Rise and shine, soccer fam!

Get ready the battle for a spot in the Leagues Cup Final is on today! Philadelphia Union and Inter Miami CF will go head to head at 7 pm ET, while Monterrey will take on Nashville SC at 9:30 pm ET.

We can’t help getting a little misty over this story:

Spain is heading to the World Cup Final! Who will they meet on the pitch? Share you thoughts in the comments.

Washington Sprit coach Mark Parsons was a special guest on the Men in Blazers World Cup Twitch Semifinal Watchalong with Sam Mewis!

We are all (not so) patiently waiting for the Black-and-Red to be back in regular season action. D.C. United faces the New York Red Bulls on August 20 at Red Bull Arena. We’ll have our popcorn ready!

If you’re the social type, RSVP for the watch party at The Wharf, kicking off at 6:30 pm ET on August 20.

That’s all from me this morning!

BySarah Kallassy

Managing Editor

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Matt Glad

Anyone expecting major changes to the tactics/formation going into Saturday? Several commenters have mentioned going back to a back 4 in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 and I like that idea. I think it would play into Benteke and Pirani’s strengths a bit more while also putting a bit less on Canouse’s plate as the CDM. My only concern is who the wingers would be. Some combination of Dajome/Santos/Hopkins/Fletcher? I may be forgetting someone. Thoughts?

Ryan Hunt

Tough to tell. The current formation is a little light on CBs unless Davis can play LCB) so the fact that Palsson wasn’t replaced could point to a shift away from a back three. But they still don’t have the depth on the wings to really do much. Dajome is the only real winger we’ve got right now.

The other options are all better suited to positions in the current 3-1-4-2. Santos was ineffectual on the wing to start the season but has been pretty solid at LWB. Ruan is too one-dimensional, Najar too fragile and lacks end product, Hopkins and KDP have shown way better playing centrally, Durkin and Canouse should never play on the wing again, and Fletcher isn’t quite there yet. Maybe Pirani can play wide or maybe one of the others can step up, but I’m not confident on either happening.

Of course, our current chance creation strategy isn’t working well enough to be a true playoff threat so I think a change might be worth it. No matter what happens, I think our roster construction is still an absolute nightmare.

Will Nelson

So since we haven’t brought in a Taxi replacement, do we have the pieces to make the playoffs? I don’t see us going all the way if we make it though.


As Jim Mora once said…

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Brendan Cartwright

Well, the attack has focused around Benteke all year. He’s still a dominant focal point, but his goal-scoring has dried up (I was pleasantly surprised to have him hit his PK in the Leagues Cup shootout). So, if Benteke can get back to scoring, or if someone else can start taking advantage of the gravity Benteke commands to start scoring themselves, that should help. Taxi was really the only one doing this, but maybe a healthy Ku-DiPietro or a Fajardo or Pirani can start doing it. Dajome has often seemed like our only other scoring threat.

There’s a question of what happens in central midfield too, with Lewis O’Brien gone. Victor Palsson was playing on the backline, but could conceivably have played in that CM role. Do we go with Canouse and Durkin back there? Does Klich slide back? And if anybody gets hurt, what’s our depth like?

I think if we do make it to the playoffs, it’s likely to be as the ninth seed. This team has been better this year than last year, and that’s good. But they’ve gone a veteran-heavy route to team-building to try and go “all in” for Rooney. They were just too bad last year and the players that they’ve gotten haven’t been good enough for them to have a realistic shot at any silverware (especially when punting the Open Cup and arguably the Leagues Cup). The thinking was that Rooney was gone after this year, and that seems likely with his comments about the front office not bringing in enough players. So the next coach will get to fill a DP slot, but also will have Benteke and Klich who will both hit 34 years old next year. Basically every important returning starter will be 29 or older, and apart from Ku-DiPietro and depending on how you view Pines, none of the homegrowns have meaningfully progressed this year. The team isn’t really set up for success now, and at the helm of any rebuild is going to be Dave Kasper.



The DC United 96 podcast returned today and they discussed how DCU goes forward. The first point was that Kasper has to go and the next coach should be an Oscar Pareja type with a 5 year remit to build a team and culture that provides sustainable success — much like what Philly has done. On the personnel front they would not have re-signed Birnbaum, they would jettison Santos, Davis and Fajardo. They would tell Benteke to talk to the Saudi League and if he gets an offer, just go. They “might” keep Klich, but that’s it. In their view, and it’s one I largely agree with, the roster is too old for any sustained success and the lack of a plan dooms this squad to flitting between Wooden Spoon and lower rung (8th or 9th) for the playoffs. There is no culture here. Levien and Kaplan can’t fire themselves (though I wish they would), so that means the least they can do for the team and fans is fire Kasper, Mairs and Howe and start over.

Bryan McEachern

“There is no culture here”

Truer words can’t be said. This franchise has lost me. I feel like I have Redskin/Commander tickets. I can’t even encourage people to sit in club seats on the 26th for free.

Think about that.

I think this is only going to get worse. Much worse.

I don’t like writing it, let alone thinking it.

Bryan McEachern

Well, if you didn’t watch the Sweden v Spain game, you missed out. (No spoilers). The level off international women’s soccer is shooting up like a thermometer on K Street at high noon in August. To be honest, I don’t think the US was equipped to win this WC, and certainly there is better coaching on display with a large number teams in the field.

So, can a home-field nation of soccer psychos lift the Matildas over a pride of Lionesses who are missing a few essential cats? Tune in. I don’t have a clue, which will make that much better to watch!

David Rusk

Spain showed an amazing Barcelona-style ability to pass/dribble in very tight spaces a la Messi-Xavi-Iniesta in their prime. A highly skilled, well-coached squad. And Spain’s two goals were masterful.

And I agree that Vladko’s USWNT never looked set up to win it all. I’m particularly critical of not choosing Hatch, his enchantment with De Melo while exiling Sanchez, hanging Sullivan out to dry as single DM until final match, faulty substitution strategy, and so on.

But let’s compare USA and Spain vs Sweden. Shots USA 22 Spain 9; shots on goal USA 11 Spain 2; corners USA 9 Spain 3; possession USA 58% Spain 63%. Saves by Swedish keeper Musovic: vs USA 11 (some otherworldly); vs Spain 0.

As I’ve commented before, USWNT did everything against Sweden except win.

Bryan McEachern

Agreed that it was the best showing of the tourney despite not advancing on PKs.

However, the QUALITY of Spanish targeting vastly outperformed the USWNT. Hence, no saves for the Swedish keeper, 2 shots on frame, 2 goals; vs some (terrific) saves, and some basic goal-line upkeep in the credited 11 vs our team. In fact, the USWNT was one Horan header from being blanked again. (I don’t count pounding on Viet Nam as any measure of offensive prowess.)


And Spain is missing probably a dozen players from their roster (the 15 who asked not to be considered). I said 4 years ago their technical ability was better than the US and they’ve gotten even better. And their passing is so aggressive–they don’t sit back passively, they seek to undress you even in tight space. I love to watch them play. And we’re not even seeing Putellas in top form–she can’t even go 90 let alone be the game influencer she usually is.

Bryan McEachern

Yah, know, I kind of wonder how many of those 15 “starters” would have made this team. Buckle up, World Wide Buttercup, this is the youngest team in the World Cup.



Props to LA Galaxy in signing Sheffield United legend Billy Sharp, even if he’s an old fart. Seems like the kind of player Wayne Rooney could’ve enticed to come here if the Fountas saga had ended earlier…

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