Friday kickaround

October 11, 2013
(Soccer Insider)
(Soccer Insider)

Greetings from Charlottesville, where I covered a riveting women’s college match last night in a pounding rainstorm and will see a storied men’s conference rivalry come to a close tonight.

First, the women’s game: Top-ranked Virginia remained perfect on the season through 13 matches with a 3-2 overtime victory over ninth-ranked Notre Dame.

My match report is available here.

Video of the controversial golden goal — did the ball cross the line? was there a handball on the line? — is available toward the end of this video package.

[UPDATE: I was able to view new video of the play this morning. Still not 100 percent conclusive, but the assistant referee is perfectly positioned on the goal line, the initial shot strikes the outstretched arm of the Notre Dame player and the goalkeeper's touch appears to push it over the threshold before the ball is cleared.]

Tonight, Virginia and Maryland collide in the regular season for the final time as ACC men’s rivals. (The Terps are heading to the Big Ten next year.) They could still meet in the league tournament next month, or perhaps in the NCAA tournament. And there is always the possibility of non-conference matches between the teams in the future. Tonight, though, ends an era between regional nemeses.

Maryland and Virginia have combined for one-third of the NCAA titles since 1989 (eight of 24) and seven of the past 11 ACC championships.

Both the fifth-ranked Terps and No. 23 Cavaliers enter the evening with seven-game unbeaten streaks.

In the D.C. area, Comcast SportsNet will provide live coverage, starting at 7 p.m. ESPN3.com will carry a live stream.

*The U.S. national team will play its penultimate World Cup qualifier tonight against last-place Jamaica at sold-out Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, UniMas, WatchESPN).

While the match carries no consequences for the qualified Americans, it is not meaningless, as some would say. Juergen Klinsmann has only five FIFA fixture dates between now and the World Cup, so any opportunity to gather most, if not all, of his first-choice players without club protest must be seized. (The Americans would also like to finish atop the hexagonal for the third straight time: They would seal that feat with a victory in K.C. and a Costa Rica loss at Honduras.)

The U.S. roster has undergone changes since Klinsmann unveiled the list Sunday:

Center backs Michael Orozco and Clarence Goodson, as well as midfielder Brad Davis and forward Chris Wondolowski, are in. Defender Omar Gonzalez (hip injury) and forward Eddie Johnson (groin) are out. Klinsmann now has 22 players at his disposal for tonight and Tuesday at Panama. (Additional changes are possible between matches.)

With Clint Dempsey missing this get-together, Tim Howard will wear the captain’s armband. Michael Bradley was also scratched as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Earlier today in Kansas City, the U.S. Soccer Federation will induct three new members into the National Soccer Hall of Fame: Peter Vermes, Joe-Max Moore and New York Times columnist George Vecsey.

*D.C. United official injury report heading into Saturday night’s home match against Philadelphia: Defender Dejan Jakovic (groin) and midfielder John Thorrington (calf) are out, while defender Ethan White (knee) in questionable. Captain Dwayne De Rosario is on a Canadian national team assignment.

The Union is down two defenders: Fabinho (red card) and Sheanon Williams (yellow cards).

DCU off-field news:

Predictably, as Post colleague Jonathan O’Connell writes, United is facing resistance to build a stadium at Buzzard Point.

After a one-year absence, the club has reached agreement to return to the Carolina Challenge Cup, a four-team preseason tournament in Charleston, S.C. Last February, United set up camp in Orlando. Seattle, Houston and the hometown Battery (USL Pro) will join United at Blackbaud Stadium. (I highly recommend visiting the stadium, stadium pub and restaurant-rich city.) Details here.

A United representative is visiting Jakarta this week to discuss training sites, hotels, games and other logistics as part of a proposed tour in December. The club is aiming to finalize plans this month.

 

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff · October 10, 2013

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