Fabian Espindola

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Former DC United keeper sues club plus Espindola, Olsen

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Former DC United goalkeeper Charlie Horton has filed a lawsuit naming D.C. United and Major League Soccer defendants along with Fabian Espindola and manager Ben Olsen.

The lawsuit alleges assault by Espindola which left Horton with career-ending concussion symptoms which he claims still haunt him today. Horton, born in London, was on D.C. United’s roster in 2016, but never saw the field as he failed to crack the pecking order which boasted Bill Hamid, Tally Hall, and Andrew Worra. Eventually, Horton was sent on loan to the Richmond Kickers to gain playing time.

According to the lawsuit, Espindola attacked Horton at the team training facility in late March of 2016 after an argument involving an incident in training weeks earlier. Horton did indeed officially miss seven weeks with a concussion that season, the first of two injuries he suffered that year (a broken hand ended his season).

However, the lawsuit states that Horton was not entered into MLS concussion protocol immediately, instead allowed to practice that day and only entering protocol and missing time when he reported his symptoms the following day. Horton was cleared to play in May, and was then sent on loan to Richmond.

The lawsuit states that the lingering concussion symptoms caused the end of Horton’s career. “Due to the severity of his ongoing post-concussive neurological symptoms, which directly inhibited his ability to perform at a level necessary to continue his professional career, Mr. Horton was forced to officially retire from professional soccer.”

Horton claims that Espindola’s attack was a blindsided attack, an elbow to the temple after Horton had turned to walk away from the altercation.

MLS Snapshot: DC United 4-0 Vancouver Whitecaps (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Just when you think you’ve got something figured out about MLS … well, we all know how this one ends: you’re reminded that no one knows anything about MLS. Take, for instance, D.C. United, widely regarded one of, if not the worst teams in MLS 2016; through five games, just three points to show for their efforts and not a single victory. Enter Saturday’s opponent, the Vancouver Whitecaps, widely regarded Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup contenders, and the Black and Red are no longer winless, having thoroughly dominated the second-place finishers in the Western Conference a season ago. The poacher’s intuition of Fabian Espindola was on display in this one, as the veteran Argentine scored twice on rebounds from close range. “Right place, right time” is a skill, you know. United’s other former Real Salt Lake man, Alvaro Saborio, came off the bench to score an 11-minute brace of his own.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Week 4 in MLS ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Ousted makes a huge stop against Espindola — Fantastic reaction save by David Ousted, who made no fewer than four massive saves to keep it 0-0 this long.

39′ — Espindola cleans up after Ousted spills for 1-0 — Nick DeLeon slotted the through ball that put Chris Rolfe in with a one-on-one chance against Ousted. The big Dane ‘keeper made the stop of Rolfe’s effort, but the rebound rolled right into the path of Espindola.

54′ — Espindola pokes home from close-range again — Taylor Kemp whipped in the in-swinging corner kick, Steve Birnbaum leapt above the crowd and headed the ball off the crossbar, and Espindola was quickest to react and poke home another rebound for a 2-0 lead.

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Man of the match: Fabian Espindola

Goalscorers: Espindola (39′, 54′), Saborio (88′, 90+1′)

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of MLS Cup Playoffs (so far)

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Don’t look now, but after last week’s knockout round games and the first legs of the conference semifinals on Sunday, we’re very nearly at the halfway point (47 percent, to be exact) of the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

This is the time of year where “big-game players” so often step up and will there side to victory, to advancement and in some instances, championships. We never have any clue who’s going to step up and show out once the playoffs begin, but it’s a chance for anyone and everyone to cement their status as a club legend with a strong showing in November and December.

[ LEG 1: DCU 0-1 RBNY | SEA 2-1 FCD | MTL 2-1 CLB | POR 0-0 VAN ]

Through on week of the 2015 playoffs, the following players have stood head and shoulders about the crowd: Patrice Bernier (two goals, one assist in two games), Andreas Ivanschitz (one goal, one assist in two games), Fabian Espindola (two assists in the knockout round) and Kendall Waston (one clean sheet in one game).

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive ]

MLS Team of the Week — MLS Cup playoffs (so far)

Goalkeeper: David Ousted (Vancouver Whitecaps)

MLS Goalkeeper

Defenders: Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Donny Toia (Montreal Impact), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Nat Borchers (Portland Timbers)

MLS Defenders

Midfielders: Patrice Bernier (Montreal Imapct), Andreas Ivanschitz (Seattle Sounders), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls)

MLS Midfielders

Forwards: Fabian Espindola (D.C. United), Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution)

MLS Forwards

MLS Snapshot: DC United 4-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less): That’s a little bit more like it, D.C. United. After snapping a six-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over New York City FC last week, Ben Olsen’s Black and Red thrashed the lowly, nothing-to-play-for Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium on Sunday, to the tune of 4-0, to make the Eastern Conference standings even more jumbled up (as if that was necessary) with one week of the 2015 regular season to be played. Chris Pontius, Bobby Boswell, Fabian Espindola and Alvaro Saborio provided the goals to put United on 51 points, one clear of Columbus Crew SC in the race for second (and the knockout round bye that comes with it). As if the entire season was scripted by MLS’s schedule makers, United and Crew SC face off next Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium.

[ MORE: East playoff scenarios | West | TFC 0-2 CLB | NE 0-1 MTL ]

Three moments that mattered

39′ — Pontius rounds Busch, makes it 1-0 — We haven’t seen these kind of wheels on Pontius since, oh, let’s say, the 2012 season, when he scored 12 times. Maybe it’s just for one play, but the explosion, the agility in tight spaces, the finish from practically the end line… it was all there from Pontius as he made it 1-0 for United.

67′ — Boswell heads home to make it 2-0 — When you’ve got a set-piece target the size of Boswell, you might as well use the guy. Espindola understands this very well, which is why he was happy to whip this corner kick to the edge of the six-yard box and let the veteran center back do the rest.

71′ — Espindola gets a deflection, makes it 3-0 — There’s really nothing Lovel Palmer could have done here. Sometimes you play decent enough defense, stick a foot in to block the cross and end up deflecting the ball past your own goalkeeper. It was a microcosm of the Fire’s 2015 season.

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Man of the match: Fabian Espindola

Goalscorers: Pontius (39′), Boswell, 67′), Espindola (71′), Saborio (80′)

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 2-0 DC United

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The game in 100 words (or less): The ground can’t be much further down for D.C. United, who are in total free-fall mode, can it? Ben Olsen’s side has now lost five of their last six (one draw) since winning the strangest game in MLS history back on Aug. 8. Back at the sight of their last victory, Stade Saputo in Montreal, United dropped three more points on Saturday, this time to the suddenly streaking Montreal Impact, by a final score of 2-0. Didier Drogba scored twice more for the Impact (WATCH HERE), bringing his tally to seven goals in six MLS appearances. Saturday’s win gives the Impact nine points from their last three games and extends their current unbeaten run to six games (four wins, two draws). Now just one points behind Toronto FC for fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a game in hand on every side currently within reach, L’Impact could very well host their knockout round playoff game next month.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Week 30 | Week 29 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

4′ — Drogba scores a stunning free kick — 30 yards, over the wall, past Bill Hamid, into the top corner… not a problem for Drogba. Not a problem at all. WATCH HERE

11′ — Drogba breaks ankles, makes it 2-0 — Turnover in midfield, Drogba picks the ball up near midfield, dribbles 50 yards, breaks Steve Birnbaum’s ankles and lifts the ball over Hamid… again, not a problem for Drogba. Not a problem at all. WATCH HERE

12′ — Bush’s double save thwarts Espindola, Rolfe — Much like that unlikely victory over the Impact last month, United had one real scoring chance on Saturday. Evan Bush made a strong double save to keep out Fabian Espindola’s powerful blast from wide left and smother Chris Rolfe’s follow-up right in front of goal.

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Man of the match: Didier Drogba

Goalscorers: Drogba (4′, 11′)