DC United Lines Up Quality Friendlies
I will be the first to admit that my proximity to RFK Stadium may color my biases a little bit. But after seeing DC United’s press release on their latest friendly, I have to be impressed with this club. Despite playing in less than stellar facilities and finishing last in MLS last season, the club continues to line up some of the biggest name clubs in the world for friendlies.
Yesterday the club announced that it will host the EPL’s Everton on July 23 at RFK. Everton, for those not fans of the English game, are one of England’s more prominent clubs that are currently in eighth place in the Barclay’s Premier League. The biggest name on the team for American fans is U.S. national keeper Tim Howard, but some of the bigger name Everton players include Australian international Tim Cahill, England star Phil Neville, Sideshow Bob look alike Marouane Fellaini, and rising English star Jack Rodwell.
The Everton friendly is the second announced one this season; DC United had previously announced that it will play Ajax on May 22 at RFK. Ajax is one of the Netherland’s most famous clubs and one of five clubs to repeat as European champions. Currently they sit in third place in the Dutch Eredivisie and boast international stars like Maarten Stekelenburg and defender Gregory van der Wiel, who both played for the World Cup runner-up Dutch side. Interestingly, there is an odd connection between Ajax and DC: Ajax’s most famous player Johan Cruyff played at RFK Stadium in the early 1980s as a member of the Washington Diplomats.
DC United is currently planning a third international friendly but the club has a recent history of bringing the world’s biggest names to RFK. Last season, the team hosted (and defeated) AC Milan in a much publicized match. Other famous opponents include FC Celtic (2006), Chelsea (2005), Leeds United (1996), Newcastle (2000), and Real Madrid (2009). While some people dismiss these kinds of matches as no more than pointless wastes of time and energy, DC United’s aggressive international scheduling gives the team positive attention and boosts its international profile.
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