Take the good with the bad DC United fans – a new stadium in the works, but the very poor MLS campaign makes matters extremely difficult to find the bright side. Before looking at DC’s horrendous 1-2 defeat to the New England Revolution on Saturday night, midweek brought a moment of clarity and promise to the DC organization.
RFK Stadium, which was built in 1961 had previously been a brilliant spectacle for all fans in the DC area, especially those near and dear moments for the Washington Redskins fans – but those days are long gone. , DC United reached a “tentative agreement with the mayor of Washington, D.C. to develop a 20,000-seat soccer –specific stadium at Buzzard Point in Southwest Washington, not too far from Nationals Park” according to USA Today Sports. Now, whether or not this 20,000 capacity will ever be met at a DC United match remains to be seen, yet we certainly cannot knock the ambition from the struggling franchise.
Sounds like a great idea for the area, right? No. At the moment, DC United currently sport the 3rd lowest attendance marker in the MLS with just over 13,500 fans per match. Quite unsettling for a club with such rich tradition and history, but will this new era that seems to be ahead of the Black & Red bring in new changes to management? Well, with the project costing a ball-park number of $300 million to complete, I think I’d rather see DC United pull a Manchester City and invest in the club’s playing system and buy some of the best players in the world. Right, a bit too ambitious? Nevertheless, constructing a new stadium which would be soccer-specific would hopefully open up avenues for the DC area allowing old and new fans to flood the streets for every home match.
And that’s about as good as the good news gets because DC United lost another heartbreak to the Revs , 1-2. 21 matches played so far this season, 15 defeats to their name. From the beginning of the match it seemed to be DC’s night at RFK (finally!) however, Luis Silva’s goal was not enough for the hosts.
When Silva notched the early lead in the eighth minute from a beautifully placed ball by midfield standout, John Thorrington, the crowd erupted. The unfamiliar lead was not only a shock to those in attendance, but it seemed as if it were to the players as well. Unfortunately, Silva’s game opening goal would not be enough support to see the Black & Red through.
Not to knock Joe Willis who did save DC last season in the MLS Playoffs; however, he is no Bill Hamid. Hamid is currently away with the US Men’s National Team who faced off against Panama in the Gold Cup final (July 28th). Willis’ tentative approach in the box cost him early in the second half as Dimitry Imbongo leveled the match in the 54tg minute off a decent cross from Chris Tierney.
The early goal was all New England would need to propel them forward. Saer Sene continued to work the United defense, a defense which would break just about 10 minutes after conceding the first goal. This time, Sene’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar but the boy-wonder Diego Fagundez was able to head home the game-winner.
Post-match Ben Olsen was once again happy with the referee decisions as he was asked if DC should have been awarded penalty kicks on two occasions and told The Washington Post “Yeah, but I am not going to talk about them. I am going broke. I’ve got kids to feed.” When asked about his side’s performance against fifth-placed Rev’s he stated toDCUnited.com “I thought overall, though, it was a step in the right direction from last week.” Personally, it’s always hard to justify a loss especially when those losses are a weekly occurrence but, at least Olsen can be positive. Even though after his press conference break downs or apparent heated locker room discussions, the man has got to be frustrated to no end. Overall, Ben Olsen has done a good job over the past seasons regardless of the poor MLS campaign this year – hopefully he remains manager next season as well.
Apart from the match, Kevin Alston (native of Silver Spring, Md) was introduced to the match in the 84th minute – the defender had previously been diagnosed with leukemia in the spring. That aside, the feat in and of itself for Alston to step back onto the pitch in such a relatively short period of time was stunning, and stole the show. A beautiful moment made possible by a man who wouldn’t give up, and fought through the horrific news in the spring.
DC’s next match is August 3rd () at RFK Stadium where the Black & Red will face the Montreal Impact before their midweek clash with the Chicago Fire on August 7th. Vamos, United.
(image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images)