WASHINGTON --- After seven months, 19 painful league losses and 36 overall games, there are only two matches left in D.C. United’s grueling 2010 campaign.
The season’s cumulative physical and psychological toll tends to weigh most heavily on players in these final stages, so interim coach Ben Olsen has emphasized the importance of concluding 2010 with diligence and focus, starting with Saturday’s visit to Chicago.
A few lineup notes ahead of the Chicago Fire’s Saturday match against D.C. United:
Johnson still out; Dykstra to make third straight start
Though he returned to training on Friday, starting goalkeeper Sean Johnson (hyphema) will not be available for Saturday’s home finale. The rookie keeper missed Chicago’s last two matches after suffering an injury in training on Oct. 5.
NEW YORK – The USA Bid Committee officially announced on Friday that it has withdrawn from the bidding for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and will focus exclusively on securing the 2022 tournament.
The move had been expected for some time, given the fact that it was made clear early on that Europe would likely land the 2018 World Cup. England, Russia and joint bids by Belgium/Netherlands and Spain/Portugal are still in contention for the 2018 event.
NEW YORK – Details have been released regarding the MLS Expansion Draft that will take place on Wed., Nov. 24.
Existing MLS clubs can protect 11 players, which must include any Designated Players with no-trade clauses. Generation adidas players and Home Grown players are automatically excluded from the Expansion Draft and do not need to be protected.
WASHINGTON – No one would have begrudged Jed Zayner a bit of dejection when he was traded from the Columbus Crew to D.C. United back in August. The fifth-year pro not only had to leave behind a first-place team to join the league’s stragglers, he was also departing the city where he’d spent his entire pro career and moving further away from his Indiana roots.
QUÉ: Jornada 29, temporada regular de la MLS
QUIÉN: Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United
DÓNDE: Toyota Park (Bridgeview, IL)
CUÁNDO: Sábado, 16 de octubre, 2010 (4:00 p.m. ET)
NEW YORK – The scholars who study penalty kicks for a living have come up with another factoid today: the team that goes first in a penalty kick shootout has a 60 percent chance of winning it.
Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, whose penalty kick studies have been most famously highlighted by the book Soccernomics, analyzed 269 shootouts between 1970 and 2008. The results will be published in December by the American Economic Review, showing that the team to kick first has a 60.5 percent chance of winning while the opponent that goes second wins 39.5 percent of shootouts.
WASHINGTON – Injuries, suspensions and other factors have given D.C. United’s gameday roster the look of a carousel recently, with turnover and flux the norm rather than the exception.
Coach Ben Olsen’s numbers have improved this week. But the pattern continues as Jaime Moreno will miss Saturday’s game in Chicago due to his strange red card against San Jose. With the Bolivian legend out, Adam Cristman hopes to step in for his first match action in more than six weeks.
The playoffs are almost set, but there is plenty still up for grabs at the individual level.
After all, when have strikers not wanted to score goals? And these last two weeks provide the top marksmen a last chance to, um, finish strong.
The Thermometer takes a look at who’s got the inside line the race for the Budweiser Golden Boot.
Wonderful World of Wondo
FC Dallas striker Jeff Cunningham and D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno are tied for most goals scored in MLS history with 132 apiece.
With Moreno suspended for United’s tilt with the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Cunningham has a golden opportunity to take the lead outright in the race to be all-time scoring leader.