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MLS Observations

*Pablo Ricchetti's cheeky equalizer at Toronto:

*After sluggish attendance figures early in the season, it was nice to see these strong numbers: 20,272 in Toronto, 23,317 in Los Angeles and 28,746 in Seattle. On the flip side, defending champion Columbus is averaging 11,000 after two home dates, including just 7,465 on Saturday. Weather at kickoff was 49 degrees and clear.

*MLS Cup '08 update: Columbus and New York are a combined 0-4-5.

*Texas update: Dallas and Houston are a combined 0-5-3.

*Houston and New York combined for more yellow cards (six) than shots on goal (five) in the 0-0 tie. There were also two reds. Los Angeles and Chivas combined for more overall cards (seven yellow, three red) than shots on goal, although the nationally televised scoreless game between stadium-sharing rivals was great theater. Chicago and San Jose combined for six yellows (and a red), but also six goals.

*Who in the world are Alec Dufty and Ben Dragavon? Keep reading for more details.....

They are reserve goalkeepers who saw unexpected action Saturday after red cards to the starters exited.

Dufty -- an undrafted rookie from Evansville whose father played for San Jose in the NASL in 1975 -- replaced Danny Cepero (concussion) early for New York. Dragavon, who attended Division II Western Washington University and is an MLS pool goalie, came on in the first half for Seattle after Kasey Keller's red card for a handball outside the box. Keller will miss Saturday's trip to Chivas USA. Seattle's regular back-up, Chris Eylander, is injured.

*This week on ESPN2: New England at D.C. United, Friday, 7 p.m.

By Steve Goff  |  April 13, 2009; 11:16 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: United at White House


So, can we expect anything north of 12k for this very inconveniently timed match on Friday?

Posted by: the_slammer | April 13, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Reserve keeper from Evansville. Where have I heard that before?

Posted by: LostinPotomac | April 13, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse


Do Nationals fans complain about Friday night games? Or are you already trying to put out an excuse as to why United won't draw well this week?

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | April 13, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Re 7 o'clock inconvenient start, OK, advice wanted: My flight is due in at Dulles at 6:30 Friday. Is it worth it to go from there to RFK, or is that a fool's errand designed only to produce road rage en route as it gets later and later. Additional factors for consideration: Weather forecast for Friday is good, possibly (tantalizingly) making the drive quicker. Also, Mrs. Dccal can be in the car waiting at the airport for the pickup. The tickets are paid for and the parking pass for Lot 8 is ready for the rear-view mirror. Do I go or do I Tivo?

Posted by: dccal | April 13, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse


I wouldn't know if Nats fans complain, because I don't know any of the six of them (kidding). No, I was actually just curious as to whether our early season attendance woes are poised to continue or not - not attempting to make any excuse for them. I'll certainly be there.

@dccal - I doubt you make it to RFK before 8.

Posted by: the_slammer | April 13, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

assuming, and that is a big assumption, that you can get off the plane and into a vehicle quickly, it's a relatively straight shot to gw parkway south to 395. once you're in the car, you're looking at 40 minutes, assuming 66 doesn't kill you off the toll rd. I say go if you have a smart tag and don't mind missing the first 10-15 minutes.

Posted by: getanewnumber10 | April 13, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Take the Dulles Access Road - don't even think about using the Toll Road - exit onto the Beltway towards Bethesda, then the GW Parkway south to the 14th Street bridge, exit onto Independence Avenue straight to Lot 8.

Posted by: b18bolo | April 13, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Ask the pilot to drop you off at Andrews AFB. Should be a quick drive from there.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 13, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Dccal - It might be worth investigating dropping the car at an Orange Line Metro stop, and skipping the traffic. You'd be heading against the commuter flow, so I'd guess eastbound trains would move pretty quickly. Metro estimates 40 minutes from West Falls Church to Stadium-Armory.

Not sure which would be better, but it's another option.

Posted by: dcbird | April 13, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

dccal -- catch a flight to Reagan.

Posted by: Reignking | April 13, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

dccal- Do you own a parachute?

Posted by: DCUMD | April 13, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse


That 23k for LA-Chivas is bad! Both teams play at the stadium, and they can only draw 23k? That an average of 11,500 fans per team, which is NOT good (it probably wasn't exactly split down the middle, but I imagine it must have at least been close)!

So yes, Seattle and Toronto put up their usual good numbers, and Houston had almost 20k, but everyone else was crap! Not including San Jose, who sold out a 10,000 seat stadium (making it impossible to judge), the other teams had bleak showings: despite what the stats say, there were NOT 11,700 at Rio Tinto for RSL-United. Columbus... really? 7,000? I'm pretty sure some WPS games did better than that. Chivas-LA- we've already been through that.

Basically, 3 teams had good draws; three teams did awfully. Still, you are right, I suppose: it's much better than the first three weeks' attendance.

Posted by: kdiff813 | April 13, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

@dccal: Go for it!

Unless traffic is unusually bad, it should be under 45 minutes from Dulles to Lot 8. Take the access road (not the toll road!) which will move well until you merge with I66. (...20 minutes to go) Move to the left as soon as you can; it will be slow until about the Fairfax Drive exit so just chill. Exit onto 110 at Rosslyn, exit onto I395 (move left to avoid merging traffic), chill while you cross the bridge, bear right onto I295 and lot 8 awaits as you dash down the left lane.

Posted by: AlwaysBiking | April 13, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The Classico crowd was about 3-1 Galaxy, and while 23K is lower than other Galaxy-hosted ones, I'd hardly call it bleak. Also Columbus never draws in April (even in years with robust economies) and RSL was a 4PM start, so maybe you can turn down the panic a little bit, OK?

Posted by: EricB1 | April 13, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse


3-1 Galaxy is hardly consolation for two teams that share a stadium and supposedly consider each other great rivals not being able to sell out a 27,000-seat stadium.

I wouldn't call my comments "panic", just concern. Yes it is early. But I don't think we should be saying that this was a good week attendance-wise when we had four of the top attendance teams (LA, Houston, TFC, Seattle) at home, and the other three teams each draw less than 11,000. It isn't particularly impressive, and if LA, Houston, TFC, and Seattle weren't home (or at least 2 or 3 of them weren't), then I don't think anyone would be saying this was a good week.

It isn't awful, but it's certainly not a good week, which was what Goff suggested, and what I was trying to disprove. It really falls into the "blah" category.

Posted by: kdiff813 | April 13, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Just a minor correction, but Dufty did not play due to a red card to the starter. Cepero was knocked out (pretty much literally) due to injury.

Posted by: fedssocr | April 13, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't think spending a lot of time analyzing attendance this early in the season is worth much. Fans will come out as they have every year. Some markets are better than others.

How about the difference from last year in terms of the quality of play in the West, though? Seems like last season the West was pretty bad, but this season some teams in the West are playing quite well. That seems like a good change.

Posted by: hacksaw | April 13, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@dccal: don't take 66.

access to toll to 495 (or 123 if 495 is backed up) to gw to 395 N.

Posted by: gode | April 13, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@dccal: don't take 66.

access to toll to 495 (or 123 if 495 is backed up) to gw to 395 N.

Posted by: gode | April 13, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Re: driving to RFK from Dulles.

I live in Vienna and the trip takes 35 mins in no traffic (via Rt 50-Wash. Blvd-395-Lot 8) and that's almost always faster than taking 66-110-395. To get to RFK from Dulles, I'd think you've got to add 15 mins PLUS add Friday night traffic time (ie 66 will be a parking lot most of the way). I'd bet you wouldn't make it until after the 2nd half is underway. Don't forget, too, that just because your plane arrives at 6:30, doesn't mean you'll be leaving the airport at 6:35 (especially if you have checked baggage). You've got to wait for the shuttle and ride it to the main terminal which adds at least 8-10 minutes depending on how long the shuttle has to wait to fill up with people.

The choice is yours, of course, but unless you want to cap off an out-of-town trip with frustration on the road, I'd DVR if I were you. Although, once you get to the game you can release all that pent-up frustration, so maybe it IS worth it:-)

Posted by: DrBeaker | April 13, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

66E at the toll road merge is a much better bet Friday at 7:00pm than is 495N heading toward American Legion. Take 495N and it is a virtual lock to miss all of the first half. 123 is a million lights and verrrrry slow traffic Friday afternoons. Making it all the way to the Parkway along that stretch of 495 at that time is a likely traffic disaster.

Dulles Access to Dulles Toll to I66E to 110 South to Southwest Freeway to Lot 8.

Better yet get an earlier flight.

Better yet, as was stated above, fly into Reagan.

Posted by: Ron16 | April 13, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

dccal, remember that the game is on ESPN2 so it definitely not begin at 7. Probably more like 7:15-7:20 if i were to guess. You will be fine.

Posted by: abgcunited11 | April 13, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I think attendance should be pretty good. It is their "Night of Champions", so those teams that were finalists or champions of local tournaments have been offered tickets at pretty good prices. I know we are bringing a group of about 40 people on Friday. Even though we already have season tickets, we bought with the group and will just trade for another game.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | April 13, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

dccal, remember that the game is on ESPN2 so it definitely not begin at 7. Probably more like 7:15-7:20 if i were to guess. You will be fine.

Posted by: abgcunited11 | April 13, 2009 1:30 PM

I thought about that, too, but noticed that the game is scheduled for 7-9 (not 9:30). I think it'll start about 7:05-7:10. That difference will equal about 200 yrds of travel on 395:-)

Posted by: DrBeaker | April 13, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody found video footage of Keller's hand ball?

Posted by: bergamot | April 13, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Keller's hand ball was a very bad decision. I don't know if he lost track of where he was or if he just made a bone headed decision. I can't help with the video I saw it live. For somne reason MLS does not have the video highlights available for this game. I was trying to see the KC goal again but have been unable to find it.

Posted by: Redly | April 13, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Sounders/KC highlights are up on this page:

Definitely the right call on the Keller handball - boneheaded decision. Looked to be a pretty entertaining game, but it looks like the KC goal was pretty soft - keeper should have done better.

Posted by: the_slammer | April 13, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

23.5 K for any MLS game is pretty good for any game. Unless David Beckham were planning to drop his drawers for his thousands of squealing teenage fans. In which case he'd be in lots of trouble.

630 arrival time? If you get out of the airport quickly you might get to your seats in RFK in time for the 2nd half. Unless Beckham drops his drawers on the Dulles Toll Road.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 13, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Unless David Beckham were planning to drop his drawers for his thousands of squealing teenage fans...

Unless Beckham drops his drawers on the Dulles Toll Road.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 13, 2009 4:20 PM

Methinks someone has a crush (or a fantasy)!! :-)

Posted by: DrBeaker | April 13, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all contributors to the Dccal at Dulles discussion. I think the conclusion is to go for it. May miss some/much of the first half, but that was going to happen going home anyway, and the DVR will be set. Now to ponder the route proposals . . .

Re leaving earlier, flying into Reagan: I'm stuck at Duke U til 4, no exit available; the next flight from RDU to Reagan is at 6, arriving at 7, so not much gain potential there.

For all you frequent flyers who may not be aware of the coolest website in the world for assessing flight options, go here: (free service; registration required, if I recall). It's amazing.

Posted by: dccal | April 13, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why Keller's decision was bone-headed. He got ejected stopping a very solid goal-scoring opportunity. The Sounders just couldn't hang on for the 0-0 draw.

Posted by: glfrazier | April 13, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The attendance figures remind me just how much soccer fans in the US are still very much fair-weather fans. Love to see attendance when Sepp's dream of a Fall to Spring schedule is put in place.

Posted by: DrewROC | April 14, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

i liked Richetti's goal. Good to see someting come up for Dallas.

Posted by: Konoha7 | April 14, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

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