Will DCU be without both captains in pivitol Game 2?

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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."

NWSL Highlights: Spirit catch Thorns atop standings in Week 13

NWSL Highlights: Spirit catch Thorns atop standings in Week 13

Week 13 in the National Women’s Soccer League saw the Washington Spirit finally catch the Portland Thorns atop the table, while the Houston Dash snapped a six-game losing streak.

Orlando and Chicago squared off in a game with huge playoff implications, and Sky Blue FC and Boston met for Northeast bragging rights.

NWSL Week 10 highlights include final games by USWNT members

NWSL Week 10 highlights include final games by USWNT members

Another week of NWSL action is in the books, but Week 10 was far from just another slate of games. We saw the Western New York Flash make league history in Rochester plus late drama in Orlando and Washington.

This was also the final weekend of NWSL play before members of the U.S. Women's National Team report for camp ahead of the Rio Olympics. 

With 1-0 loss to Colombia, US finishes 4th in Copa America

With 1-0 loss to Colombia, US finishes 4th in Copa America

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Carlos Bacca beat goalkeeper Tim Howard by sliding to poke in a headed cross in the 31st minute, and the United States finished fourth in the Copa America with a 1-0 defeat against Colombia on Saturday night.

After losing to Argentina 4-0 in the semifinals, the 31st-ranked U.S. was beaten by No. 3 Colombia for the second time in the 16-nation tournament.

Bobby Wood came closest to scoring for the U.S. when he hit a post in the 62nd, one minute after Colombia's Juan Cuadrado hit the underside of the crossbar.

The U.S. matched its previous best finish in the tournament, when it lost to Colombia in the 1995 fourth-place game at Uruguay.

After the Americans lost to Jamaica in the semifinals of last year's CONCACAF Gold Cup and struggled in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was hoping his team would rebound in the Copa, when right back DeAndre Yedlin, central defender John Brooks, midfielder Gyasi Zardes and forward Bobby Wood solidified their positions as regular starters.

Darlington Nagbe and 17-year-old Christian Pulisic again entered as second-half subs, two more players who could break through and replace veterans during the remaining 16 months of World Cup qualifying.

Colombia, which never has won the Copa America, finished third for fourth time but first since 1995. Argentina plays Chile for the title on Sunday night in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Both teams finished a man short, when American defender Michael Orozco and Colombian defender Santiago Arias were ejected for a confrontation in the third minute of second-half stoppage time. Orozco is suspended the U.S.'s World Cup qualifier at St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, and Arias for Colombia's qualifier against Venezuela.

Klinsmann inserted the 37-year-old Howard into his lineup in place of Brad Guzan, who had started the previous nine games. Matt Besler was in central defense instead of Brooks, who was bothered by knee inflammation, and Orozco was at left back because Fabian Johnson has a sore groin.

Midfielders Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya returned to the lineup along with Wood after the three served one-game suspensions.

Colombia scored after Juan Cuadrado, from along a flank, cut the ball back to James Rodriguez, just outside the penalty area. Arias made a run to get by Bedoya, and Rodriguez lofted a pass to Arias, who jumped at the edge of the 6-yard box and headed the ball across Howard's goal to Bacca. The forward slid ahead of Yedlin to nudge the ball in for his 13th international goal, his second of the tournament.

Clint Dempsey, who led the U.S. with three goals in the tournament, nearly scored on a free kick in the 51st minute. Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina dived left and lifted his right arm to tip Dempsey's effort wide.