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United Editorial

Jaime Moreno wasn't the only red-card recipient this weekend. The Post editorial staff issued one to Prince George's County council chair Marilynn M. Bland for quashing debate over the D.C. United stadium proposal.

Between the dreary early-season attendance figures at RFK and the three-ring political circus in the District of Columbia, Prince George's and Maryland state legislature, I must say: St. Louis is lovely this time of year. (Kidding. Sort of.)

On a side note, here are the announced audience counts for the four sporting events in D.C. last night:

Wizards-Heat at Verizon Center: 20,173
United-Dynamo at RFK Stadium: 12,594
Nationals-Orioles at Nats Park (exhibition): 11,864
Armor-Express at D.C. Armory (indoor football): 2,114

By Steve Goff  |  April 5, 2009; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Marta and WPS

Comments

I cant blame the low attendence, I kinda forgot about the final four playing as well.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | April 5, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Wait, D.C. Armory is going to be moved to St. Louis?

Posted by: PEddy | April 5, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

At least, they beat the Nats exhibition game. I would bet that the Nats will have smaller crowds for the opening series, after the home opening game. Maybe, the gate will be bigger (Nats sell over 20k in season tickets), but the actual attendance will be miniscule. When it gets warmer, crowds will double.

Posted by: fischy | April 5, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Well I'm proud we beat out the Nats... The crowd really didn't feel that small to me last night.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 5, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I always knew you had a thing for Pujols, Goff.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | April 5, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

DadRyan:

On TV, it seemed like at least 15k, like the Chicago opener. Then they showed the quiet side. It was sort of deserted.

I guess the bright side is that more fans want to sit with the SE and BB, creating a better atmosphere. The downside? Obviously, the low attendance figures, and the possibility of driving the casual fan and families away.

Posted by: kdiff813 | April 5, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

And by St. Louis you mean the ones who weren't able to come up with the money to buy a franchise outright? Could one imply they really haven't put much of a package together through every single round of MLS expansion?

Or is a move to an urban, inner city area an approach taken by a McF, a developer-owner that is looking for a land grab . . . not so much a city looking for a football club like Philly, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver?

How's the economy in St. Louis? If anyone thinks it could match DC over the long haul or in times of recession . . . not a chance.

And could a football crowd in St. Louis see a one with virtually every heritage represented?

Maybe, but they'd be hard pressed . . . I was at a crowd of Americans from Bolivia, El Salvador, Ghana, Ireland, a Scot tourist, a bunch of Nascar fans, some Repubs and some Dems . . . Pretty sweet! Not sure if that'd be represented in St. Louis, but I hope not!

Posted by: delantero | April 5, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Between the dreary early-season attendance figures at RFK and the three-ring political circus in the District of Columbia, Prince George's and Maryland state legislature, I must say: St. Louis is lovely this time of year. (Kidding. Sort of.)"

What a serious lack of class? Maybe if they move to St.Louis there be a job waiting for you to follow the team there since you provide nothing else to the Washington Post (kidding sort of)?

Posted by: no_recess | April 5, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

well, hopefully that post will knock me off the top of the sh*t list...

Posted by: DadRyan | April 5, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

2nd is first loser?

Posted by: PEddy | April 5, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Boy, I wish our local paper wasn't in such a tumultuous financial state. Then they wouldn't feel pressured into making everything a Watergate.

Posted by: notafembot | April 5, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Ref gives player yellow card for farting during a PK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/05/football-fart

Posted by: addick | April 5, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Is Northern Virginia ever going to be viable option? I remember the Skins wanting to move to Alexandria's Potomac Yard at one point. A stadium site there next to Nat'l airport's metro and all the retail would be nice. However I guess Virginia is tougher and Alexandria is much more expensive.

Posted by: dukestreetkid | April 5, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Stating the fact that, if United doesn't have a new stadium plan soon they might leave the city, makes me the villian? Wow.

MacFarlane and Chang live on the West Coast. They are not local. They are businessmen. They didn't buy DCU as a hobby. They are in it to turn a profit. If this club continues to bleed money at RFK and doesn't finalize a stadium plan in PG or elsewhere, Victor and Will will be left with little choice but to sell the club (good luck in this economic environment) or move it to a city/area that has a better chance of getting a new venue built. It ain't Watergate, but it's nothing to be taken lightly, either.

It's a bad situation and it appears to be getting worse. And the fact that only the most ardent supporters -- and they should be commended for their loyalty -- have bothered to attend the first two home matches (hardly any walk-up sales, very few casual sports fans, sparse attendance on the quiet side of the stadium) hasn't helped bolster the cause for a new facility.

Posted by: Steve Goff | April 5, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it is what it is. :(

I'm hopeful the turnout will improve as the season goes on, but the stadium situation is a complete mess. I personally think it is already beyond hope in PG county.

Posted by: cray | April 5, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ref gives player yellow card for farting during a PK.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/05/football-fart

Posted by: addick | April 5, 2009 2:46 PM

"Impressive resume. I see you're flatulent in three languages..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp5m0wICJwY

:)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | April 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

If the Post is going to dish out cards, then clearly Adrian Fenty should get one for making campaign promises he failed to keep - and in fact discouraged - from coming true. That's a straight red. But I think the Post should give McFarlane a yellow. Anyone investing a cool Billion dollars in DC who can't use that leverage to get the stadium deal done has made little attemp to understand how our city works. And also, a yellow card should be served to the United front office, for failing to mobilize the local fan base at the right time to pressure Fenty to keep his word. On the contrary, the front office asked fans to stay quiet and let the back room deals take over. Yeah. That worked.
I do believe United will leave DC. But if the current management team does not make better strategic decisions, they will be no more successful in any other town.

Remember, the same team that kept Rongen a year+ longer than his sell by date, also brought you the wonderfully scouted move to trade Boswell for Wells, bring in an often injured overpriced overaged Argie, and let's not forget about the diminutive one. What was his name?

Well the point is, if the owners went through last season and failed to sh-can the egomaniacs who manage the team, then we have little hope they will make the right decisions to get a stadium built.

Reboot the hard drive now please.

Posted by: dsheon1 | April 5, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for commending the loyal fans Steve. Gotta throw the dogs a bone from time to time. Keeps us from getting rabid.;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | April 5, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The disparity in attendance between the Supporters' side and the quiet side was also likely impacted by this weekend being the start of Spring Break for a lot of folks. That had to hurt the family attendance as much as the other sporting events.

Posted by: jburksva | April 5, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree 100% with Steve's comments and tone this weekend. Only someone with rose colored glasses could try to make excuses for the poor attendance and direction the club are going in. DC United are slipping into a coma under MacFarlane's watch. I just can't see the current stadium proposal going ahead. It's been botched by the ownership and Payne with help from a bonkers political set-up in Prince George's County.

The league (Garber) will have to step in after the inevitable PG failure (and there is no evidence Garber intends to go this route). That will also coincide with the fans fully turning on MacFarlane. Praying for new ownership will start then.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how were the first three matches?!

Posted by: Kev29 | April 5, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

At least, they beat the Nats exhibition game.

Posted by: fischy | April 5, 2009 12:45 PM
-----------------------

I'm told by a few people who went to the Nats game that the actual attendance appeared to be about half the announced attendance...

Posted by: edgeonyou | April 5, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I didn't want to be the first to say it, but, maybe the attendance is down because the team can't get decent coverage in the local paper.

All I read is how the team is crap and the owners are trying to con local governments out of hard earned tax dollars.

By the way Steve, newspapers should be in the business of reporting the news, not making the news. "Reporting" about a WAPO editorial in a WAPO blog is kinda incestuous.

Posted by: tkelley55 | April 5, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

My $0.02,

Lay off of Steven. His job is to report first and foremost. He's provided us a ridiculous amount of information since the launch of this blog and well more than most of the other markets in MLS combined. Second, let's remember that this is a blog that happens to be hosted/run by a newspaper searching for its way in the world. The day's a of completely objective reporting were gone in September of 2001. That's when news really became a 24/7 machine and parties began to blur the lines between reporting the news, commentating on the news, and giving advice based on the news. Tune into CNN any day and point out a "reporter".

On to United. Let's not kid ourselves. The economy has taken the wind out of the sales of a GREAT number of things. Attendance, marketing, fans, and stadium financing. While we all sit here and implore Victor to find something out of his own pocket or via a loan, a la the Emirates/Arsenal, good luck. You try pitching a couple hundred million or more of real estate projects in this environment to anyone - banks, private equity, life insurance companies, institutional investors, etc. ad nauseum. There's not a lot of appetite for that product right now. Second, drive around. Look at hotels, apartments, condos, retail and office buildings. There's a LOT of vacancy. Even here. Barack is wasting a lot of money, but even he's not having the US Gov't lease a lot of space right now. Small and private companies, also downsizing and relocating if not closing.

The economy has punched the wind out of things pretty substantially.

That said, I think it's applause worthy that DC can say in a heavy recession it's got 12,000 - 15,000 in fans who will come. If everyone wanted to test the downside effects of MLS, well it's happening right now. The wages of this league will save all those teams that get hurt at the gate. Surviving this and seeing America return to some sort of growth will prove MLS' power.

However, DC and PG County are not going to help us. This is where Victor and Will need to be very creative and get something going or else the fans could be left holding nothing. I would hate to see that day, but last year when The Don was at the season kickoff luncheon - he said that DC had to find a stadium solution. After this year, DC's going to be the last team stuck in a terrible position and will be THE financial drag on the league!

Now, short of floating equity shares in the club/stadium, I'm sure capital is very tight but it's obvious this club is going to need a new solution to it's stadium financing. Maryland isn't going to do it. DC is going to forever feel the burn thanks to the Lerners/Nationals (hate those guys so much - almost as much as Pelosi/Frank).

And lastly - Screaming Eagles - stop flying the PG County flag. They've shown their true colors a lot faster than Fenty did - they don't want the club or the stadium.

Thanks for all you do Steve!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 5, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

sales = sails

or should it be $aile$ and $ale$?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | April 5, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Nats sell over 20k in season tickets"

Not this year, old man Lerner is taking the MLB revenue sharing and running with it, fielding a bargain basement team and allowing his season ticket base to plummet. I was against the city paying for the Nats ballpark and I'm against DC or PG building the United stadium, let these franchises pay their own way.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 5, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

tkelley55, it's a freaking blog post. That means you're supposed to link to things. No one is writing a story about the editorial- just letting us know about its existence. Goff isn't responsible for the content of the editorial page. Jeez, a lot of Soccer Insider readers seem to be in a bad mood this weekend. Don't shoot the messenger.

Posted by: ricky_b | April 5, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

tkelley55 I only sort of disagree about Goff mentioning the editorial being incestuous. A lot of people would have missed it, and I like how Insider readers can count on Steve to point out coverage on the team, stadium, etc. What I'd really like to see however, is the Post giving that red card to Fenty, as I said above. The ed board gave him a complete pass, and the well documented coziness between Post mayoral beat reporter David The Nakamura leaves us all suspect to wonder if the Post is not biased. Two ombudsman have been fully briefed and aware of the undercover work done by Washington City Paper to expose this through FOIA requests of emails between the Post reporter and the mayor's office showing a history of quid pro quo agreement, yet neither have ever so much as responded to the allegation. The Post's failure to call the Fenty administration on the carpet for failing to negotiate in good faith and turning a blind eye to pre-election promises is frankly, pathetic.

Now if the Post even acknowledged the City Paper article and told us the punishment it has or will met out, I would completely disagree with tkelley55. But Steve does seem more likely to report on issues covered by the Post related tot he stadium, but not those about the Post's potential for bias as it affects the stadium issue.

Posted by: dsheon1 | April 5, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

If United leaves, I won't know what to do with myselves.

I lauged a little at the story of the Colts ugly move, but I was sure no such thing could happen to my team. Well... worst case scenario. We need a goddamn miracle.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 5, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me from everything I've read that it isn't PG County representatives opposing these studies, but the rest of Maryland. I'm guessing they're afraid that if Maryland gives this money to PG, that their counties will see less money as a result, and that they'd have to go back home and explain to their voters why.

It seems VA would have been the best choice afterall, although the NIMBY's inside the beltway would have made a huge stink about it (just look at GMU's one eletronic sign they put up as an example -- amplify that to an entire stadium).

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | April 5, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The Post editorial red carded the ridiculous excuse of a Prince George's council chair. Somehow though, the editorial was attached with an anti-soccer headline which wasn't the gist of the editorial at all. Yeah, no hidden bias there.

Posted by: evwill | April 5, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on. Lighten up. You should be stunned the editorial folks even know what a red card is. ;-)

Posted by: Steve Goff | April 5, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

To start: I live in MD and thought (as of a few days ago) that I supported United's push to have a stadium in Prince George's County.

To be honest: Let's give up on the Prince George's County stadium idea. It is apparent that we are not getting a stadium through in Prince George's unless the club pays the bills. All in all, we've gone full circle. We're back to the start of the process.

We really need to just start over with the stadium push. Prince George's County isn't going to happen. Let's shoot for somewhere else, but the problem is: where?

Posted by: davethelad | April 5, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Completely unrelated, but I just ran into half the Blackburn Rovers squad at the cvs in courthouse. it appeared to be the U-18 squad. Weird.

Posted by: JB252 | April 5, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

7k in awful conditions at KC...12k in bad conditions at Chicago...

I'll be interested to see how baseball attendance fares this month. If we are seeing the reflection of the economy, soccer and baseball, who have just started their seasons, may see it first.

Posted by: Reignking | April 5, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Mixed use development construction is still underway in Loudoun County, and the Silver line punches its way out there in 2016.

No time like the present to buy some land around those last two stations beyond Dulles that will be served by both Metro and the Greenway.

Just sayin...

Posted by: seahawkdad | April 5, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Please be sure to link to all of the positive articles The Post publishes too. ;-) I know Boswell was among the many cheerleaders for a Nats stadium so I'm sure there will be plenty more...

Posted by: mbyrd28 | April 5, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone needs to calm down. Things have been awfully negative around here from the top to the bottom recently. I know the news hasn't been great but DC United is not leaving the area. The centrally-structured power of MLS would make a big mistake if the team were to leave.

I think the poor attendence is more of a reflection on MLS than a DCU-specific phenomenon. In terms of attendence, here are the teams that DC United has outdrawn this year (according to average home attendence stats from MLSnet.com):

Colorado Rapids
Kansas City Wizards
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
FC Dallas
San Jose Earthquakes

There are a number of factors contributing to down attendence:

- this has been the least hyped (on all fronts) DCU season in recent memory
- half of the team that came last year left again
- not making the playoffs last year
- weather for the first game was miserable
- competition from other DC sports events
- it's barely April
- the dark cloud over RFK and the team in regards to the future stadium

Even with all of that we square in the middle of attendence for the league. The Crew, last year's champions, are only slightly ahead of us.

The down attendence might be more of a sign of MLS's viability as a whole rather than a specific reflection on DCU.

We can play in RFK forever if need be. At least then DCU would be in DC next to a Metro. To quote 2-Pac: keep ya heads up

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

diego_r, I agree with all of your points except for the last one about staying at RFK forever. I know some posturing has to be involved, but I don't think that Garber, Payne, McFarlane, and Chang are all lying when they say that DC United absolutely cannot remain at RFK indefinitely. I love RFK, but it is not a viable long term solution (at least not without a sweetheart lease deal and some massive renovations, which would probably be prohibitively expensive).

Posted by: ricky_b | April 5, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I am sure MacFarlane would rather put up some more money than sell his stake in the team at a steep discount or go through the expenses of moving the team. Just wait . . . he'll negotiate.

Are people really still complaining about the Boswell trade after last night?

Down with WaPo and up with the Goff!

Posted by: notafembot | April 5, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

We can play in RFK forever if need be. At least then DCU would be in DC next to a Metro. To quote 2-Pac: keep ya heads up
_____________________________________________

No, we can't. No, no, no, no, no. You are entirely clueless. RFK is nearing the end of its useful life and is slated to be condemned within the next few years. In addition, the rent on RFK Stadium will become the biggest drain on MLS' collective profitability once the new Red
Bull Stadium opens and the Pink Cows move out of Giants Stadium. United needs to solve its stadium problem soon or United will be moved to St. Louis either at the end of this season or at the end of the 2010 season. No if's and's or but's about it. This is depressing beyond belief.

Posted by: Stevenho | April 5, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

""RFK . . . .and is slated to be condemned within the next few years.""

Whatever.
>>>

Goff, where does your subtle jab about St. Louis today jibe with McF's recent comment to you about the a move being "draconian."

Seems like the two don't mesh. Either someone's making some schnizzle up or it was a bad joke.

My post was just showing that St. Louis doesn't appear to be a faithful soccer community based on the last 4 or 5 or was it 6 or 7 rounds of MLS expansion? I see a Frisco, not a Toronto.

Just because land is cheaper in St. Louis and there's an opportunity for McF/Chang/Payne to build doesn't mean it's good for United or the League!!!! In my opinion, it would be idiotic for the league, and don't care about the former . . . .

Posted by: delantero | April 5, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Re: attendance.

Recession. Unemployment is at the highest rate since the early 80's. People don't have the excess cash which leaves the die hard fans for support. We beat the Nats.

Overall attendance will wax and wane, but don't expect 20 K this season. I'd be pleased if it ended up around 17,5 K.

And at least we beat the Armor!

Posted by: delantero | April 5, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

""well, hopefully that post will knock me off the top of the sh*t list...

Posted by: DadRyan | April 5, 2009 1:52 PM ""

Per your earlier post, it sounds like you sat in my section on the North end of the Barra/SE side. Welcome to the fun . . . you should try it when there are a bunch of screaming Chivas fans . . .

Sorry about that racist Houstonian. Would have gotten me fired up too . . next time, I got your back, let me grab my black hoodie.

Posted by: delantero | April 5, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Steve,

Thanks for your updates. You provide a terrific service to those of us who try to follow the sport closely in an environment where the mainstream media still pretty much ignores MLS and DC United.

I follow the business side of MLS very closely and I will say this again, there is a very real possibility that if no stadium deal is done in the next year, United will pull up stakes and leave.

The irony is that DC United kept both RFK Stadium going for years when it probably would have been demolished years ago and would not have been available as a transition site for the Expos. Also, United showed the way for MLS teams in the early years when much of the League back in 2000 was on the verge of collapse.

Today, United is still in RFK losing millions each year. The Expose have come and had their 3/4 Billion dollar Stadium given to them, and MLS at a League level has become a success.

As a result, DC United is really not much further along from a business perspective today than it was in 96 and in some ways worse. The current situation is NOT sustainable from a business situation.

In a lot ways DC has been spoiled by United. They have received all the benefits of an MLS team with none of the costs. And for all their good deeds throughout the community United has been given little or no support from DC government or any of the regional governmental bodies.

As much as it pains me to say this, I would estimate that there is an 80% chance that United will leave the area in the next year or two. As a charter season ticket holder I will be devastated.


Posted by: dcufan53 | April 5, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Seahawkdad that United should look into the possibility of a bare bones stadium in Loudoun County, or building something at the Soccerplex in Maryland.

Posted by: dcufan53 | April 5, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I am about to say something that may get people screaming. United needs to look outside the Beltway. One of the huge problems they are encountering is that they are trying to build in NIMBY situations where the NIMBY's are not soccer patrons or followers. In fact they are trying to build where the NIMBY's are soccer haters. Read the blog posts in the Metro section. Most of the stadium opponents honestly don't care if the stadium is a moneymaker. Post after post is geared towards their hatred of the sport. United needs to go where the situation is more soccer friendly. If they want an urban stadium or one inside the Beltway then I sincerely think Baltimore is their best option. I don't see it happening inside the Washington Beltway. I wish I felt differently................

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 5, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

BTW- Baltimore/Maryland United certainly sounds better than St Louis United.

As far as the earlier suggestions are concerned Montgomery is a much better idea than Loudoun. I have lived in both states and Montgomery has better potential as a stadium site for soccer.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 5, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Go West United, Go West. I hear they're building a Metro Station at Dulles and at the rate things are going, it will be ready about the same time as a new Stadium. ;)

Posted by: carnack | April 5, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Some posts here make a good point. If I remember correctly, didn't Boswell champion the baseball stadium? If I am correct, is there a Post columnist willing to step up and champion a soccer stadium. We all know the team deserves such a champion and Steve cannot do such a thing but a columnist could.

Steve-are any of the Post's columnists sympathetic to a soccer stadium? Is there someone to counter Fisher?

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 5, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Silver Line.

Posted by: Pedalada | April 5, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The team and the league will not wait for the completion of the Metro rail to Dulles. They'll be long gone by then.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 5, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

There won't be too much waiting. Phase One to Reston is scheduled to be done by 2013. If DCU built a stadium by 2012 in Reston or Tysons, they would only have 1-2 seasons w/o Metrorail. Not ideal, but not too bad either.

http://www.dullesmetro.com/info/faqs.cfm

Posted by: Pedalada | April 5, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

True, attendance has been disappointing at the first pair of DCU matches, but it's not a Washington-specific phenomenon. Outside of Seattle and Toronto, attendance has been unimpressive around much of the league. The economic crisis and bad weather have certainly contributed to the poor turn-out. Another factor is the absence of Beckham. He alone boosted attendance by thousands everywhere he played. Expect MLS average attendance to be closer to 15k this year, rather than nearly 17k in 2008. As for "St. Louis United," all this relocation talk depresses me.

Posted by: bartapest1 | April 5, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Financially for McFarlane and co, maybe DCU can't stay at RFK forever. But structurally? It is fine. The concessions are terrible and the bathrooms are dirty but the place is still a good place to play soccer.

If RFK was such a horrible place to play soccer why does it get such constant use from non-DCU soccer matches.

MLS Cup 2007
FIFA World Cup Qualifier 2008
Gold Cup Match 2009

Pretty awful, if you ask me.

It is also worth mentioning that a brand new stadium in a metro-accessible location doesn't guarantee good attendance (see Nationals, Washington and Capitals, Washington (before Ovechkin came along and saved that franchise)

Posted by: diego_r | April 6, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Today's MLS Attendance (home teams listed first):

Chicago / New York - 11,633 (Chicago's home opener!)
Chivas USA / Columbus - 12,827
Kansas City / San Jose - 6,922

Posted by: diego_r | April 6, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Dissing the reporting is ludicrous. Between the Post, the Spanish-language papers, and even the Times, DCU gets as much press as any MLS team. You can't find anything about the cows in the NYT or the News and when they do have something, it's very brief. The don't even carry the MLS standings.The LA Times does nothing that's not Beckham-related (though the Spanish-language press does usually have something about Chivas USA). OTOH, the Columbus Post-Dispatch covers the Crew like a major league teamn should be covered.

I say hat's off to Goff. If we didn't have his blog and all these comments to read, what would we do from midnight to 2AM?

Posted by: manunot | April 6, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Interesting observation diego_r. RFK, from an outsiders view point isn't so bad. Folks visiting are more affected by the incredible supporters, the good times in lot 8 and maybe even a little sense of history. Supporters I've met from Toronto had no idea how financially unsound DCU's arrangement is at it's home stadium. They were certain we were making plenty of money...How could we afford all those high priced latin imports anyway???

Nice to see Chivas drawing just as deep as United on a Sunday I guess.... These figures will go way up when the weather heats up, and college basketball is over.

Bare bones stadium with room to expand would be fine. I don't want to sit on bleachers, but I can probably just stand until the thing gets it's seating upgraded anyway. I really like the setup in Charleston. If you could have a very simple stadium, with multiple bars it would be very popular. The trick is keeping the place open even when there are no games. showing all soccer games at all times...
I thought that rugby ground that Dhani Jones visited on his show on the travel channel that had the what? 14 bars in it was awesome! Something like that would be grand.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 6, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, if the team and the league wasn't making such a strong stance about RFK then I would be perfectly happy with it. None of the stadium's problems bother me too much. However, they are losing millions and running out of time so it does matter to me.

I've seen this question asked a few times on Insider but I have never seen a response from either another blogger or Steve:

Why was the ownership willing to front money for Poplar Point but not Morgan Boulevard?

I personally don't think the majority of the opponents in PG care about the economics of the stadium (I think they are anti-soccer and anti-stadium period), but ownership money would at least be a concession and in turn a caveat with the legislators. I doubt it matters whether the money is upfront or backended to cover shortfalls just as long as the carrot is dangled.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 6, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Didn't George Solomon take a pro soccer stadium stance?

Where is George Solomon? I miss his Sunday morning columns.

Why aren't we hearing from any sports columnists on this or would this be a question of be careful what you ask for.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 6, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Solomon left years ago.

diego_r, RFK is known for the fans and atmosphere. It is falling apart.

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

sitruc,

I know he retired but until very recently he was writing a weekly Sunday morning column that would appear on page 2. I read it every week. It was different from other columns in that it covered just about everything and anything.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 6, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse


Mr. Neely the Iceman: Well, I got a cousin who spells it the same way, and we call him "Louie".
'Tootie' Smith: He's isn't a city though, is he?
Mr. Neely the Iceman: No...
'Tootie' Smith: Is he a saint?
Mr. Neely the Iceman: Uh, no.
'Tootie' Smith: Then there's no comparison.

Posted by: grotusmaximus | April 6, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The dresses that hung in the hall,
Were gone, she had taken them all;
She took all his rings and the rest of his things;
The picture he missed from the wall.
"What! moving!" the janitor said,
"Your rent is paid three months ahead."
"What good is the flat?" said poor Louis, "Read that."
And the janitor smiled as he read.

Posted by: grotusmaximus | April 6, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The crowd sure seemed like more than 12,500 to me on Sat night, but who am I to judge. Obvious reasons for low attendance-
1.) management destroyed team of '07 that had best win/loss record in MLS.
2.)Overpaid "glory boys" of'08 proved to be a total flop.
3.)Concessions during '08 were absolutely horrid and it was "work" to get them even then.
4.)New stadium looks farther away every day.
5.) Other than GOFF, all mainstream news about DCU is pretty negative.
Seattle has shown us what a team with energy, local support, and a a great fan base can do.
COME ON BLACK AND RED, let's build up the energy and bury the negatives !!

Posted by: patrick18 | April 6, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

United, its your owner. I have heard he pulled out of the Poplar Point deal for non-soccer reasons, wanted a deal for his construction company to develop all of Pop-point, and he would pay for the stadium.

Best Idea I have heard to date is that G-Mason wants to get into NCAA football, work something out with them and build a 25-30,000 multi use stadium in NOVA for both teams. Or find another college who would be game to do that.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 6, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

:: I've seen this question asked a few times on Insider but I have never seen a response from either another blogger or Steve:

Why was the ownership willing to front money for Poplar Point but not Morgan Boulevard?

Posted by: croftonpost | April 6, 2009 1:44 AM
::

That's an urban legend, Victor was never offering to pay for a stadium on its own with his own money.
In exchange for development rights to the 40 acres of land on Poplar Point (110 total minus 70 acres of "parkland"), he would have built the stadium with the profits from the real estate, if the District paid for infrastructure - which is pretty standard for any development, as the city always owns and controls the infrastructure anyway.

In the PG case - they sat down with the Stadium Authority and the County Executive (who is supposed to represent the council as a whole) and figured out the cost of the stadium they wanted, then the state/county figured how much the taxes could pay off and then asked United to pay the rest (that came out to about 25% of the total).

So both deals are radically different, one is not better or worse than the other, and in both cases, the team was willing to pay as much as they were asked.

In the DC situation, Fenty said he thought the development part Victor/United wanrted to build was too dense so scrapped the promise and "put the area up to a bidding process" to squeeze United out of the deal.
Epic stupid, but what are you gonna do - except visit Poplar Point in 2022 and see it looking exactly the same, or at best, with empty warehouses on it.

Posted by: dcufan | April 6, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone needs to calm down. Things have been awfully negative around here from the top to the bottom recently. I know the news hasn't been great but DC United is not leaving the area. The centrally-structured power of MLS would make a big mistake if the team were to leave.

I think the poor attendence is more of a reflection on MLS than a DCU-specific phenomenon. In terms of attendence, here are the teams that DC United has outdrawn this year (according to average home attendence stats from MLSnet.com):

Colorado Rapids
Kansas City Wizards
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Real Salt Lake
FC Dallas
San Jose Earthquakes
___________________________________________

Attendance numbers are irrelevant. The only thing that counts is the profitability - the bottom line. As long as United plays in RFK, it will lose millions of dollars in rental payments every year. But, if St. Louis or Ottawa is willing to finance a stadium for United, United will show a profit even if attendance per game were to decline in United's new place of residence.

Posted by: Stevenho | April 6, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff DCUfan. I was also of the belief that MacFarland had offered to pay for it.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 6, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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