D.C. United to open 2013 MLS schedule against Houston Dynamo


D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo clashed in the 2012 MLS playoffs. Now they’ll open the 2013 season against each other. (Toni L. Sandys/THE WASHINGTON POST)
December 18, 2012

D.C. United will open the 2013 MLS season against the same opponent that ended its 2012 campaign: the Houston Dynamo.

United will visit BBVA Compass Stadium on March 2 — the earliest start in the league’s 18 years — for a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals won by the Dynamo last month.

United’s home debut will come a week later against Real Salt Lake at RFK Stadium.

With the league announcing the home openers for each of its 19 clubs on Tuesday, United also learned it will serve as New York’s first guest at Red Bull Arena on March 16.

United’s first three opponents were among the best nine teams in the overall standings this year.

The remainder of United’s 34-game schedule will come out early next month. With interconference play limited to one meeting, United will host the MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy and Supporters’ Shield winner San Jose Earthquakes, as well as Real Salt Lake, Vancouver and Portland.

Dallas, Seattle, Chivas USA and Colorado are the Western away games. United’s other 25 matches feature Eastern opponents.

The Galaxy, the two-time defending champion, will open March 3 at home against the Chicago Fire.

In roster news, United parted ways with reserve midfielder Stephen King, a former University of Maryland player who started 28 league matches in three seasons but made just seven appearances this year. The club declined to exercise a contract option last month and had considered offering him a preseason tryout.

Neumann back to Hoyas

Georgetown forward Steve Neumann, who recorded a hat trick in the College Cup semifinals against Maryland two weeks ago, is planning to return for his senior season, Hoyas Coach Brian Wiese said.

“It looks like we will get him back,” said Wiese, whose team upset the Terrapins on penalty kicks after a 4-4 draw and then lost to Indiana, 1-0, in the final.

Neumann was a second-team all-American with 10 goals and 13 assists (tied for second in the nation).

Meantime, Maryland forward Patrick Mullins, a first-team all-American and one of three player of the year finalists, is likely to decide this week whether to accept an MLS offer or return for his senior season, people familiar with the situation said. If he leaves, Mullins would likely be among the top picks in the Jan. 17 draft.

Mullins’s 17 goals were first in the ACC and fifth in the country. He also had 10 assists.

In the wake of their sensational tournament game, Wiese and Maryland counterpart Sasho Cirovski talked this week about renewing their regular season rivalry, Wiese said. However, Terrapins Athletic Director Kevin Anderson’s ban on teams scheduling Georgetown until the Hoyas agree to a men’s basketball game remains in place.

Krieger back to U.S.

Ali Krieger, a Forest Park High School graduate who missed the Olympics last summer with a knee injury, has left German club FFC Frankfurt after 5½ years to concentrate on her U.S. women’s national team career and play in a new American pro league.

“I want to be here from Day One with the national team and prove myself again,” said Krieger, the U.S. team’s top-choice right back until her injury last January. “The next four-year cycle is important for me.”

Krieger, 28, said she is hoping to play for the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League, which will launch in April. The eight-team NWSL is the third attempt to sustain a women’s circuit after the failure of the WUSA (2001-03) and WPS (2009-11). The Spirit will play at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds.

Top U.S., Canadian and Mexican players are subject to allocation soon. The other teams are in Boston; northern New Jersey; Rochester, N.Y.; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle.

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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