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Tuesday kickaround: Paul the Octopus passes away, D.C. United's coaching and stadium situation, picture-perfect image from RFK Stadium

*A moment of silence for Paul the Octopus, the World Cup prognosticator who gained international fame over the summer. He passed away of natural causes at age 2 1/2.

*The full story on D.C. United's coaching search, including comments from Ben Olsen.

*MLS Commissioner Don Garber, on United's future: "It is going to require an expanded ownership group -- Will Chang is very open to that, and bringing in a local investor -- and it will require a soccer-specific stadium or a stadium that this team controls. We're in a bit of a holding pattern, anxiously awaiting the electoral process [mayor's race] to go through. Hopefully the club will be able to sit down with new leadership and continue to tell their story as to why keeping D.C. United in D.C. is good for the community. It's D.C. United, and I'd love to see it stay here in the District. But if we can't get a solution to the stadium, we can't stay here and we'll have to look to other options."

DCU President Kevin Payne: "We're waiting for the results of the financial feasibility study in Baltimore [probably next month] and we're working with a couple of developers in D.C. to try to explore a site. We hope to have serious discussions with the District once the election has passed and the presumptive mayor [Vincent Gray] gets a chance to get his transition under control."

*Great shot by veteran photographer Tony Quinn:
dcuwall.jpg

By Steve Goff  | October 26, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup, D.C. United, MLS  | Tags:  Paul the Octopus  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Americans abroad, TV listings (Tuesday edition)
Next: Looking ahead to USA friendly at South Africa

Comments

When I saw Paul the Octopus mentioned, I thought he was going to be in a tank with all 8 MLS teams, picking the winner.

Pulpo gallego time for Jose Andres.

Posted by: Reignking | October 26, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

So Garber's hoping Gray will be more amenable to have the city pay the bulk of the cost of a new stadium than Fenty was? Good luck.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | October 26, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

@Juan-John1 | October 26, 2010 9:02 AM

I don't think that's what Garber or Payne said at all. The city won't pay the bulk and they know that.

Posted by: Boogie_Knight | October 26, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Quinn does great work.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | October 26, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

PAul the Octopus is dead? It's got to be Bob Bradley's fault.

Posted by: FulhamDC | October 26, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

For Halloween we should all put on our replicas, bleach our hair*, and go as Jaime.

* exemption granted to Rand-al-Thor

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 26, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"Paul is dead."

Steve, you missed the chance for a great and musically historic headline.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 26, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Kev29 | October 26, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

2010 attendance averages arer in. Note the drop in attendance over the past 2 years for DCU.

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/40114/mls-attendance-on-the-rise.html

Posted by: timmy6 | October 26, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

There's some good-sized gaps in that wall.

Posted by: soccerman | October 26, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

2010 attendance averages are in. Note the drop in attendance over the past 2 years for DCU.

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/40114/mls-attendance-on-the-rise.html

Posted by: timmy6 | October 26, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

2010 attendance averages are in. Note the drop in attendance over the past 2 years for DCU.

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/40114/mls-attendance-on-the-rise.html

Posted by: timmy6 | October 26, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

2010 attendance averages are in. Note the drop in attendance over the past 2 years for DCU.

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/40114/mls-attendance-on-the-rise.html

Posted by: timmy6 | October 26, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the multiple posts. My computer was freaking out.

Posted by: timmy6 | October 26, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@ I-270Exit1

+1

I remember that to hear "Paul is Dead" you had to play the record backwards on your turntable...too bad we can't do the same with DC United's season.

Posted by: soccerman | October 26, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think we will keep Perkins and Burch? Just asking. At the before gamer w/Kevin Payne we went to he praised Perkins to the sky. It was all I could do not to puke.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | October 26, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

2010 attendance averages arer in. Note the drop in attendance over the past 2 years for DCU.

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/40114/mls-attendance-on-the-rise.html

Posted by: timmy6
---------------------------

DCU average attendance this year was just 14,532 (a 13% decrease after a 19% decrease the year before). Sad. And it's got to be seriously hurting them in the pocketbook.

In 2001 we lead the league with 21,518.

Seems like a lifetime ago.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | October 26, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I saw an article recently saying that several MLS teams were outdrawing their NBA counterparts (e.g., Galaxy/Clippers; NYRB/Nets). Attendance up, more good DPs = good for MLS and US soccer fans in general, if not for those in DC.

Posted by: OWNTF | October 26, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Photos of mourners at Paul's funeral here, here, and here

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 26, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

TINO: "Not in the face!"

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | October 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"For Halloween we should all put on our replicas, bleach our hair*, and go as Jaime.

* exemption granted to Rand-al-Thor

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 26, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse"

_____________________

I expected the whole DCU squad to do that last Saturday. Too bad!

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | October 26, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or am I correctly hearing that DCU is going to continue to do the same things and expect a different result?

Posted by: carnack | October 26, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

While I'm on my soapbox, I recall a letter last year where the ownership talked about accountably. I DO NOT CONSIDER keeping the same failing management components as "accountability.". This organization has been systematically driven into the ground in terms of performance and viewing appeal. It is clear to me that the ability to assess a player's potential in MLS is virtually non-existent.

I now regret renewing my season tickets, but Mr. Chang, unless a better product is on the field next year - read that as "substantially better product" - I will not make that mistake next year.

Posted by: carnack | October 26, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm a glass-half-full guy but this is depressing:

1) Their decisionmaking about big-ticket DPs is based not on whether such players would help, but whether or not the current owner can depend on the kindness of a stranger to make it happen. Of course it's been obvious that this is the case for awhile, but this blatant singing of the "I ain't got no money blues" -- ouch.

2)What on earth do they think Gray will do differently? Were they quietly offering to pay 95% of the stadium bill before, and Fenty was turning them down? I doubt that; I assume anyone who is mayor will say, "If you can pay for 95% of a stadium here, be my guest; otherwise, good night and good luck."

Posted by: fallschurch1 | October 26, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't help but feeling that last Saturday at RFK wasn't just the end of Jaime's career, but the end of something bigger.

Simply stated, the fate of the team staying in DC hinges on the whims of V. Gray and a possible investor who has yet to come forward, even though we've been trying to find one for months if not years. I read that Garber's position is if you can't swing it with the next mayor, its a bon voyage to Baltimore or elsewhere scenario. The future is bleak.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | October 26, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Chang on accountability, sometime after the 2008 season:

"Kevin [Payne] will also assist in the oversight of the team operations, provide his advice and be part of the decision-making process on player selection and other aspects of that area of our business. However, the primary responsibility and accountability will be with General Manager Dave Kasper, who will also report directly to us. Tommy [Soehn] remains the coach of the team."

Full post from Goff here. Kinda comical.

Oh, and the original statement isn't on dcunited.com anymore. Wonder why.

Posted by: benonthehill | October 26, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I've said this a couple of times a year or so ago, isn't Garber an old NFL guy? Does he not have the ties to get into talks with Snyder about a visionary plan to build a SSS in Lot 8 or 7, implode RFK once that's done and make room for the inevitable UberSkinsDome that should be built there?!?!?!?!? I know politicians have a hard time seeing the "big picture" beyond the office and the terms they are running for, but surely a guy like Snyder is going to be a part of the Skins 3 or 4 more decades right???

The plan has to include backing by the Redskins, it doesn't have to mean money or investment from them, but it does need their clout and the vision has to be plopped on the table for Danny boy to see this.

Garber needs to help with this. Instead of acting like a typical cat who doesn't know jack about Washington, he's gotta start talking to the right people. I.E., Snyder and Redskins Nation.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 26, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

DR: You managed to avoid mentioning the National Park Service, which owns the site and would be a major player in any decision concerning the future of the site. The process will take years and involve neighborhood input, environmental impact studies, etc.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 26, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@DadRyan

The rules giving the RFK land to the District stipulated only one stadium could be built there so it would actually require an act of Congress to change that.
We all know the 'Skins will be coming back to the RFK land eventually so no way DC lets DCU build on it without that act of Congress and since Congress does nothing that will benefit only the District that is a pipe-dream.

Posted by: rockotodd | October 26, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I believe DC owns the RFK land now, the Park Service owns the Popular Point land.

Posted by: rockotodd | October 26, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I am looking forward to the Vincent Gray era . . . . out of morbid curiosity

Posted by: OWNTF | October 26, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I re-read with interest the posts about Soehn losing the team. It is my fear that Payne/Kasper are losing the fans. The only question remaining is who will leave first: Payne/Kasper from the team, or the team from DC.

I'm depressed.

Posted by: carnack | October 26, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The plan has to include backing by the Redskins, it doesn't have to mean money or investment from them, but it does need their clout and the vision has to be plopped on the table for Danny boy to see this.

_______________________________________

Since when has Danny boy ever shown a hint of being visionary?

Posted by: ds_kelly | October 26, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, once again I shall draw comparisons to the Sonics in Seattle.
The powers that be drove that team well into the ground so that there was barely a wimper when they were finally taken to Oklahoma.

Lets rewind back to the tailgate in Charleston before the coffee pot cup match in early 09 and I recall a couple DCU supporters almost wanting to smack me around for making such a "ridiculous" comparison. A move to Baltimore would probably not have the same effect on my interest in MLS that the Sonics swindle had on my interest in the NBA (it was still a long time coming), but let's just say I haven't watched basketball since. There is a good chance that it would piss me off enough that I might never spend another penny in DC though.

I'm not saying DC owes me jack, but it's stomach churning that there is so much red tape in a place that something that makes so much sense can't be figured out because so few people are willing to pull their heads out of their butt holes.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 26, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Didn't say Danny was a visionary. I said someone with the vision, and the ability to sell that vision needs to get at people who truly influence the masses to buy in to THAT vision.

Actually, what I was really getting at was that Garber needs to do something other than flap his lips and pull any strings he can.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 26, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

@Rockotodd -- You can believe anything you want. The land RFK is on is owned and leased to the District by the federal government. The District owns the stadium, not the land it's on. As for the other property -- it's called Poplar Point. The land there is owned by various federal agencies, but is to be transferred to the District, once a development plan is presented and approved.

Which brings me to correct another misunderstanding -- The discussions over the proposed Poplar Point stadium never involved teh notion of hte District paying for a stadium. In contrast to other outside properties, DCU always planned to actually construct and own the stadium. Under MacFarlane's proposal, the team would also own and develop a pretty big swath of of surrounding property, which they would need to finance the stadium. When Fenty squashed that plan, by turning to other developers, the team did not abandon the idea of building the stadium on their own. The sticking point was that the team was insisting that the city pay for more than $100 million (perhaps over $200 million) of local infrastructure improvements that would be needed to make the stadium usable and accessible.

They did not ask the city to pay for the stadium.

Presumably, Chang has no interest nor the resources to become a developer himself. However, it's reasonable to think that there's an investor out there who might be. The question is whether Gray will commit to the ancillary expenses -- construction which would not be stadium land.

Posted by: fischy | October 26, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I believe DC owns the RFK land now, the Park Service owns the Popular Point land.

Posted by: rockotodd | October 26, 2010 2:17 PM
_________________________________________

Actually, you have it reversed.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 27, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

At least the commissioner's statement has finally once and for all shut up the idiots that continue to post the "why can't they just stay at RFK" comments.

We're in stoppage time right now. It will take a miracle for this team to stay in DC. Personally, I believe this rhetoric is political posturing that can be pointed to once they have committed to Baltimore. At least Baltimore is just a few miles further for me. Vamos MD United!

Posted by: croftonpost | October 27, 2010 5:17 AM | Report abuse

"The sticking point was that the team was insisting that the city pay for more than $100 million (perhaps over $200 million) of local infrastructure improvements that would be needed to make the stadium usable and accessible. . . . The question is whether Gray will commit to the ancillary expenses"

Wikipedia is telling me that the Chicago Fire stadium was around $98 million; NYRB stadium, around $200m. The answer to this question above would be, then, no way.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | October 27, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I think it's curious that the Maryland Stadium Authority's feasibility study report keeps getting pushed back. (It was initially going to come out in Sept now it's Nov). I'm thinking that the MSA and DC United have already come to an agreement and that, for political reasons, they're waiting until after the November elections to make some kind of joint announcement. Any thoughts?

Posted by: cidcamp70 | October 27, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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