MLS Preview: Houston Dynamo at D.C. United

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If D.C. United were playing better, this would be billed as a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals. And technically, Wednesday’s visit from Houston still is, though if you’re picking from storylines to promote tonight’s game at RFK, 2012 nostalgia would be pretty far down the list. Coming off a huge win in Los Angeles, the Dynamo are justifying preseason hype that slotted them at the top of the Eastern Conference. Ben Olsen’s team, however, is in free fall.

[MORE: PST’s Power Rankings capture D.C.’s slide]

The explanation for D.C.’s slide: Nothing’s working. Along with New England, they’ve got the league’s worst attack (four goals in eight games), but unlike the Revolution, they’re having trouble preventing goals. Only three teams have allowed more than United’s 13. With that combination of inept offense and poor defense, it’s no surprise United have the league’s worst record.

Two months ago, though, that would have been a hard one to call. D.C. was coming off a second place finish in the East and looked set to push on. With young players like Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Chris Korb and Bill Hamid, there was reason to believe they would improve, especially with another year under Olsen’s belt. Instead, D.C. United’s experiencing a power outage. Partly due to health reasons, Olsen’s yet to get a goal from DeLeon, Dwayne De Rosario, or Chris Pontius, while imported strikers Rafael, Carlos Ruiz, and Lionard Pajoy (acquired late last year) have only three. Right now, there’s just nothing there, which only magnifies the problems of a defense threatening to revert to 2011 form.

The Houston Dynamo are near the other end of the spectrum, their points-per-game rate ranking second in the Eastern Conference. And coming off a road win over the Galaxy, there’s reason to think Dom Kinnear’s team is transcending their current standing. Where road performance has been a problem with Houston in recent years, the Dynamo got a convincing victory at a venue where they’re lost the last two MLS Cup finals. That their captain and best player, Brad Davis, was suspended for the game made the victory all the more impressive.

This is exactly what we expected from Houston: a team which, bringing back almost its entire squad, would be able to get even better with a little more time and talent. On the talent end, that means the additions of Andrew Driver, Eric Brunner, and (the seldom used) Omar Cummings providing the depth Kinnear needs to improve on last year’s fifth place finish. And with time, Ricardo Clark’s a bigger part of the team, Corey Ashe and Kofie Sarkodie have continued to improve, while Gilles Barnes has asserted himself playing behind Will Bruin.

Tonight’s matchup at RFK pits a complete team against one without answers, and unfortunately for United, they need the result more. But with Houston coming off a big road win, D.C. can’t count on the Dynamo’s old road woes tilting this one in their favor.

Portugal beats Uruguay as Bruno continues red-hot World Cup

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Portugal made it two wins from two games as Bruno Fernandes scored twice to beat Uruguay 2-0 and advance to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup on Monday.

WATCH FULL PORTUGAL vs URUGUAY MATCH REPLAY

Fernandes was awarded the opening goal in the 54th minute, perhaps to the dismay of Cristiano Ronaldo, who immediately insisted the he got his head on the ball as it sailed over everyone — himself included, according to the review panel — and found its way into the back of the net from the opposite corner of the penalty area.

Ronaldo wheeled away in celebration, but five minutes later it was announced that Fernandes was being credited with his first World Cup goal, after tallying a pair of assists in Portugal’s opening win over Ghana.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Goal no. 2 was full of even more controversy. Fernandes slid the ball through Jose Gimenez’s legs and the Uruguayan center back’s trail hand touching the ball was deemed a handball offense upon video review.

The victory puts Portugal (6 points) in the driver seat atop Group H, with Ghana (3) the only other side still with a chance to win the group. Portugal will conclude group play against South Kore (1 point – 4th place) on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest Group G standings, schedule, scores ]

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How to watch Portugal vs Uruguay live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Monday Nov. 28
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Everyone’s going to keep looking at Cristiano Ronaldo — it’s difficult not to turn your head with all the “Look at me” nonsense — but Bruno Fernandes is the real string-puller here. He’s playing well with Ruben Neves, while Ruben Dias and the back line will look to tighten things up after letting Ghana stay in the game.

Uruguay hero Luis Suarez has been here before, but his supporting cast is as good as ever. Rodrigo Betancur and Jose Maria Gimenez give La Celeste a chance at clean sheet every time they take the pitch.


Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Uruguay quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur

Brazil grinds out late win over Switzerland without Neymar

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Brazil were held in check for 82 minutes without Neymar, but the five-time world champions escaped with a 1-0 victory vs Switzerland to advance to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup on Monday.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY

Casemiro hammered home a right-footed strike set up by Rodrygo’s clever first-time ball, just as Brazil appeared headed for a frustrating scoreless draw. Vinicius Junior had the ball in the back of the net not so long before Casemiro did, but the goal was ruled out for offside in the build-up, in a too-rare moment attacking fluidity.

The victory sends Brazil (6 points) through to the knockout rounds for an astonishing 20th straight World Cup appearance. Brazil’s only group-stage failure came in 1930, at the inaugural World Cup.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

The defeat is far from a tournament-ender for Switzerland (3 points – 2nd place), who need at least a draw (but preferably a win) against Serbia on Friday.

Brazil vs Switzerland
Photo: FotMob.com

[ MORE: Latest Group G standings, schedule, scores ]


No Neymar, no ideas

With Neymar (ankle) out for at least the rest of the group stage (maybe), Tite opted to bring Fred into the team and push Lucas Paqueta higher up the field against Switzerland. Brazil were, at times, brilliant going forward with Neymar playing off Richarlison’s strong hold-up and link-up play, making surging runs into space with a center back (or two) occupied.

Predictably, there was a disconnect between midfield and the forward line. Brazil were unable to create chances through the middle of the field, limited to hopeful crosses into the box where Switzerland’s towering center backs to comfortably clear. The stats and analytics really highlight Neymar’s impact, and the difficulties that Brazil have without him on the field, from the first half (and not much changed in the second half)…

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How to watch Brazil vs Switzerland live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Monday Nov. 28
Stadium: Stadium 974, Doha
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Brazil will not have Neymar for this one and likely the rest of the group stage as the oft-fouled magician felt the sting of Serbian tackles in the opener. The Brazilians have had to play without their captain before and have a wealth of attacking options, but who will join Richarlison in providing the goals in a Ney-less attack.

The Swiss have all the tools to hang with Brazil, but how physical will they want to make it for the favorites? Granit Xhaka will be one to watch as the underdogs try to balance a desire to get forward with the danger of doing so against a potent Brazil.


Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Switzerland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Brazil vs Switzerland live

World Cup 2022 Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Cameroon, Switzerland schedule, fixtures, rankings

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World No. 1 Brazil was not given an easy ride to the knockout rounds with a tough draw in World Cup 2022 Group G this November.

Tite’s imperious Brazilians will be tested by savvy Switzerland, fierce Serbia, and a Cameroon side capable of anything on its day.

[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]

The group will feature classic midfield battles as Granit Xhaka, Casemiro, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will patrol that part of the pitch.

Who will claim the second spot in the group if Brazil does as expected and wins the group? Switzerland will be feeling very good after their tight win against Cameroon to kick things off. While Brazil took care of business against Serbia to set themselves up nicely.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group G.


Group G schedule

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Monday, November 28: Brazil vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Friday, December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Friday, December 2: Serbia vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

How To Watch Group G matches live

  • When: November 24-December 2, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group G table

1. Brazil – 6 points (+3 GD)
2. Switzerland – 3 points (0)
3. Cameroon – 1 point (-1)
4. Serbia – 1 point (-2)


Brazil

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Serbia

Current FIFA world ranking: 21
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Dragan Stojkovic
Key players: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Luka Jovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic

Switzerland

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Cameroon

Current FIFA world ranking: 43
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from CAF playoffs
Coach: Rigobert Song
Key players: Andre Onana, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Vincent Aboubakar, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

World Cup 2022 Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea schedule, fixtures, rankings

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Expect fireworks when a star-studded World Cup 2022 Group H puts Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Heung-min Son, and Thomas Partey in the same group this November.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

All World Cup groups have megastars but Portugal and Uruguay will be considered contenders if not favorites to reach the semifinals in Qatar.

Premier League fans will know players from every single team.

Portugal (Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo, Partey), Uruguay (Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur), Tottenham Hotspur (Son), and Ghana (Thomas Partey, Jordan Ayew, Jeff Schlupp) are among the PL players set to contribute to the cause.

After their narrow win over Ghana, Portugal is looking good to reach the last 16, while it will be an almighty scrap between the other three to join them.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group H.


Group H schedule

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Monday, November 28: Portugal vs Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Monday, November 28: South Korea vs Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
Friday, December 2: South Korea vs Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

How To Watch Group F matches live

  • When: November 23-December 1, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group H table

1. Portugal — 6 points (+3 GD)
2. Ghana — 3 points (0)
3. South Korea — 1 point (-1)
4. Uruguay — 1 point (-2)


Portugal

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Ghana

Current FIFA world ranking: 61
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 4
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF via playoffs
Coach: Otto Addo
Key players: Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Jeff Schlupp

Uruguay

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur

South Korea

Current FIFA world ranking: 28
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Paulo Bento
Key players: Heung-min Son, Young-gwon Kim, In-beom Hwang, Woo-yeong Jeong