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Early Friday Kickaround

On this Friday the 13th, we salute the six D.C. United players who have worn the No. 13 jersey:

Shawn Medved (1996)
Jose Alegria (2001-03)
Christian Gomez (2004)
Tim Merritt (2005)
Brad North (2007)
Ryan Miller (2008)


*The link to the print edition/post.com story about D.C. United's interest in Prince George's County for a badly needed stadium.

*The latest FIFA rankings were released Wednesday, with the USA moving up two slots this month to No. 20. Mexico is 24th. The top 11 remains the same.

*Reinier Alcantara, the Cuban forward who sought asylum during the national team's stay in Washington last fall, was released last week by Chivas USA. I have not heard whether he has resurfaced in another MLS camp or has turned to the USL for a job.

*Soccer on TV today:
Germany, Hoffenheim-Bayer Leverkusen 2:30 p.m. GolTV

*The USL2 schedule is set for the nine third-division clubs, including Real Maryland and Crystal Palace USA. The season runs from April 17 to Aug. 29.

*CBS's "Survivor" returned last night in Brazil with a slight soccer angle: Contestant Ben Wade, the women's coach at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri. For his complete bio, click here. Might he be the next Ethan Zohn?

By Steve Goff  |  February 13, 2009; 12:33 AM ET
Categories:  College Soccer , D.C. United , FIFA , MLS , TV , USL  
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Next: Video: Copa Libertadores

Comments

According to Jose Romero at the Seattle Times Alcantara resurfaced at the Sounders camp in California, but not as a player. He was evidently just visiting his compatriot.

Posted by: Wendell_Gee | February 13, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Goff, How many miles is this new stadium going to be up in Md? We are Virginia fans who live pretty far away from where we go now.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | February 13, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

VirginiaFan, if you read the article they say that there are three locations being considered. Nothing has been finalized yet. That's why people getting their panties all bunched up is comical.

Doesn't United come home today and gets reaquainted with Christian Gomez?

Posted by: CHICO13 | February 13, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

@anyone named Jason: please don't post today. You'll creep everyone out.

Medved may be one of the all-time unsung heroes for United. His goal in the '96 final made Eddie Pope's game-winner possible.

And who would have thunk that now he'd be president of Russia?

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 13, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I haven't looked at those rankings in a while. Wow, is that silly....

Posted by: JkR- | February 13, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Goffer I am interested to get your reaction to the stadium news. I'd also love to hear your take on the reaction of the readers of your blog and fans of the team.

I'm kind of surprised at how many people are upset and don't understand the business ramifications of staying at RFK.

Posted by: mellon02 | February 13, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I find the reaction by many fans rather astounding.

Consider the situation:
DCU is DESPERATE for a new stadium.
RFK is a dump, physically and financially.
DCU tried for two years and spent millions trying to reach a deal with the city. Enough is enough. Maryland and PG County WANT them.
DCU has committed to finding a Maryland location near a Metro station. Morgan Blvd. and Largo Town Center are within an additional 15 minutes on the subway from RFK. (True fans are really going to stop going to games because of that? Really?)
While Virginia fans will have to spend a bit more time getting to a new stadium in Maryland, those in the Annapolis, Baltimore and Howard County areas who have shied from coming into the city for soccer might find the new location more appealing and, in theory, widen United's fan base.

Just a few initial thoughts.....

Posted by: Steve Goff | February 13, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

"And who would have thunk that now he'd be president of Russia?" -- simply awesome

"I'm kind of surprised at how many people are upset and don't understand the business ramifications of staying at RFK." -- United fans want it all, simply put.

We'd love the same easy access (MD/VA/DC) that we get with RFK, and we've heard woeful tales of Virginians spending ages getting to FedEx Field, and we are wary of playing that game.

With that, United are (I think) being pragmatic in terms of creating momentum of some sort. They *have to* get out of the present situation @ RFK, and the only solution seen so far is to move and set up shop in "our own" place. If PG is where that place ends up, it still works out financially for MacF and Co.

As for us fans, there will be an adjustment, sure, but we'll be happy to have a place to call our own, and we'll make do. One requirement: sufficient tailgate space...

Posted by: 22206no1 | February 13, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

. . . . of course, if The Vic really thinks Maryland is going to pick up 75% of the cost, this is a long long way from a done deal. On closer read, it sounds more like DCU and PG are in agreement that if someone else pays for it, they'd love to have a new stadium . . . . This is a tough sell given the budget situation in MD . . . . unless of course the plan is to pay for it with 10,000 slot machines at the stadium . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | February 13, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I think Mr. Goff is right in his point that the Eastern Maryland fan might come to the new stadium but for that same reason those fans from the western counties in Virginia that used to come might not anymore.

For me it is more economic reasons, just can't afford season tickets so I'll come to maybe one or two games a year if it works out.

I just hope what happened to the Redskins won't happen, and I know there are differences in it but it is a real shame that United has to move out of the city. A stadium on the river would have been grand.

Posted by: zzlive4soccerzz | February 13, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your thoughts Steve. Wasn't there also an article (maybe it was a Q&A) you wrote a while ago where Kevin Payne mentioned how Annapolis was a market they were hoping to develop? Wouldn't this be a perfect way to do that? Not to mention Baltimore.

Posted by: mellon02 | February 13, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

This should be just as successful as the Redskin experiment.

Posted by: Hoost | February 13, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

You mean the same Redkins experiment that packs in 90,000 fans a game? I sure hope so....

Posted by: CHICO13 | February 13, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth (knowing that the World Rankings mean nothing), just note the difference in FIFA's World Rankings for the two Confederations Cup groups.

Group 1
4. Italy
5. Brazil
20. USA
30. Egypt

AVG - 14.75

----------------------

Group 2
1. Spain
70. South Africa
82. New Zealand
85. Iraq

AVG - 59.5

What on earth is the point of Spain playing in these matches? I mean, seriously, the sum of World Rankings in the first group is still less than the average world ranking of the second! Pathetic.

Given the extreme differences between the two groups, I'm so glad we've got Brazil, Italy, and Egypt. At least that's a World Cup calibre group. Even if we lose all three we've learned something. If Spain wins all of theirs, what does that tell them? (Granted, they'll still end up playing Italy and Brazil later (most likely).

Posted by: TCompton | February 13, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Macfarlane & Co probably aren't overjoyed about this either -- remember, they wanted to profit not only from a new stadium, but surrounding development.

Posted by: Reignking | February 13, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

It's silly to compare the problems Virginia drivers have coming to FedEx field with coming to a new SSS near Largo. In partiular, it's silly to compare getting 90,000 fans into their seats to 20,000. I really don't expect travel horror stories for Virginia fans of DCU.

Posted by: b18bolo | February 13, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

FIFA did all it could to help South Africa advance.

Posted by: Reignking | February 13, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

From the fine print of the article:

"[MacFarlane] told Prince George's senators that the team is looking at three sites for the stadium in the county. One is at the Morgan Boulevard Metro Station, owned by Metro, and a second is at the same station, owned by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. A third site in Largo is also under consideration, he said.

"After the hearing, a spokesman for the team said that, in fact, seven sites are under consideration in the county, including five at or near Metro stations, and that the team expects to announce its selection in 30 to 60 days.

"He would not specify the other locations."

So it's not necessarily at a Metro stop.

Posted by: benonthehill | February 13, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Macfarlane & Co probably aren't overjoyed about this either -- remember, they wanted to profit not only from a new stadium, but surrounding development.

Posted by: Reignking | February 13, 2009 9:22 AM
_________________________________________

Here's a snippet from the article:

"Meeting with state senators from Prince George's in Annapolis, Victor MacFarlane said the team wants to build a 24,000-seat 'urban stadium' in the county that would be the center of a mixed-use development project."

Posted by: universityandpark | February 13, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Look - I'll give up my anti-Maryland rant (Well not really because I despise the whole state and everything about it) but if the club moves out there and gets a good home fine.

Here's my list of demands to keep the duct tape over my mouth:

1) NO STAGE!

2) DON"T GO CHEAP

3) Take the plans from VW Arena from Vfl Wolfsburg or Hoffenheim's new park

4) Don't make it look it was built with Lincoln Logs or an Erector Set

4) If it resembles ANYTHING already built I'll go nuts.

5) Treat it as hollowed ground - no X Games - no summer concert series that requires re-sodding - no turf - No MD HS Football - No MD Lacrosse - in fact, I want the field on a tray like Phoenix so we can slide it out of the way when O.A.R. or whomever trashes the place one summer.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 13, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

At least 2 of those things might happen.

Posted by: Section117 | February 13, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Treat it as hollowed ground

============================

build it in a cave?

Posted by: OWNTF | February 13, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

To follow up on my earlier post, I'm assuming that MacFarlane will be involved in any surrounding mixed-use development. Is this not correct?

Posted by: universityandpark | February 13, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

As to demand five, it will be so treated if the stadium is built as several have been by digging the field level down, enabling many of the stands to be poured in place rather than erected... :-)

Posted by: seahawkdad | February 13, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree it's not much of a travel difference for Metro riders. Drivers are the big unknown.

Weeknight games for Va. drivers, oy ve...

Posted by: JkR- | February 13, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

When comparing FedEx to a "new DCU stadium" you must consider the number of people. The proposed DCU stadium will hold less than one-third the people as FedEx. That is A LOT less people, and with less people you get less traffic. Also consider the ownership. DCU's seems to care a lot more about fan experience than Snyder. Snyder just cares about where he is on Forbes list of the most valuable sports franchises.

Also, if you look at the number of "fans" from VA that would stop going to DCU games because of a 15 to 20 minute longer drive compared to the number of new fans that would attend the games from MD, the result is a net gain. In DCU's opinion, that is a good thing.

Lastly, so many people from VA still go to Deadskins games at FedEx. If you are a true fan, you will drive 15 to 20 minutes longer. If that is too much for you, then good riddance. You were bringing the team down anyways! Would you rather have no team to root for/watch?


Posted by: therealfootball | February 13, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

universitypark: good catch...but I'm hesitant to think, at this point, how successful something like that could be...

Posted by: Reignking | February 13, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

What pisses me off is that a Poplar Point stadium would have been the PREMIERE soccer stadium in the country.

Think Fenway, Wrigley, Wembley, Camp Nou . . .

Now, it's just another suburban stadium and one that will likely prevent me from going to weeknight games.

As it has been for a long time, people in VA have to scramble to make weeknight games after work, particularly driving from Falls Church/Arlington . . . yeah, yeah, Metro is great and all but we all know that if you don't live on a line . . it often is too much of a headache and adds loads of time to a trip.

Posted by: delantero | February 13, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Uh, yeah, try and sell that to PG County . . or any county/city . .

"5) Treat it as hollowed ground - no X Games - no summer concert series that requires re-sodding - no turf - No MD HS Football - No MD Lacrosse - in fact,"

Posted by: delantero | February 13, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@OWNTF,

You got me!

Although - hollow ground and bouncing stands probably don't go together...

Better check with some engineers

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 13, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It's not too difficult to get an idea of what United wants to build... look at the pictures from their earlier Poplar Point plans.

It will most likely have a stage at one end*... which will probably allow for removable "bouncing" seats. It may have a hotel/conference center attached to it allowing for rooms/premium seats connected.

I think I remember hearing Payne saying they wanted the seating to be steeper than the artists drawings, but you can generally get an idea of what they're looking to build.

*It doesn't make sense financially to forgo the stage. It's a source of revenue that the ownership will consider an advantage to owning the stadium.

Posted by: TCompton | February 13, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Non-soccer events, of course, will be held at a new stadium. You really think 20-25 games a year is going to make money for DCU/MacFarlane/PG/Maryland?


Posted by: Steve Goff | February 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

This is not an analogous situation to FedEx. There'll be less traffic. And traffic is really the LEAST of FedEx's problems. The problem is it was a hastily built stadium, it's a costly stadium, and frankly, our Redskins have stunk for the last near two decades.

Posted by: NattyBo1985 | February 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Three questions for all the naysayers/doomsday predictors.....

1) Of the three locations mentioned which one has been picked? How do you know if it's near a Metro stop and how the commute will be?

2) If you owned DC United where in the District would you build the stadium?

3) What City Council member or person in the Mayors office can you count on for support? Marion Barry doesn't count.

Answer those and maybe we can move forward...

Posted by: CHICO13 | February 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

============================

build it in a cave?

Posted by: OWNTF | February 13, 2009 9:47 AM
------------------------------------

That would probably be the best home field advantage in the world. Could you imagine a stadium (partially) enclosed by a cavern. The noise levels would be amazing.

Posted by: TCompton | February 13, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

While Virginia fans will have to spend a bit more time getting to a new stadium in Maryland, those in the Annapolis, Baltimore and Howard County areas who have shied from coming into the city for soccer might find the new location more appealing and, in theory, widen United's fan base.

Posted by: Steve Goff | February 13, 2009 8:45 AM
_________________________________________

This is certainly true with respect to Annapolis, but is the new site going to be much more attractive for people living along the I-95/B-W Pkwy corridor? RFK is near Kenilworth Ave./I-295 (as is Poplar Point, for that matter). Taking the Beltway to Largo may not be any worse than going to RFK, but it isn't much better, so it is unclear that they will attract many fans from Howard, Ballmer, etc., that aren't already coming to RFK. The article refers to several other possible sites. Is there still any hope for College Park/Greenbelt/New Carrollton?

Also, there will be likely be some sort of local opposition, based on either NIMBY sentiments or concerns about the level of public subsidies (or both), no matter what site is picked. Whether that develops into a signficant factor depends on the site, and is anyone's guess at this point.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 13, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Soccer America reports that on Wednesday BSPN2 got a record audience for a WCQ telecast (1.2 million average), and that Univision got an audience about five times larger.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 13, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

OH

and demand 6)

6) SWEET press area for Mr. Goff to Blog and write away!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 13, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

build it in a cave?

Posted by: OWNTF | February 13, 2009 9:47 AM
------------------------------------

That would probably be the best home field advantage in the world. Could you imagine a stadium (partially) enclosed by a cavern. The noise levels would be amazing.

Posted by: TCompton | February 13, 2009 10:12 AM

====================

And it would suit Coach (Caveman) Olson as well.

Posted by: OWNTF | February 13, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

We are drivers. All I wanted to know was approximately how far all these sites are from Fairfax.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | February 13, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Joe Doc: Good memory on Medved. The Jason thing cracked me up. You're a real cut-up.

VBB: I assume #2 includes good beer from clean taps.

I think DC will tap into the huge NASA fan base - astronomers are really interested in the aerodynamics of the ball, especially on windy days.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 13, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Think Fenway, Wrigley, Wembley, Camp Nou"

Wembley ain't exactly downtown London.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 13, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

There's no way this will not be built near a Metro station. How's that for a double negative? These guys are smart enough to know a public transit link is a must.

I drive now from Ballston because it is pretty fast in and out of the stadium for me. I would probably get back on the train for the new stadium.

I wonder how much more expensive the tickets are going to end up being.

Posted by: fedssocr | February 13, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

If we want hollowed ground, I think digging a big ditch would suffice. Caves aren't needed.

Other random thought -- I wrote yesterday how I often go to Morgan Blvd. Metro, instead of 295 to RFK. It is easier and more attractive for those coming from Baltimore/Howard, especially leaving. Not much, but a little I think it would pull in new fans from the north and east who are reluctant to go into the city.

And, as has been said, it's silly to fear Fed-Ex sized traffic jams. Squeezing 75,000 tailgaters onto Landover Rd. does cause big back-ups. The 8-10,000 tailgaters for DCU? Not so much. But, you can always take Metro. I do take Metro to almost every game at RFK. As do many, if not most DCU fans.

The size of the stadium? I'd prefer something a tad bigger, but outside of the Beckham games, how many crowds has DCU had bigger than 24,000? They want to sell seats -- if fans are forced to buy season's tickets to guarantee seats, that's what DCU wants.

Those waxing nostalgic about some shimmering palace along the Anacostia-- talk about a bad neighborhood. Would you really go more often to a soccer stadium that's got a nice river view? It ain't baseball. The action's on the field, and it doesn't stop except for halftime.

I suppose I'd prefer Poplar Point, but that's just not going to happen in the near future. DCU can't go on at RFK come up with the money to sign the next DP.

Posted by: fischy | February 13, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The soccer stadium can't exist as a shrine, the concerts and other sports events are a necessity for the financials to make any sense.

Admittedly, I wouldn't count on the Bayhawks though. The MLL may not be stable enough to make it another few years.

Posted by: evwill | February 13, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

On other topics: Today is Beckham deadline day, per Don Garber anyway. While they're probably just going to work in Carson Calif., the sun is setting in Italy. Kinda makes it hard to work out such a deal under deadline. Does this mean Becks is going to have to get psyched up for another miserable season in LA?

Posted by: fischy | February 13, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I can see the new stadium hosting ACC championships in men's and women's soccer and lacrosse, men's and women's NCAA DI soccer championships, and women's NCAA lacrosse champonships. (Men's NCAA LAX finals require a large pointyball stadium.) I have a feeling that Hendricks will not be moving the Freedom (assuming WPS outlives MLL), although there may be the occasional twin bill.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 13, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I love RFK but this is good news. For a driver, getting to - and certainly leaving - either of these proposed sites is probably way better than Poplar Point. Adequate parking is an issue. To me McF's Poplar Point plan seemed more about cashing in on other developments than just the stadium etc. For metro riders the PG sites add just another 10-15 minutes or so. It has to be a multi-purpose stadium, soccer first but it cannot be exclusive. Hopefully the design will allow for future stadium expansion.

Once it is built, I'm going to start rooting for a No VA expansion team. A little cross-town / inter-state rivalry (in a region that cares, unlike LA) could really bring soccer to the fore.

Posted by: oz4dcu | February 13, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

No to: Craft fairs, dog shows, home and garden exhibits, renaissance fairs, tractor pulls, monster trucks, wrestling, UFC, CFC, and KFC.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 13, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

No to: Craft fairs, dog shows, home and garden exhibits, renaissance fairs, tractor pulls, monster trucks, wrestling, UFC, CFC, and KFC.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 13, 2009 11:46 AM

Think Home Depot Center. I'm pretty sure most of these new stadiums end up housing events like these. Well, maybe not KFC. : )

Posted by: Hoost | February 13, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

How about Molly Hatchet?

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 13, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Molly Htachet? You're flirtin' with disaster....

Posted by: CHICO13 | February 13, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | February 13, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

VirginiaFan:

I don't think anyone knows the exact tracts of land (which are probably huge, wink wink nudge nudge); we just know that they've vaguely around the Metro stops at Morgan Blvd and Largo Town Center.

You'll probably get a better answer searching yourself on Google Maps.

***

I think VBB and I are the two extremes when it comes to the great state of Maryland and ugh...Virginia. It warms my heart to know that, despite these irreconcilable differences, we can find some common ground concerning United.

I'd love for that list of demands to work out, but some are just not going to happen. Rather than taking plans from an existing stadium, I'd rather the team get an accomplished stadium architect to give us something truly original (if that's affordable; I have no idea what that would run, and probably don't want to know. It's more fun spending MacFarlane's money). However, there will almost certainly be a stage, concerts, and probably local high school sports. Then again, those events are already played in other places (Byrd Stadium, for example), so I doubt there would be overkill.

No matter what people think of Payne, he's always made sure the fans have a strong voice in the in-stadium experience (otherwise, the loud side would not be the loose enforcement wonderland it is today). As long as he's involved with the club, I'm confident that any stadium we call home will be a good place to watch a game as a DCU supporter.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 13, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

It's not the traffic to fedex that makes me hate it (and think poorly of morgan blvd). I always take the metro out there. In general fedex just sucks (and it makes me think poorly of the area). if the stadium is actually close to the metro (and not the mile or more fedex is)i might go. but i really hate the area (because of fedex) and there is nothing around it. poplar point would have been a more or less blank slate. morgan blvd though is coming in with bad perceptions (because of fedex).

the big irony is that if it's built near morgan blvd and is successful then dannyboy might be able to get a decent return on the land for fedex thus helping them move back to the rfk area.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | February 13, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Once it is built, I'm going to start rooting for a No VA expansion team. A little cross-town / inter-state rivalry (in a region that cares, unlike LA) could really bring soccer to the fore.

=======

What to call that team?
Nova FC?

Posted by: mason08 | February 13, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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