D.C. United is doing well, but Washington Mystics can’t score points


The scoring of Maicon Santos, left, is one reason D.C. United is playing well, and the success has prompted talk of a new stadium for the team. (Rob Carr/GETTY IMAGES)

Kids are getting excited about the Nationals’ chances of making the Major League Baseball playoffs. And some are gearing up for another Redskins season and the arrival of Robert Griffin III at quarterback.

But I thought we should check in on Washington’s pro soccer and women’s basketball teams this week.

D.C. United: Two years ago, United hit rock bottom. The team was last in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, with a record of six wins, 20 losses and four ties. Even worse, United scored an MLS low of 21 goals in 30 games. There wasn’t much for D.C. fans to cheer about at crumbling RFK Stadium.

Well, United is back. After a slow start, the team has been at or near the top of the conference. Led by forwards Chris Pontius (nine goals) and Maicon Santos (seven goals) and by playmaking midfielder Dwayne De Rosario (five goals, 10 assists), United is scoring, with 34 goals in 19 MLS games.

The team recently announced it has a new majority owner. There is talk of building a new stadium.


Crystal Langhorne, number 1, averages more than 16 points a game, but doesn’t get much offensive support from other players. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Chances are good that United will not add another MLS Cup to the four the team has already won. But at least Coach Ben Olsen and the new owner have the team scoring more and moving in the right direction.

Washington Mystics: Like United, the Mystics added a bunch of players in the offseason. But the Mystics haven’t had the same success as United.

The problem is that the Mystics struggle to score, averaging fewer than 70 points per game, the lowest in the WNBA.

Forward Crystal Langhorne has developed into a dependable scoring threat, tossing in more than 16 points a game in her fourth year out of the University of Maryland. But after that, it’s strictly hit-or-miss.

Coach Trudi Lacey expected Monique Currie to pick up some of the scoring slack. But Currie has been wildly inconsistent this season. The 6-foot forward from Duke University hasn’t scored even 10 points in half of the team’s last 14 games.

Because of the Summer Olympics, the WNBA is taking a break until the middle of August. Team USA, which is loaded with WNBA stars, is favored to win the gold medal again. Maybe in the next month the Mystics can find another scorer. And start moving in a winning direction — like United.

Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. His latest book, “Go for the Goal!,” which will be published in August, includes a history of the 1999 United States women’s World Cup team.

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