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Monday Kickaround

*The USA's bid to finish atop its U-20 World Cup group for the fourth straight time will not come easy. Sunday's draw stuck the Americans with Germany, Cameroon and South Korea in this fall's tournament in Egypt. See all the groups. "We have definitely been drawn into a strong group, perhaps the strongest of the tournament," Coach Thomas Rongen said.

*Highlights of Bruce Arena's news conference following the Galaxy's 3-2 home loss to Colorado:

-- "Our performance was terrible"
-- "Incredible number of mental mistakes"
-- "I'm embarrassed for our fans and our organization"
-- "It's a poor performance and I take the responsibility for it"
-- "I can't tell you how disappointed I am"

*2008 MLS Cup finalists Columbus and New York are a combined 0-4-3 with five goals scored and 13 conceded.

*The two Texas clubs, Houston and Dallas, are 0-5-1 total.

*Chivas USA is off to its best start ever (3-0-0).

*Seattle hasn't allowed a goal in, um, franchise history.

*A USL1 preview.

*Through 22 games, MLS is averaging a respectable 14,696 spectators. But if you remove Seattle's 30,536 figure, the league count drops to 13,100. Attendance standard-bearers Los Angeles and D.C. are at 17,361 and 14,245 respectively after attracting 26,009 and 19,835 last year. Yes, it's too early to pass judgement and the Beckham factor won't kick in until July. Nonetheless.....

*FYI, barring urgent news, the Insider will be away today and won't resume operations until Tuesday morning.

By Steve Goff  |  April 6, 2009; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  MLS , Poll , U.S. men's national team , USL  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Americans Abroad
Next: Tuesday Kickaround

Comments

I voted the economy and marketing. Save for what I've seen around Seattle, I'm not sure other teams are putting forth the media blitz. Pulling the purse strings tighter and hoping to spend wisely to attract beyond the core.

MLS season ticket packages were bought well after Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi took over the economy. So it and MLB will be the first leagues affected from a season ticket perspective. The NBA already has had it's issues with the day of game sales.

However, this could be the first season where fans thank single entity and the salary cap for helping the league weather the storm.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 6, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

F. All of the above

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"But if you remove Seattle's 30,536 figure, the league count drops to 13,100."

Would you remove the Yankees or Red Sox from a calculation of MLB? Probably not.

It also irks me when people take away the Beckham game(s) to prove lower numbers. In the NBA would you also take away the Michael Jordan game or how about when LeBron comes to town . . .?

Posted by: delantero | April 6, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

DC's excuse:

Economy + early start to season + wanting to move away from its major fanbase (VA) = smaller crowds

LA's excuse:

Suck + terrible + AC Milan = smaller crowds

Posted by: Hoost | April 6, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I think there is some (very slight) Beckham factor. The biggest story of the off-season was his wanting to all but bail on MLS. The league has lost the implicit endorsement from its most marketable star (even though he says how much he loves the league).

Now as everyday followers that might seem trivial. But it can be seen as a small loss of face (literally) to the casual attendee - and the mainstream media.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The NBA also doesn't use different venues to accommodate larger crowds, delantero. With RFK, United could pull a number that is triple their regular attendance. Although there are ticket packages and bundles, it's fair to take out an outlier to get a better idea of the regular attendance. The same applies to team averages. I wouldn't hesitate to drop Kansas City or San Jose either.

Posted by: sitruc | April 6, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see an article which touches on DC United's ticket prices, which as I understand are the highest in the league save L.A. I think the economy, the ticket price and DC's quality over the past couple of seasons are behind our attendance slide.

Posted by: rick1977 | April 6, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't hesitate to drop Kansas City or San Jose either.

Posted by: sitruc | April 6, 2009 9:43 AM

Those teams chose to play in smaller venues. That's a reflection of the league's estimates on attendance - they should (of course) be counted. Though they generally fill those stadiums - if they wanted/expected a bigger attendance they would make sure to play their matches in larger venues. When San Jose play at Oakland Alameda, that rightfully gets applies to their home average.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Unrelated morning note: good match on ESPN360 today. Birmingham v Wolves, 2:45 ET kickoff. West Midlands derby between the top two Championship sides.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Here is a nice article that mentions attendance for the local football team.

Of course, the result wasn't really what mattered. The size of the crowd was, and Armor owner/general manager/chief investor Corey Barnette proclaimed the evening "an overwhelming success" because 2,114 paying customers attended.
The biggest culprit, however, might have been the AIFA schedule maker. While the Armor labored mightily Saturday night, D.C. United was booting a soccer ball across the street at RFK Stadium. Elsewhere in town, the Nationals and Wizards were playing, and Cherry Blossom events were unfolding. Plus, the Final Four semifinals were on TV. Under the circumstances, it wouldn't have been surprising had the Armor drawn 214 spectators rather than 2,114.

"That's a heck of a lineup to go against," Barnette admitted ruefully, "and there's an educational process where indoor football is concerned. But our games will be on TV [later each week on WJLA Channel 7], and I'd feel good if we could average a solid 4,000 for the season."

Posted by: sitruc | April 6, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

agreed that all of the above are factors, but the weather in March is so typically poor that this should be another reminder to those who think we could move to a Aug-May FIFA calendar. No way...attendance would get hammered. mid-March is as early as possible of a start.

Posted by: paul63 | April 6, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I would have voted for the economy twice. Lets not forget that some people simply can't afford to attend games as much (or at all). If DCU starts to add up the wins, more people will come to games, but until then, what is the draw?

While I hate to admit it, I think there are some VA fans that will not go to games because the team is considering moving to MD. I don't think I would do that in the same situation, but I don't speak for everyone.

It sucks, because DCU may have a nice young team this year and people will miss out on what could be an exciting year.

Posted by: therealfootball | April 6, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

* "It's the economy, stupid." James Carville

* "Weather" is a subset of "Early start of the season."

* Seattle's attendance data are valid, unlike those of MLS/Eurofriendly double-headers.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 6, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Remember the cartoon with Calvin yelling, "Ice cold lemonade! Ten dollars a glass!"?

And as I recall, he was arguing with Hobbes about having to raise the price since no one was buying and therefore he wasn't making any money.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | April 6, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Look, there's other stuff to do right now in DC. Attendance will go up. As soon as basketball ends tonight, and the blossom festival ends. You people are just negative. No one that truly supports this team is going to stop coming to the stadium because they are trying to plan a move in 2 years. That is absurd!

And if you do stop coming then what were you doing in the past? Oh, I believe that's called being a fair weather fan. Now man up and support the best thing that ever gave you joy.

Posted by: SexyOffender | April 6, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I think early start to the season means that it conflicts with that little basketball tournament which has had a detrimental effect.

For sure the economy is number 1. People are hunkering down and rightly so.

Posted by: fedssocr | April 6, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Thats an interesting nugget about ticket prices rick1977. I was pretty disapointed to see that the "cheap seats" I usually purchase had gone up to $22, especially after the disaster that was last season. That a sizeable increase to the casual fan, especially if they bring their family to the game. I wouldn't doubt that the increased ticket price is at least partially responsible for DCU's slightly lackluster attendance so far. Of course it couldn't just be that we've had 2 games in rainy/cold weather. that would make too much sense.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 6, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Economy and marketing - the other things will take care of themselves to some extent. Here in DC the issues are in sharp relief; is it me or has DCU's PR operation completely disappeared since their last championship?

Even worse, the game day experience for fans seems to be the organization's last priority. Now in the second year since baseball moved out, they haven't even restored the seating bowl. Rather than restore the cheapest (and best) seats in the house, at the north and south ends, the north end is now a showroom for their chief sponsor - leaving fans with a choice of poor, obstructed views from the west, or getting doused with beer or smoke bombs on the east side. That in a nutshell demonstrates what DCU's priorities are.

Of course, they won't invest anything in improving RFK because they want a new stadium.

I don't think discussing a move affects the fan base as much as the notion that a new stadium is the be-all end-all of their existence in DC, and the team's own relentless insistence that RFK sucks. Especially since - brace yourselves - no-one is going to build them a new stadium. Period. And they don't need a new stadium to succeed, period.

Be honest: as a public official, outside investor, or developer, any one of you here would respond to their proposals the same way, i.e. let's wait and see if you still have a league in five years, before I fork over that 200 mil. That's what DCU & MLS should be focused on instead of taking their fan base for granted to impress politicians and others even less easily impressed.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | April 6, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

all this gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over MLS/DC attendance numbers (by Goff and others) is already growing tiresome. it's 3 games. in late-March/early-April. the weather sucks this time of year. and MLS is up against the NCAA tournaments, World Cup qualifying, lots of huge games in the Euro leagues, the debut of WPS, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, the Masters, the Frozen Four, ad nauseum. it's a crowded time of the year calendar-wise.

one of the reasons they play the schedule they do is to take advantage of the quieter time during May-September. that's a time when WCQ may actually help, since it will be keeping futbol more in the forefront of the collective consciousness. throw in Beckham's swan song and i bet things end up not too far from where they were.

i was going to get in to a whole thing about the stadium as well, but that has been covered to death here and elsewhere. suffice to say that the D.C. area is one place where the economy is doing better than most thanks to government, so the idea that St. Louis is somehow a more attractive market overall is pretty ridiculous. i understand that control over stadium revenues is hugely important, but there are ways for that to be resolved that don't include a $250M stadium that requires significant public funding to subsidize the investment of a couple of millionaires.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | April 6, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

United home attendance on Final Four night last season... 20,161. Weather: Partly Cloudy - 61 degrees.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about the economy question because I bought my season tickets before I lost my job so DCU games are about the only place I am going out to now.

Posted by: colheights1 | April 6, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey folks getting buy one/get one free ticket vouchers from United Drives is fun and easy! Seriously, as the ticket prices go up, the value of the vouchers increases. Just ask not to be seated with visiting fans!;-)
http://www.dcunited.com/community/united-drives

You can use the voucher for the same day you donate, you just have to take it up to will call and they'll ask you where you'd like to sit. I went with my buddy and we both threw down $15 for our $30 tix. If you check out the link, it's got the full schedule of donations. I even noticed that they were still taking children's books from last month's drive.

It's an easy way to cut your ticket price, and help someone less fortunate. Win/Win situation in my book, and I always feel good about it afterward. Sometimes they'll even give you extra vouchers if you bring a lot of stuff. Keep in mind they'll hook you up even for a small donation. I'm really surprised more people don't do this on match day.


Posted by: DadRyan | April 6, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Thats an interesting nugget about ticket prices rick1977. I was pretty disapointed to see that the "cheap seats" I usually purchase had gone up to $22, especially after the disaster that was last season. That a sizeable increase to the casual fan, especially if they bring their family to the game. I wouldn't doubt that the increased ticket price is at least partially responsible for DCU's slightly lackluster attendance so far.
Posted by: VTUnited | April 6, 2009 10:55 AM

Actually, the increase in ticket prices from 2008-2009 was an average 6% across the board. The major increase was between 2007-2008 when the increase was 13% (compared to 12% between 2006-2007). No ticket went up over 8% in price this year. So it's not the ticket prices keeping fans away. It's the fact we missed the playoffs, had a crap closed season in 2008 that brought in the Million Dollar Donut and all the rest of the chattel. Not to mention this team isn't going to be playing in RFK for too much longer, let alone the DC area. The bad economy, the Caps doing well, three (or four) teams playing on the same night, you name it. I myself did not renew my season tickets (although I've been to both games) as a show of my lack of faith in this team and it's coaching and technical staff. Prove me wrong, Tommy.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | April 6, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Godfather_of_Goals - I believe after the Nats left, it was decided by the DCSEC or whatever that they would not put the temp seats back up. and correct me if Im wrong, but there were never seats on the South side.

and knock it off with the "see if you have a league in 5 years" noise. that type of misguided attitude is why that opinion is still around for public officials to hide behind. MLS is here to stay.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 6, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"*Through 22 games, MLS is averaging a respectable 14,696 spectators."

"Why is MLS struggling at the box office? (Pick two.)"

So, is the 14,696 average "respectable" or is MLS "struggling"?

Can it be both?

I'd say it is respectable, but yes, they are "struggling" to match last year's (and previous years') pace in terms of selling tickets and getting people into stadium seats. But I think there are a few obvious factors that could be leading to the current crowd sizes in 2009 for MLS.

I think it will be interesting to keep an eye on MLB this season as well (since they run concurrently from April-Oct) to look for attendance trends (% gain or lost) and factors facing/limiting sports ticket-buyers this year.

Posted by: tab5g1 | April 6, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

It's the Economy, Stupid! (and a whole bunch of other factors as well)

For DC specifically, attendance is suffering because of:

- missing the playoffs last season
- Management bungling their stadium chances
- cherry blossoms/final four
- early spring weather
- Management's Gallardo goose-egg!

I expect as fans get into the swing of things attendance will pick-up, and winning a few games won't hurt either.

It would be nice to have a DC United fan "bailout." Cheaper day-of-game seats and reduced packages that include parking and/or concessions. Whether it's attendance figures or revenue, dropping the ticket price makes sense. Empty seats aren't good for television, attendance figs., atmosphere or revenue.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | April 6, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Its simple no conspiracy, its the ECONOMOY, we have not had these figures since the rongen era. We need to stop trying to compare it with basketball, or throwball. Instead as United fans we should help other non-fortuante united fans that lost a job and cant go to games. Carpool with them help them with a ticket, donate stuff together Etc. Remember what makes united fans so special, the passion and love we have for the team and our fellow fans and community. This is a wake up call to all united fans, this year will be tough. We must all help each other for the love of our team. We can't sit back and wait for help from the ownership, because its not coming. I wonder if we can set up a real message board dedicated to fellow united fans who want to carpool or donate tickets to one another??? Forget the stadium right now, lets concetrate on getting people to rfk. If we don't at least do that, what other reason will the ownership have for not moving to st louis???

Posted by: Norteno4life | April 6, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I was at the Wizards game Saturday night (free tickets, speaking of economy), and there were no more than 15,000 people there.

-- "Our performance was terrible"
-- "Incredible number of mental mistakes"
-- "I'm embarrassed for our fans and our organization"
-- "It's a poor performance and I take the responsibility for it"
-- "I can't tell you how disappointed I am"

Sounds alot like my recent job performance review...

Posted by: joedoc1 | April 6, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

VTU -

Yeah there were bleachers on the south side. For decades before DCU, and the first few seasons of DCU - till 99, I think. I had nine-game plans in the south side bleachers in 96 and 97, and would squeeze in there for non-DCU matches. Far and away, best seats in the house, perfect view, just a few feet from the field.

Regardless of whose decision it was to never restore the seating bowl, the point is there are quite a few options for making the fan experience at RFK less dismal, which are a snap of the fingers as compared to building a new house. And regardless of whose decision it was, I have every right to fume that instead of happy fans in those areas, we get product placement.

I agree MLS has done enough things right to survive. But my biases as a supporter are much different from an investor or public servant. Trying to be objective, I can see a LOT of problems from their perspective.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | April 6, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Big Ups to DCU for not blowing the second half lead...

http://fcblackfoot.blogspot.com/

Posted by: hamlin_todd | April 6, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Response to Jay:

My four season tickets went up $400 this year (roughly a 40% increase) because my section was changed to VIP from premium. I have the invoices to show it. So I went down to two seats and the other two seats have remained empty for the first two home games.

Posted by: VAFan1 | April 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I can't speak for anyone else, but this is reason why I will not be attending as many games as I have in the past (and why I did not renew my season tickets):

1. Last season was way too long. We played an outrageous number of games and I got burned out. Before the season ended last year I had pretty much decided to "free up" some of my weekends to visit family and allow for a little more flexibility in my schedule.

2. Despite Jayrockers claim that "it's not the ticket prices keeping fans away," it actually is for me. Had I not got burned out on the 2008 season, I probably still have bought a full season ticket package this year. But when you start looking at buying more than one season ticket package, on top of a increase in prices, it starts to add up and quickly. With my investments/401K getting hit so hard in 2008, spending an additional $400 on something begins to look a little bit different than it did last year. So, when the tickets prices increased I asked myself why. Why would tickets increase if (a) the team is sh!t, (b) we still play in a toilet bowl of a stadium, and (c) the service at the stadium is going to be like it came from a toilet bowl?

So, for 2009, my wife and I got a flex plan. We've already been to the first two games. We'll miss the next two, I'll make the May 2, and we'll both be at the May 9 game.

In the end, we'll still go to games. And I'll buy single tickets to some games. But we're lucky. We live in Alexandria, both have reliable jobs in DC. Some of the DC United's fan base is pretty far out. If someone needs to choose between paying down a credit card, or buying a tank of gas needed to get to RFK, they should be looking to protect themselves first.

Posted by: TCompton | April 6, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Ug, DC at Salt Lake this week. Having bad flashbacks to last season...but wait! No more turf for the keeper to worry about!

Posted by: Reignking | April 6, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm like all the other optimists - I said economy and weather. I was at the Fire game yesterday, and it was a mighty act to go to the game, AND convince my better half to come, with our two little kids.

I'm not proud to say it, but they both cried at different times during the second half because of the miserable cold and wind (in my defense, both times my wife was away from the seats and we couldn't just pick up and leave).

That kind of weather is definitely going to impact attendance. They delayed the start of the White Sox season by a day because of it, for crying out loud!

Posted by: Modibo | April 6, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

anybody know if altidore and adu will play in the U20 world cup? they'll still be eligible age-wise, right?

Posted by: joe_hill | April 6, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Jay, crappy old spectator seats were either $17 or $18 last season. Now they are $22. Thats not 6%, thats 22 - 29%. For a family of four, thats is like buying an extra ticket this year. Throw that in on top of the parking fee increase, and the casual family fans might be attending a game or two less this season. Again, not a huge deal, its just another contributition to the pool of reasons why attendance may be lower this year.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 6, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I remember when you could get into the stadium for $10...

Posted by: Reignking | April 6, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

joe_hill: they aren't supposed to be in it...but they are eligible.

Posted by: Reignking | April 6, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

1. Good luck to the U-20's. They will need to be well-prepared to exit that group.
2. I was embarrassed for LA's fans also...and what a fabulous feeling it was.
3. I am not, in the least, surprised that NYRB stinks it up this year....they did last year also. They just hit a zone and their easy path obliged them into the final. Columbus will return. It may take them a month or so with the new staff and getting over the shock of losing Sigi the night after they won. But they are a good side and will have plenty to say this year.
4. I haven't gone to either game for various reasons:
a) because I have other things to do. Caps games each Fr night before. NCAA last 4 millionaire teams. USA game on Sat night (still a league problem).
b)I also don't know why the fee to park has gone up 50% in two years. Is it to pay for Gallardo? Cause he is gone. Is it all going to DCSEC to pay for the Nats stadium? Is it to improve the parking lots? Ha Ha. I don't know who gets the $, but I ain't happy about it.
c) I expected little from this team this year with the aging Emilio, Gomez and Moreno. I thought about coughing up the dough and decided I'd wait and see how things go. Pontius is fun to watch, so it may be that I'll attend more games than I originally planned.
d) Not one phone call or e-mail from the team this year. Not one. Don't they want me to come to games?
e) and I agree that the 174 games I attended last year - many of them embarrassing losses to Mexican/Salvadoran teams while USL teams cruised- burned me out also. I need a few more weeks to build up my fandom.

Posted by: sobugged1 | April 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The U-20 needs to have Altidore and Adu or else it will be 3 games and out. Even then those two might not be enough. Oh well at least we are no Mexico who are watching this from TV.

MLS in the other hand should put out more incentives. Like MLB have $20 all you can eat tickets or reduce the price of beer or if you buy two season tickets you get two more. Galaxy in its part and their fans are pissed off of the Beckham fiasco. Screw that guy!!!

Posted by: silentbat | April 6, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

VirginiaBlueBlood,

This is a soccer blog. Please keep your political opinions to yourself especially when in this case they are severely misguided and show a lack of economic understanding.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 6, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

If the economy was this bad last fall, I probably would have gone with the half season plan. Now seeing that parking costs more, beer costs more, tickets cost more. I know the team is strapped, too, but there has to be some happy medium between them not going out of business and fans being able to afford to go.

The product on the field this year could make for some great story lines. And if the team gets hot, I bet more casual fans find their way back.

Is the turf really gone at RSL? Man those have been some painful games to watch the past few years.

Posted by: eadc | April 6, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@VirginiaBlueBlood:

What Gambrills4 is saying is this: I don't agree with you, so keep your opinions to yourself.

Hail Caesar!

Posted by: joedoc1 | April 6, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice to have a DC United fan "bailout." Cheaper day-of-game seats and reduced packages that include parking and/or concessions. Whether it's attendance figures or revenue, dropping the ticket price makes sense. Empty seats aren't good for television, attendance figs., atmosphere or revenue.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | April 6, 2009 11:43 AM

I really like this idea. You should pitch it to DCU...and ask for a job while you're at it!!

@ eadc - the turf at RSL was left behind at Utah's football stadium (Rice-Eccles?). Rio Tinto (RSL's new SSS) has a real grass surface.

Posted by: combedge | April 6, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually I think Gambrills main point is keep politics out of this blog. I second that emotion.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 6, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

You're right, I don't agree with him and any beginners macro-economic course would back me up. However, I don't think political opinions belong here unless they are related to the stadium.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 6, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

What are they charging for parking?

Posted by: EssEff | April 6, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

dimesmakedollars,

If you know of ways that the stadium deal can get done, then by all means let's here them.

I agree that we need to get butts in seats and Dadryan's suggestion as a start sounds like a winner to get more people out.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 6, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Blue State Firm v Red State Firm in Lot 8! Oops, I forgot. Virginia is a Blue State now.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 6, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Dear Gambrils 4,

Usually joedoc and I are a minority of two, so we would welcome your interdict. But then again we'd miss fischy and I-270 terribly. I think perhaps Mr. Goff is the only one who can impose censorship. Thank you for allowing me to Voltaire my opinions.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | April 6, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

EssEff

$15

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 6, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Censorship please...........I just don't want to get into that stuff here but if you want it you got it. Economic policy takes a substantial period of time to see real results. Anotherwards, we are still riding the coattails of the previous administration and will be for the immediate future. Any beginners course in economics teaches you that. Blaming the current economy on the leadership change is completely ridiculous at this point in time unless your name is Rush, who was blaming President Obama before he was even elected. Talk to me in a couple of years.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 6, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

VirginiaBlueBlood:

What Gambrills4 is saying is this: I don't agree with you, so keep your opinions to yourself.

Hail Caesar!

Posted by: joedoc1 | April 6, 2009 2:09 PM
-------------------------------------------
Leave it to the Ole VBB and jd to cause some controversy...

Seriously though, this is a soccer blog.

Any politics outside of the stadium and economics of said stadium or franchise come off as incredibly gratuitous (as in over the top and utterly unecessary).

It doesn't have jack to do with if I agree or disagree with your take...

It was obnoxious with the previous administration and it is obnoxious with the current one (when I say administration, I am specifically talking about the one at White House, not the one at RFK :D)

Posted by: yankiboy | April 6, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Don't blame Me I voted for Lizard people!

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | April 6, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Amen yankiboy

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 6, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@All,

Point noted.

I'll add my political diatribes to Maryland bashing as topics I'm not allowed to broach.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 6, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Bruce Arena could use a pint or two or three.......

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 6, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

well if it's gonna be this kind of party I might as well post a music video...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUJ8dcLxFVg&feature=related

Posted by: DadRyan | April 6, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@blackandred777

simple - cut out the government by paying for the damn stadium themselves without making the government "study" using some amorphous future revenues to pay for the construction. you should be able to get them to kick in some infrastructure improvements (with stimulus money, maybe?) and may a tax break or two. other than that, stop looking for handouts.

if $200M doesn't make any sense after that, look at a simpler, less expensive design that focuses on improving the game-day experience for the true fans rather than a bunch of suits who sit in 50-55 suites and "a full service premium client lounge". if they aren't willing to do that, it means that they care more about making $$ than they do about the team and fans. that's my opinion, at least.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | April 6, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I get a sense that the stadium would be opposed by the PG NIMBY's whether they finance it or not. I think they are more anti-stadium/soccer than doubters of the financial package. I think that is merely a convenient excuse right now.
Personally, I think a study couldn't be anymore harmless and I simply don't get the opposition to it.
I think MLS wants those suites every bit as much as United's owners do and therefore, maybe they do care more about the bottom line.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 6, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

MLS in the other hand should put out more incentives. Like MLB have $20 all you can eat tickets or reduce the price of beer or

Posted by: silentbat | April 6, 2009 1:04 PM

Good thought, but soccer does not lend itself to frequenting the concession stands every 10 minutes, like baseball with its 18 breaks a game. Plus, have you ever sat in those seats before? It's not quite filet mignon and lobster. Try half-filled sodas, stale popcorn and high school cafeteria hot dogs. The only thing grosser than sitting in those seats is watching the people around you eating THE WHOLE GAME. Let's just say the air quality begins to suffer.

Posted by: IamAM | April 6, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

From the Gus Frerotte files:

Real Betis striker Sergio Garcia will be out for a month after injuring his knee while celebrating scoring the opening goal in the 3-3 home draw against Numancia, the Primera Liga club said on Monday.

The Spain international slid to his knees after netting in the ninth minute on Saturday, and had to be substituted soon after.

The side's top scorer with nine goals twisted the lateral ligament in his left knee the club said on their website.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 6, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Who controls the parking costs and who sees the revenue?

Is it United or is it DCSEC, or someone else?

I believe this has changed recently, as compared to previous years, but I don't know the current set-up, and which party is taking in some or all of that $15 that each vehicle pays to park.

Posted by: tab5g1 | April 6, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I feel like I've been all over the FIFA U-20 site. Anyone know how the tourney actually works? I'm guessing the top 2 teams in each group plus the next best 3rd place finishers advance to a Round of 16 single elimination game. But, that's just a guess. Anybody actually know?

Posted by: fischy | April 6, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The information is tucked away (and hidden at a vague link) at Fifa's "Document Library" page:

http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/documentlibrary/regulations.html

http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/tournament/competition/01/04/03/36/regulation%5fu20%5fegypt%5f09%5fe.pdf

on page 30 of that pdf:

"The two teams finishing first and second in each group and the four best teams among those ranked third qualify for the round of 16."

so, yes, you had it right, fischy.

Posted by: tab5g1 | April 6, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

DCSEC controls everything. The increased ticket and parking prices may be part of the deal that Payne mentioned when he said "We will lose less money."

So I envision a deal where DCSEC sais "Sure, you can get a bigger cut of the revenue, but we're not giving up a cent."

@blackandredreddevil: did you just call me a liberal? Them's fightin' words!

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 6, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The Good: Chris Pontius, Frankie Ljungberg, Kasey Keller, Tiffany Weimer, Tiffeny Millbrett, Kristine Lilly

The Bad: LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls

The Ugly: Dema Kovalenko; Toronto FC and their traveling supporters; the DC United stadium situation

Posted by: OWNTF | April 6, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Have I misread your wicked sense of humor all of this time? Are we a minority of three?

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | April 6, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I have received three communications today from Maryland legislators and it is alarming. They either don't really know what is going on with the bill or they are deliberately misrepresenting what the bill currently states. Either way it's not good. I did call them out on the garbage they sent me.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 6, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Godfather_of_Goals:

Those north end seats were broken down and trashed by the city. It's not like they're in storage. As for the bleachers at the south end, your mention of them is the first I've read in a long time. My hunch would be that they were sold for scrap (I mean, if the north seats were trashed by the city rather than stored, I can't imagine they held onto the less-often-used south bleachers). Your 2nd post is right: you do have the right to be upset that your favorite seats are now a VW showplace. However, getting mad at the team on this particular issue doesn't really make sense. It would be one thing if those seats were only being kept out by the VW thing, but they physically don't exist.

Politics:

There should be a Kang/Kodos reference in here somewhere.

I don't really have a problem with the political discussion. The problem is that even normally rational people go nuts when it comes up. This is an open forum, so there's little hope of a political discussion staying calm. The reality is that internet + politics = explosion. I am glad to see Voltaire mentioned.

Parking:

I believe the city still takes the overwhelming share of parking revenue. The new lease gave us some portion of it, if memory serves. Perhaps our cut is the increase and the city still takes the $12 they were taking last year. Either way, it's upsetting (unless you're Ron16 and have 7 kids, in which case kudos for finding time to do anything).

fischy:

According to Wikipedia, it's as you guessed: The top 2 from each group, plus the 4 best 3rd place teams.

If the US pulls off a Group C win, we'd play the third place team from either A, B, or F (not sure how they'd sort out which one). 2nd will get us the runner-up from A. 3rd would give us either the winner of A or B or eliminiation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_FIFA_U-20_World_Cup

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 6, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm an equal opportunity mocker. But I did just finish "Dreams From My Father." Does that make me a liberal? What if I said that it was the dead-tree-and-spotted-owl version, not Kindle, that came from a bookstore instead of a library?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 6, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

It may be a bit premature to make judgments but attendance by the Zach Wells groupies really seems to have tailed off...

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 6, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that DCU's "sister" club, VfL Wolfsburg is on a heckuva tear? They pasted Bayern Munich last week, and have vaulted into the Bundesliga top slot.

Maybe Wolkswagen could send us some crumbs....?

Posted by: fischy | April 6, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

----
If the US pulls off a Group C win, we'd play the third place team from either A, B, or F (not sure how they'd sort out which one).
----

It is sorted out by the results of which groups provide the 4 best third place teams.

When it is known which 2 groups will only be providing 2 teams, then the 16 teams are slotted into the second round based on a set pattern to ensure the minimum amount of possible games in the second round featuring teams from the same first-round group.

Posted by: tab5g1 | April 6, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Frankie Ljungberg?
Anyways, anyone else think it's lame that you can't really walk up and buy tickets to a Sounders game when there are clearly more seats sitting vacant at Qwest?

Meanwhile, this thread exists...

Posted by: DadRyan | April 6, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

As for the crowds at United games -- based on the glorious "crowd" at the Marlins' home opener, I wouldn't be surprised if DCU ends up with a higher average attendance than they do. And, Miami is throwing $600 million at the "Fish" to build them a new stadium.

Posted by: fischy | April 6, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I missed the discussion, but has there been any positing about what to do now that Fred is mainly healthy, Janicki seemed to be mainly healthy, and McTavish and Tino can't be far behind?

It'd be nice to see Fred on the wing, put Pontius up front and sub in N'Silu for whichever forward is getting less done. In the back, I think Janicki would start again, but who takes center, who takes back left?

We're on the verge of having to sort out the roster, which can't be a bad thing.

Posted by: eadc | April 6, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

frankie freddy, whatever, dude put on a good show

Posted by: OWNTF | April 6, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

frankie freddy, whatever, dude put on a good show

Posted by: OWNTF | April 6, 2009 6:24 PM

I wouldn't know, I was too busy pissing off Houston fans at RFK;-)

@fischy: I'm still not sold on Jakovic, he had some pretty scary moments in the first half on Saturday... He did ok cleaning up his mess, and he does have some wheels, but if he can't get a little more consistent on his clearances, I don't know what to think of him... I am however pretty pleased with the rookies and their confidence and work rate. This team has a lot more in attack this year, I just hope everyone can capitalize on their chances.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 6, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

@fischy: I'm still not sold on Jakovic, he had some pretty scary moments in the first half on Saturday...

Posted by: DadRyan | April 6, 2009 6:46 PM

Not sure why Dad's aiming that at me, but I'll take it on. Jakovic had some seriously scary moments in the first half. Had me wondering what Red Star ever saw in him. I posted the other night how it reminded me of Peralta. On the other hand, he recovered most of his mistakes. One time, Burch had to pick him up. Late in the half, he had a nice run up the field with the ball at his foot. Right there -- that was a huge improvement over Peralta. As you say, he does have some wheels -- that's a nice surprise for the DCU defense. And, I didn't notice any major gaffes in the 2nd half from him.

My guess is that DCU reverts back to a flat 4, but I'm not sure that's the best thing for this team. I know it didn't work out last year, when Tommy tried a 3-5-2, but this is a different team. I also suspect that Pontius might be better on the wing than up top, but odds are he gets moved up front next game. When Jaime is back, and on his game, it will be interesting to see what Tommy does. Pontius and Quaranta seem similar, but Pontius has much more finesse and better touch with his passing, and Quaranta maybe more of a power player. I don't envy the choices Tommy will have to make, because he's gonna hear about it , no matter what he does.

Posted by: fischy | April 6, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

How to tell them apart -

Freddy: No hair
Frankie: Lots

Freddy: Northwest
Frankie: Midwest

Freddy: Designated player
Frankie: Designated player to chug beer at a tailgate party.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 6, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

OWNTF: I was just playing around. I hope that was clear...:-)
fischy: for some strange reason I read eadc's post and somehow had it in my head that you wrote it... Glad you took it on anyway, your points were well taken.

I-270:have you seen this too?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI7ykIZNWw4&feature=related

Posted by: DadRyan | April 6, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

this one's for North Carolina
this one's for you?
this one's for who?
us, us, us

Posted by: diego_r | April 6, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I missed the discussion, but has there been any positing about what to do now that Fred is mainly healthy, Janicki seemed to be mainly healthy, and McTavish and Tino can't be far behind?

It'd be nice to see Fred on the wing, put Pontius up front and sub in N'Silu for whichever forward is getting less done. In the back, I think Janicki would start again, but who takes center, who takes back left?

We're on the verge of having to sort out the roster, which can't be a bad thing.

Posted by: eadc | April 6, 2009 6:19 PM
----------------------------------------

Must you interupt our opportunity to complain about how the world is conspiring to steal our team from us by talking actual team strategy? I haven't seen that spirit here since 1969.

Posted by: dsheon1 | April 6, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankie Say Relax....

Posted by: fischy | April 6, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Think I just saw a DC Armor ad on ABC channel 7...

Kind of interesting to see that Under Armour making the real football kicks soon. Wonder what that means for Heather Mitt's endorsements?

Posted by: DadRyan | April 7, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

eadc:

I tried to reply to your post but I think I exceeded the Post's word or character limits. Brevity is not my strong suit.

Short version:

1. I suspect we stay in the 3412 because a) I believe it's what Soehn would play in a hypothetical fantasy situation and b) it gets Olsen on the field.
2. Crayton, Namoff, Simms, Olsen (when fit), Gomez, and Emilio are at this point automatic starters. Wallace is the best fit at left midfield within this system and with this particular team. Jakovic is, for now, going to start as well (whether at CB or LCB).
3. The hottest competition within the team is at right midfield, where you can make a case for Quaranta, Fred, Pontius, and McTavish. The first two foul too often and, like Pontius, are best in a position with less defensive responsibility (either wide in a 442 or up top). McTavish is a fairly one-dimensional player going forward. I think Soehn will play the matchups, and will also use these four players extensively in his effort to control the minutes of Moreno, Gomez, and even Emilio (Quaranta and Pontius could both function ahead of Moreno and do an at least passable job, though both N'Silu and Doe would also obviously get strong consideration). I think Pontius will get moved up alongside Emilio (N'Silu was not bad, but I don't see he and Emilio forming much of a relationship; to me, a player more adept at dropping off and linking is the better foil for Luci) against RSL, so Soehn will have to pick between McTavish, Fred, and possibly Quaranta next week. It'll only get harder after that.

Believe it or not, that is the short version.

fischy:

I think you're more or less right about Jakovic being similar to Peralta. The differences are speed and more class on the ball. I do worry that his ability on the ball has made him too comfortable with it, but I have confidence that he'll figure out that MLS is a high pressure league and that defenders that dally on the ball will find themselves on the bench. If he keeps it simple, we've got our first center back with actual speed since...Pope? Has it been that long? He also did a good job physically against (a tired) Ching.

As for the switch back to a 442, I think at this point it will take a couple losses or Olsen needing a break. In that case, I'd expect to see Wallace also sitting (since he'd be caught as a lesser attacker than Fred at LM and a lesser defender than Burch at LB) with Fred on the left and Soehn having to choose between Quaranta and Pontius on the right. That's a very tough call. I would expect Soehn to again play this one based on who we're up against. I do think your reading on Quaranta's style against Pontius is right on.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 7, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

On the seating that was removed:
KP was on WTOP about 2 weeks ago and was asked about this. He said then that those seats were essentially destroyed when they were removed (he did not elaborate on by who) and that they were no longer in existence to be replaced.

On parking:
With the increase in parking fees, I find it interesting that there has been no mention that you can pre-pay for season parking passes at a reduced fee. This year is was $80 for our half-season plan (which comes out to $8/game). Definitely a better deal than paying at each game. I believe this is only available to full- and half-season planholders, but still worth mentioning nonetheless.

I must also state that I was very unhappy that our seats were also "recategorized" from Premium to VIP. We only kept them this year because we had been able to lock in pricing for 2 years when we bought last year. We will probably have to rethink next year, as the price will increase dramatically.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | April 7, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

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