Maryland United

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In what can only be described as a tragedy of epic proportions for MLS and the club, DC United today announced its intent to build a stadium in Prince George’s County Maryland. Give credit to PG’s county for stepping up but a big MLS Talk dart to the District of Columbia and DC Council for forcing this to happen.

DC United’s atmosphere through the thirteen years of Major League Soccer’s existence has been second to none. RFK Stadium has produced the sort of mixture of fans that other longtime MLS franchises can only dream of. Using the Orange and Blue lines on the Metro to access RFK, a multi ethnic crowd of suburbanites, urban dwellers, Salvadorians, Bolivians, Argentines, Kenyans, Ethiopians, Brazilians, etc, etc made their way to cheer for United in what is arguably the most cosmopolitan American city.

I understand that DC United has little choice in this matter. The City of Washington and the Distirct of Columbia (essentially the same entity) are to blame for this mess. Of the seven potential sites discussed Monday, five are close to a Metro Station.  Regardless of accessibility to the new stadium, the flavor that has made DC United, the signature franchise of MLS and also the leagues historic Goliath will never be the same. United will be just like any other side, playing in the suburbs, squandering the unique mix of cultures and elements that only a cosmopolitan city center can bring.

DC United’s success in MLS’ first thirteen seasons has been the league’s success. Twelve trophies, including the inter-American Cup and the CONCACAF Champions Cup, notable friendly victories over the likes of Newcastle and Spurs (at White Hart Lane) and a respect level in Latin America unmatched by any other MLS team. Let us all hope that this isn’t the end of that exceptional tradition.

9 thoughts on “Maryland United”

  1. I’m a little concerned by the potential move. I agree with the piece entirely and hope a move to the suburbs does not disrupt the unique character of DC United that has been developed over time.

  2. IIRC, the city’s name is, “Washington, District of Columbia.”

    One could argue that the team’s name, DC, is just DC. In fact, I’ll make that argument.

    Where does the name “District of Columbia” appear in the team’s name? It doesn’t.

  3. Just like it has been since the day it opened, the Metro is the key. Put it close to a Metro station and you have a world class soccer stadium. The local political borders are far less important than being in walking distance to the Metro.

    As a Washingtonian D.C. United fan I can say that a new stadium inside the beltway that is a short walk to the Metro will be an experience I will be happy to pay for. You have to understand that it was the inner suburbs on a Metro or a move to another city. This will be great for the team, the league, and the sport in our nation. Maybe not perfect but not like Frisco.

    You must also understand that the inner suburbs of an east coast city is far more urban than most parts of every other U.S. city. Landover is not Frisco. It’s more like a middle or outer part of an NYC borough. The difference is that Washington couldn’t annex its inner suburbs like New York.

  4. Tragedy of epic proportions? That’s a bit dramatic.

    The sites they are exploring are literally 15 minutes from RFK Stadium, maybe even less. If an “ethnic crowd of suburbanites, urban dwellers, Salvadorians, Bolivians, Argentines, Kenyans, Ethiopians, Brazilians” can make it to RFK, they can make it to Prince George’s County.

  5. Kartik,
    what is wrong with RFK besides the fact that it has the upper deck. Can’t they design advertising around the upper deck so that it does not appear as empty, I think they have already done this. I went to a game there last season and thought it was a great venue. I don’t understand the logic of building a brand new stadium, please explain.

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