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Friday Kickaround

*D.C. United official injury report heading into tomorrow night's match at RFK against the Houston Dynamo: MF-D Devon McTavish (head laceration) is listed as doubtful; MF Santino Quaranta (hamstring strain) and GK Josh Wicks (hip flexor strain) are questionable; MF Fred (hamstring strain) and D Greg Janicki (head laceration) are probable. I will have more specific details from training later today.

*Columbus Crew GK Will Hesmer, on his attempted clearance that struck Robbie Findley and led to the second of the RSL forward's three goals in a 4-1 decision last night: "I just went to hit it and mis-hit it. That's the bottom line. This game's on me."

*The weather was downright awful in Salt Lake City last night, explaining, to some extent, the announced home-opening turnout of just 11,806, but shouldn't RSL have been able to sell more tickets well in advance of its first appearance this year at Rio Tinto? Read the full match report.

*With a bye week on the WPS schedule, the Washington Freedom will play the University of Virginia tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Maryland SoccerPlex to benefit KICKS Against Breast Cancer. Tickets are $10.

*Weather outlook for Freedom and United: Clear, windy, temps in the upper 50s.

*Subway outlook: Click here.

*Attendance outlook for DCU: Maybe mid-teens.

By Steve Goff  |  April 3, 2009; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , Freedom , MLS  
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Next: D.C. United News & Notes

Comments

so Crayton is off the list now, right?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | April 3, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe mid-teens"

I guess they'll take Metro, since they don't yet have drivers' licenses.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 3, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Wakawakawaka! :-)

Seriously, I hated the international match conflict last week, but I'm surprised MLS attendance has been this big of a nut kick so far. Really poor numbers.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 3, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

If Crayton doesn't get the start, then we've got a story...

Posted by: Reignking | April 3, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Um, hope we have a good walk-up?!?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 3, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Senor G

Any information on DC United's new football neighbor? Looks like the home opener coincides with the DC game this weekend.

http://www.dcarmor.com/

Posted by: yodawearsadidas | April 3, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The national MLS numbers in my opinion are tied to chilly weather. MLB numbers suffer similar problems early on due to chilly weather. The only sports Americans like to attend in the cold is football and now the annual hockey game but soccer and baseball will always suffer in the cold.

Locally, I think its weather and bad karma. Last season was a disaster and this year the stadium is putting a damper on all things United.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 3, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Fan turnout is listed as probable.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 3, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Who from Maryland and DC, if any, will be sitting with Victor and Will in the box?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 3, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'll give RSL a pass for their attendance number last night. It looked really, really cold there. Everybody as bubdled up with thick coats, scarves, blankets, etc. Personally I just won't go to a soccer game in the freezing cold anymore. I don't care who's playing. I'll go in 100+ degree heat, but cold, forget it. That cold Harbor View game a couple years ago was it for me.

Posted by: Ron16 | April 3, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Maybe mid-teens? Bummer....

I'll be there. Looks like I'll be able to stretch my feet out.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 3, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I sneaked into the mezzanine for the Harbour View game -- very toasty and a nice view, even from behind the goal. Did that during a rainy game in the summer, and found it oppressively warm in there.

Posted by: fischy | April 3, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Could McTavish and Janicki get sponsored by Staples?

Posted by: joedoc1 | April 3, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I just hope that Maryland and Prince Geourge's County legislators didn't have their TVs (accidentally?) tuned to ESPN2 at around 9:30 last night.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 3, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, let's get all worried about MLS attendance numbers by all means. It's not like there aren't economic problems that have baseball predicting a drop in revenue close to 10 percent or anything like that. It's not like people aren't losing their jobs. It's not like there haevn't been other sporting events - some of them significant ones involving soccer - competing for people's attention.

By all means, let's get worried now. The fact that MLS has re-signed four important sponsors is much less important than opening day attendance in Utah.

Posted by: beach3 | April 3, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Getting defensive and making excuses for poor attendance could cover up some changes that may help. If you just throw your hands up and say, "oh the economy!" - then you'll definitely fall prey to it. Struggling local teams like the Wizards and Nationals are cutting prices - maybe that would help? Though looking through Salt Lake's site they have some pretty good deals.

And it's not one game in Utah that's worrying. Attendance in Dallas, LA(!), DC and Houston was pretty poor.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 3, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

By all means, providing facts is "getting defensive and making excuses." Hey, if you want to extrapolate two weeks' worth of attendance into a gloom and doom scenario without looking at the underlying causes, knock yourself out.

That wasn't throwing my hands up, that was providing context. MLS health > attendance on its own. If you just look at attendances and don't look at sponsorship and investor activity, you fall prey to it.

MLS can't sit still, but fans need to have some perspective. I know that's hard for many US soccer fans who list Chicken Little as their hero, but it's the truth.

Posted by: beach3 | April 3, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

@beach3 -- To be honest, I see empty stadiums when I watch games on TV from all around the world. The EPL and Bundesliga are notable exceptions -- along with the usual suspects/top teams in Serie A, La Liga and Ligue Une. The difference is they earn lots of money from strong TV contracts. So does Major League Baseball. MLS depends a lot on gate receipts. Sure, we can make excuses for the low attendance, but it has to be a worrying trend. It didn't start this month. We're hoping for MLS to establish a firm foothold in the American sports consciousness. It's worrying when we see signs pointing to a decline -- that MLS may have been a fad for all but the real hard-core fans. Not giving up hope -- I'm hoping there will be a strong uptick after the next World Cup -- and hoping MLS invests in a few more big names that will get soccer fans to watch MLS live, and not just EPL on TV.

Posted by: fischy | April 3, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Houston's coach Dom Kinnear is suspended for the DC game. That is a positive.

What do you think? Should I start Crayton for my fantasy team?

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | April 3, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I've been starting Crayton on one of my teams and have gotten burnt two weekends in a row...

Posted by: DadRyan | April 3, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

More importantly should I bench Freddy Montero?

Posted by: DadRyan | April 3, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@beach3 -- To be honest, I see empty stadiums when I watch games on TV from all around the world. The EPL and Bundesliga are notable exceptions -- along with the usual suspects/top teams in Serie A, La Liga and Ligue Une. The difference is they earn lots of money from strong TV contracts. So does Major League Baseball. MLS depends a lot on gate receipts. Sure, we can make excuses for the low attendance, but it has to be a worrying trend. It didn't start this month. We're hoping for MLS to establish a firm foothold in the American sports consciousness. It's worrying when we see signs pointing to a decline -- that MLS may have been a fad for all but the real hard-core fans. Not giving up hope -- I'm hoping there will be a strong uptick after the next World Cup -- and hoping MLS invests in a few more big names that will get soccer fans to watch MLS live, and not just EPL on TV.

Posted by: fischy | April 3, 2009 1:10 PM

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

Yes, those leagues have TV contracts, which is why the SPONSORSHIPS that MLS is renewing. These are major companies making longer-term commitments with MLS in a difficult market. Yes, MLS is more dependent on gate receipts, but they had one of their best years last year and have welcomed a team packing its joint and people are freaking out after two weeks, especially when one of MLS' bread and butter customers - the younh groups - aren't the people buying tickets this time of year. That's illogical.

I'm not being Pollyana, just saying that the natural reaction of some fans to always assume the worst is silly right now. If attendance is like this in July - and it's really just about 5 percent down league-wide at this point - then maybe we can talk.

Posted by: beach3 | April 3, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Poor attendance may not be a reason for panic but it is definitely a reason for concern. Please don't try to tell me Garber is blowing off the early numbers. I believe the early numbers are more tied to weather and early season apathy but it is disturbing.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 4, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

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