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SoccerPlex, Open Cup, TFC Friendly

*Curse of the SoccerPlex? This summer at the otherwise idyllic Montgomery County venue, there's been a midfield challenge resulting in a serious knee injury (St. Louis Athletica), a visiting coach climbing over a railing and into the stands after being ejected (Ocean City Barons), a broken leg on a 50-50 ball (L.A. Sol), a torn ACL (D.C. United) and Tuesday night's horrific ankle-leg injury to a Rochester Rhino as well as a DCU broken wrist. (Let's not forget Blanco's sucker-punch and head-butting antics last year!)

*While United's two years of Open Cup success should be commended, it would refreshing to see how the club performs on the road in this tournament. United's championship game appearance against Seattle on Sept. 2 at RFK will be its 10th consecutive Open Cup home match (5-0 at SoccerPlex, 4-0 at RFK, including two play-in games this year). The last DCU road trip was a loss to third-division Harrisburg in 2007.

*A River runs through Toronto: Argentine club visits BMO for a friendly Wednesday evening.

Awaiting updates on Boyzzz Khumalo's wrist-hand injury and Danny Szetela's eligibility for Saturday, as well as video highlights of the match with the Rhinos.....

By Steve Goff  |  July 22, 2009; 9:18 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS , U.S. Open Cup  
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Next: A Few Minutes With Payne, Butragueño

Comments

Here's my post from the previous thread:

Why does every match at the 'Plex become a circus? At a minimum there's always argy - bargy, but we've also had a fracas (with Blanco) and usually horrific injuries?

Glad to be done with that field.

(BTW, given Wambach's routine play there, they may need to double up the EMT's at the match. Just sayin'.)

Posted by: JkR- | July 22, 2009 9:18 AM

Posted by: JkR- | July 22, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Barklage tear his ACL there too in the game against Harrisburg?

Posted by: soccerfan80 | July 22, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Ah, forgot about Barklage -- I'll add it to the list. Thanks!

Posted by: Steve Goff | July 22, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: spikeman | July 22, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, a sign that Maryland hates DC United. And well - soccer in general...

Oh man - I'm fired up to see Gooch play tonight with A(Beckham)C Meeeeelan.

Best wishes to him as he begins this new adventure in his career!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse


Sadly, it would be more appropriate to refer to DCU matches at the Soccerplex as matches on a neutral field, not a home field.

I wish that weren't true.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | July 22, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I almost hate to say this - cause I'm going to enjoy another Open Cup Final here in DC - but it's kind of a shame that Seattle couldn't host the match. They would probably draw about 3x what we will that evening.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 22, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I found the lacrosse markings too distracting to enjoy the match.

Posted by: sitruc | July 22, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I doubt that the Ocean City and Rochester coaches would concur that the Plex is neutral.

Man, there's been a lot of grotesque injuries up there this year.

Hey refs out there, what's the boundary line? If a player comes in with both feet up, and gets ball first, that can't mean it's automatically "clean" can it?

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Gooch, from what I read, wasn't supposed to play tonight?

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the pic..but kind of wish i didn't click on it : \

Photo of Boyzzz's broken wrist:

http://www.behindthebadge.com/2009/07/photos-unitedrhinos.php

Posted by: spikeman | July 22, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: ttn703 | July 22, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, a sign that Maryland hates DC United. And well - soccer in general...

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 22, 2009 9:53 AM

Jealous ;-)

Despite the freakish injuries and argie bargie at the Plex - it's a wonderful place to watch United. Shame the counties in VA don't care about United (or the Freedom) as much, maybe then the Commonwealth could host a match or two. That's where 99.99% of all the club's support comes from - right?

But enjoy your new Atlantic League baseball stadium in Loudoun. Virginia sure loooooves United!

Just yanking your chain, VBB :-)

Posted by: Kev29 | July 22, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

. . . and Lance was awesome in support yesterday in Stage 16 . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Veeery interesting ride this morning...

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Steve, add Boyzz's broken wrist to the list of injuries.

Posted by: Golden_Child | July 22, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

In the "Curse" section...

Posted by: Golden_Child | July 22, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Italian Soccer Federation holding up Szetela's certificate? I do not understand the bureaucracy. Are they lazy? Do they have no respect for US soccer? What would they do we had held a transfer for Beckham to Milan? It has been approximately one week. I know they can fax, email, or mail a document from overseas in under a week. You should not have to wait two weeks after you sign a player in order for him to become eligible.

Posted by: no_recess | July 22, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, RK, I read it two weeks ago that he went to Milan last monday for his physical and signing, then went back on vacation, and met up with the team either monday or yesterday here in Atlanta, and is scheduled to play in Baltimore, as more of a "hometown" deal.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 22, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

What I meant to say was "What would they do if we held a tranfer of Beckham to Milan?" Sorry for the typo.

Posted by: no_recess | July 22, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the Plex should start cashing in on it's new image.

"Enter, the footie cage! Where no team leaves without... the curse of the Plex.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 22, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, Diplomacy I've learned in soccer:

Everyone hates the Russians

Blame it on the Italians

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 22, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@Kev29,

Details, Details ;)

I will say I do agree with your sentiment about Qwest hosting. The crowd and the support for that club chasing Silverware in its first season would be quite strong!

However, DC United plan holders need to help the ticket office by:
1) Actually Going as Special Event D
B) Giving away or selling tickets for Special Event D if we cannot attend
D) Helping the ticket sales stuff and the club by pushing friends and colleagues and others to attend this match.

While it's great that matches such as August 9 will receive attention and good attendance, if there was one match you really pushed the walk-up crowd to get a seat to - I would say it's this one. It's a trophy, and we need to support it as such!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 22, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Goff wrote:
While United's two years of Open Cup success should be commended, it would refreshing to see how the club performs on the road in this tournament.

------

So, you are hoping United will lose in September, thus forfeiting its home field advantage as the reigning champion?

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

I almost hate to say this - cause I'm going to enjoy another Open Cup Final here in DC - but it's kind of a shame that Seattle couldn't host the match. They would probably draw about 3x what we will that evening.

Posted by: Kev2
------

Plus, it would have been a great roadtrip. Early September in Seattle is gorgeous.

Posted by: fentysupporter | July 22, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"So, you are hoping United will lose in September, thus forfeiting its home field advantage as the reigning champion?"

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

Huh? There's no home field for defending champions. USOC chose United's hosting bid because Seattle could only schedule an early afternoon game at Qwest. Each step, it's the same. Teams submit bids to host. Usually, the bid with the most $$$ wins.

Posted by: fischy | July 22, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Goff -- not to be morbid about this, but is there a way for you to direct us to the photos you mentioned -- the ones that appear to show the injury came on the landing not the tackle?

Posted by: fischy | July 22, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I love the Plex. Nowhere else can you get that close to the action.

Posted by: Pedalada | July 22, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

1. Photos I saw were on a photographer's camera viewfinder after the game. Hoping DCU will post video of the incident on its website today.

2. I added the wrist to the list of soccerplex incidents.

Posted by: Steve Goff | July 22, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Good race today.

Posted by: Reignking | July 22, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks -- I'll look for it. Based only on the injury reports, it doesn't seem plausible all that damage came from a bad landing, without some contribution from the sliding DiRai. I hope both players recover. It can't be easy to be DiRai right now, either.

Posted by: fischy | July 22, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Plus, it would have been a great roadtrip. Early September in Seattle is gorgeous.

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

Road trip to Seattle? I'm pretty sure it's not on the DC Metro. Can't get United fans there.

Posted by: fischy | July 22, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

We can joke about DCU playing all home games for 2 years in USOC but this is a clear example of where fan support and atmosphere makes a difference. Not just in "winning at home" but more importantly, USSF decides to go with the venue that sells tickets and has fan support. Or the organization outbids the other team for rights to host because of the supporter's groups and the team's desire to treat all competitions as important.

I know Seattle would sell more seats to a final. But we (DCU) got a chance to host the final because we made it to the final. And playing at home was a big factor in that run. And the fan support influenced where the games where held in a lot of those cases (one way or another). So when clubs talk about the fans as "the 12th man", in this case they're spot-on.

Posted by: JoeW1 | July 22, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: OWNTF | July 22, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

- The SoccerPlex is not for the faint of heart.

- MD has better health care than DC.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 22, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Not for long.........it will be crappola for us all I-270.

And why go on the road? The home thing has worked out pretty well. Last year was great watching at RFK. Can't wait for this year's.

Posted by: googlio | July 22, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Gooch Update:

He was officially introduced by Milan yesterday in Atlanta and practiced with the team. From this quote:

Onyewu is up for the challenge, noting the appropriateness of tonight’s game being a couple of hours south of where he played his college ball. “It’s like good karma or something,” he said. “To be so close to Clemson and then to be starting with Milan here. I’m excited. I want to help this team win a lot of trophies. That would be pretty amazing.”

it sounds like he may get some playing time tonight.

http://www.ussoccerplayers.com/ussoccerplayers/2009/07/onyewu-its-pretty-amazing.html

Posted by: Josh8 | July 22, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

DCU has played at home in the US Open Cup for 2 years because we have outbid every team we have faced. It certaily helps that the luck of the brackets has paired us with mostly lower division teams that don't have the financial strength that we do.

This is a credit to the FO. They consistently outbid the other teams becasue DCU values trophies more than most other clubs. You can see in our lineups that we rest some players, but if things go south we aren't hesitant to bring in the big guns to get the result. When we went cheap 3 years ago we lost in Harrisburg.

Seattle seems to be another FO that "gets it". We are lucky that they have an availabiity issue with Qwest or they might have outbid us, we'll never know for sure.

I think I am in the minority, but I like the US Open Cup. I was listening to Limarzi and watching the Twitter updates last night with my 12 year-old son. Last year I took my whole family to the final. The environmnet was great. Even though it was only 8,400 fans every one of them wanted to be there and the quiet side was singing and chanting too. Loved the "Fortress RFK" banner! Last year was a school night and we went anyway. This year is still summer vacation and I'm bringing the whole fam again!

Vamos United!

Posted by: Golden_Child | July 22, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

REREAD VBB's comment. That's what it's all about.

Anyone who has ST and may not be able to attend please hoot and holler. I'll be selling this game to everyone I know for a month. Hopefully United puts more effort into marketing this match than they did making sure their fans would be able to watch the Semi.

I really don't think anyone should automatically expect more people in Seattle. They spent a long year, building hype, Disney style marketing, and offering rock bottom season ticket packages to get the numbers they have now. Who couldn't afford $300 bucks over the course of a year?

Posted by: DadRyan | July 22, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

It's gotta be because the fans are too close to the action....

Posted by: fischy | July 22, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Why are games at the Soccerplex so often chippy and intense?

- DC only plays there in a lose-and-go-home tournament. No one wants to go home.
- Lower level teams in the US often have no problem upping their level of aggression when they can't match for skill.
- When our opponents in the USOC are MLS teams, they're almost always heated Eastern rivals (like Chicago last year).
- Driving up to Germantown/Boyds makes people angry because there's almost always traffic.

There is a strange part of me that kind of misses having a 2 hour drive to wherever for an early round USOC game. They've been mostly fun (though the 2004 loss at Richmond, in which Nana Kuffour somehow scored on a header for us, came packaged with an 11:15pm traffic jam in the VA hinterlands that added about 90 minutes to my drive home).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 22, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@Dad -- who are you kidding? If this had been a night game, they would have sold at least 20,000 tickets @Qwest. With a title at stake in their first year, they probably would have sold as many as they do for MLS games. A sell-out.

Still, it's their loss and our gain. Vamos United.

Posted by: fischy | July 22, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I love games at the Plex. You can really see the players upclose...maybe I'm just biased as my son practices there 2 times per week and its only 15 minutes from my house

Posted by: gcbigdog | July 22, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

fischy, I'm not kidding. All that glitters isn't necessarily Rave Green confetti. If there was a way to poll these STHers in Seattle I bet you 5 bucks you'd find plenty of people who barely even knew the tournament was going on. Were people really beating down the doors in Tukwila?

Read the message boards, there is obviously a core group of old school Sounders fans and even some new hard cores but seriously, there are plenty of people on those boards who don't understand what the OC is, or haven't until last week, and plenty of people who have no concept of why it was smart to play their matches at Starfire.
If DCU got a new stadium and we had a long run up on Season Tickets we'd have numbers comparable to theirs at the start of the season. Many folks here in DC, have been turned off by the fumbling on Stadium issues, and the conditions at RFK.
Even if we had all that, it still doesn't change the fact that they wouldn't be able to draw that crowd on a weeknight regardless of the stadium being downtown.

The reason they didn't move forward with their bid on the final I think is that Hanuer doesn't believe he could get a "sell out" for this event, and that is something he will not risk.
Don't blame it on parking fiasco, and baseball and don't let the pixie dust fool you!!!

Posted by: DadRyan | July 22, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention there are plenty of Sounders fans showing up for the games they paid for, and don't understand the concept of that tournament yet. That being said, there are plenty here in the DC area that are the same way. I've been to games this year with some casual fans who don't even know that the Sounders exist.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 22, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

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