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DC United Lines Up Quality Friendlies


Photo by Mikey loves Barcelona

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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  1. Mike

    March 24, 2011 at 1:10 am

    do the MLS players get paid bonuses/appearance fees for playing in these friendlies or are they just on their MLS salary?

    It’d be pretty ridiculous if they’re not getting a cut when in some cases (ie. New England) you’re looking at probably the equivalent in gate receipts to 6 regular season games for 1 friendly.

    • Charles

      March 24, 2011 at 11:02 am

      I wonder how much the MLS teams make off of these games ?

      I know everyone likes to call ManU, etc CLUBS, but they are a for profit corporation just like em all……
      as such those teams don’t come over for free.

  2. Lukumanu iddrisu

    March 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Wel, international friendlies can help to add something to your tactics. So, i think its not bad to play with such teams.

  3. Charles

    March 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    You know how you turn on the TV and you can judge what you are watching by the commercials, you can definitely do that with Blogs too.

    Read the comment section and know how good the post was.

    Like the Why the English Find….post.. that has Chia Pet and down past Money Tree commerical type comments.

    A story about Big Named Friendlies is definitely a mixed bag.

    A blog about soccer, brings out the Gieco commercial comments.

  4. Charles

    March 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    My friends that I sold my tickets to in the past…..
    They don’t follow MLS all the sudden. Maybe as a general awareness it helps in the future.

    Robert Hay, when is the article about our Fantasy league coming out ?
    All you have to do it post the standings of the 20 members.

    I need to talk smack before I fall from 5th.
    I am predicting a BIG weekend this week for me.

  5. Charles

    March 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

    These games are definitely for the casual fans.

    Enjoy the games, but friendlies do not boast DCs international profile.
    Sounders are playing Man U this year ( I guess, the Sounders still had not announced it even though everyone else did ), they gave us the option of opting the game out of our season tickets. It was $75 per ticket roughly. Rediculous. Last year we paid through the nose for Celtic and Boca Juniors, both of who just aren’t that good, so you end up watching a bunch of subs play in the meaningless game.

    I hope they sell out QWest ( and RFK ) and make a lot of money off of the casual fan to help support the real season.
    ……but I and many others could NOT care less. Sitting with a bunch of tools wearing a Man U or Real Mardrid jersey is not on my bucket list.

    • Alan

      March 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Eh, I don’t mind the friendlies. Its good to mix things up a bit I suppose. It definitely doesn’t add anything to the regular season. Its fun, and it helps get people interested, I think…

      • Robert

        March 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

        Got to agree Charles. Friendlies just reinforce to the causual fan that MLS sucks. After last years All-Star game I was watching the game at a bar and some guys were bashing MLS due to the beating they suffered to Man U 5-2. If MLS marches what they call All-Stars onto the field and lose to a bunch of subs (5-2) it does nothing for the league.

        • Charles

          March 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

          Well that is not what I said at all, but thanks for twisting my words into a dumb comment.

          Speaking of casual fans who troll….how is your fantasy team doing ?

          • Robert

            March 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

            Not sure I completely forgot about it right now. I’ll check in a bit. What group are you in?

            Glad that you liked how I twisted your words around to be an anti MLSer.. AHAHAH.

          • Robert

            March 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm

            Charles, just joined the MLS Talk. 5th Ranking!

        • Alan

          March 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

          Well, I will say this. Neither team really used their best players as effectively as they could have. Man U didn’t have all subs. They are a team that wins EPL every other year because someone threw a bunch of money at them to buy some of the world’s best players. Most of the real MLS All Stars did not play much. The roster was really weird overall. With that, you can’t take it that seriously. Its just a friendly for the casual fans. Thats all. The problem is that eurosnobs then read more into it than what it is.

        • Alan

          March 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

          Not only that, but you’re talking about a collection of players that never play together. They play against each other. Try throwing some random EPL players together and see how they gel. Lets not forget Kansas City’s win over Man U with second stringers like Berbatov, Giggs, Nani, Park, etc. But then again it was just a friendly that didn’t mean anything.

        • Charles

          March 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm

          Wow, I thought I was doing ok and then I find out I am tied with a MLS hater troll.

          That just ruined my day.

    • SSReporters

      March 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      The point of these friendlies has never been used to measure MLS qualities, it’s to make as much money as possible. So reading your comment…I think I agree. With Charles. This feels wrong.

      And given how our seasons are out-of-sync with most of the world imagine if someone like Montero got injured by a 3rd string Man Utd player trying to make the squad. Montero is out for 2 months in a completely meaningless friendly.

      I really don’t like doing this during the season.

    • Mattchew of NC

      March 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Thought I would post this here, as I don’t know where else to do so….

      Why is it that, it seems that The Uk & The English speaking Europeans; are more interested in MLS Soccer than most Americans??!! Case in point: Sky Sports is airing a One Hour long special on Thierry Henry and The New York Red Bulls, and it’s PRIME-TIME!! It Aires Next Monday, April, 4th in Europe, not just the UK, (if you know about European TV, Sky Sports is Brocated all over Europe, and is arguably the no. 1 Sports Network.) Can you imagine ESPN, airing anything about Soccer?? Other than, the odd Game here and there, usually not even starting until 10:00PM Eastern Time. I usually go to bed b4 freakin half-time!! The Sports Media over here does absolutely nothing for the advancment of Top Flight Footy in America, and yet, Major League continues to grow. In Spite of the Sports Guru’s, insidieous comments, the league will become more and more relevant, despite the efforts of Jim Rome, etc. It won’t be until my generation (born 1980 -1990) gets on the Tube to get footy it’s fair due, and that may be at least another 5 years, probably 10 years.
      Anyway, Anyone know where to watch Sky Sports Thierry Henry Special??

      • Dave C

        March 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

        Brocated….I think you’ve just coined a new phrase. Where are my bros at? They are brocated at a brocation! Bromancing, no doubt!

      • Charles

        March 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

        Mattchew of NC

        I got news for you, the Henry special isn’t because the UK is clamouring for MLS news and more interested in MLS than Americans.

        They are interested in Henry and he happens to sit on the bench injured in MLS.

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