Will DCU be without both captains in pivitol Game 2?


Will DCU be without both captains in pivitol Game 2?

D.C. United knows exactly what they must do on Sunday. In order to keep their playoff hopes alive and advance to the Cup Finals, they must win by three goals.  

It isn't an impossible task. In fact, it's one that this club has managed three times already this season. This time, however, they may have to do so with the aid of their two leading goal scorers, who happened to play an integral role in each of the aforementioned victories.  

Chris Pontius, who left Game 1 in Houston on Sunday with a strained groin, may not be ready to go for the second crucial leg of the series.  Pontius, the club's most productive man on offense, has yet to practice with the club this week.

"[Pontius' injury] at this point looks a bit more severe than [Brandon McDonald and Marcelo Saragosa], but there's still a chance that he'll be OK as well."

Dwayne DeRosario, out since early September with a sprained MCL, is currently listed as probable on the MLS injury report.  At the time, the 2011 MLS MVP had notched seven goals on the season and ranked second in the league with 12 assists.  

"[De Rosario] looks good, energized, fresh," said teammate Nick DeLeon. "He looks like he's ready to play."

Olsen wouldn't confirm, but agreed that the chances of seeing De Rosario's return to the pitch this Sunday are good.  But ater missing more than two months, however, the midfielder will not likely be back to true form.

"He looks pretty good at training. The stamina side is different in the playoffs as opposed to a regular game, but that's coming along. We're not sure how many minutes he has in him really, but he certainly can score and change games so you might be able to see him on Sunday."

The team has had to find a way to scrap together wins throughout the season with various players going down and backups stepping in. Goal scoring is distributed fairly evenly on the stat sheet and United is no stranger to moving parts.   

"Someone who hasn't done anything special in one game, the next they're scoring the game-winning goal," said DeLeon. "I have no doubt that someone will step in and fill [Pontius'] role and do just as good or even better."

In desperate need of at least a two goal lead in regulation time in Game 2, Olsen will have to make tweaks to both his game plan and roster.  

"We're certainly going to have to be a little bit more aggressive but nothing really has to change. We've had success at home playing the way we play at home. It's not a thing where we need two goals in the first 20 minutes. If we're in good shape towards the end of this game with a lead, I like our chances. But we can't give one up, we can't be silly on set pieces that they have shown they're pretty darn good at.

"We know we have to be aggressive, we know we have to go after them, but we also have to be patient. It's that fine balance. We know they're not going to want to just sit back, they're going to want to attack as well. It's a little bit of a chess match in that sense."

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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