goal in the 86th minute on 20-yard chip shot that glanced in underneath the crossbar. Alvaro Saborio capped the scoring for D.C. United (2-3-3) with a breakaway goal in the 90th.

Revolution (1-2-5) defender Chris Tierney and United forward Fabian Espindola left the game before halftime with leg injuries.

United coach Ben Olsen served a one-game suspension for stepping on the field last Saturday. Assistant coach Chad Ashton oversaw the team in Olsen's absence.

Toronto ends winless-streak against United

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Toronto ends winless-streak against United

Sebastian Giovinco's goal in the first minute stood up in Toronto FC's 1-0 victory over DC United on Saturday.

Jozy Altidore got to the ball inside the box to the right of goalkeeper Travis Worra and rolled a cross that a sliding Marco Delgado reached and redirected a bit to his left and Giovinco was on the spot to tap it in for his fourth goal of the season.

That was enough for Toronto (2-2-2) to end a three-match winless streak as goalkeeper Clint Irwin made three saves. The toughest save came in the 30th minute when he got a hand on a tight shot by Patrick Nyarko out of traffic in front of the net.

DC (1-3-3) had 18 attempts but 10 were off target.

Toronto playing its sixth straight game on the road to open the season, had 10 shots, three on Worra.

[RELATED: Espindola, Saborio score twice as United tops Whitecaps 4-0]