City Desk

United We Leave…or Not

I wrote this week about DC United's management and fans giving up on DC.

I don't want the team to leave town. And though I grew up in the DC suburbs, the idea of building sports venues outside the city is so retro. Not good retro, like the opening riff of "Sweet Home Alabama."* Bad retro, like the Ayds Candy Plan.

The spots that United claims to crave are both in Landover, a corner kick from where Abe Pollin's Capital Centre* once stood. When Abe moved downtown and imploded his old building, I figured the era of the suburban sports venue was dead around here. Redskins fans already knew that they were stuck with a disaster in FedExField by then.

So I was surprised to hear so much support for a PG County site from United's fan base, which is, from my experience, smarter and younger and more cosmopolitan (and, of course, smaller) than any other local team's base. Their cheerleading for the soccer team bizarrely extends to management's whims, even when it'd be hard to argue that a move to Maryland would be good for current United supporters.

But, as I think the team and its fans will find out pretty quick, nobody in PG will be building any stadium for anybody any time soon. Maybe the feud between the team and the DC government will cool by the time the recession ends. Look for several more years of United at RFK, and then it's Poplar Point or bust.

*Skynyrd opened for the Who on Dec. 6, 1973, the week Capital Centre opened. A photo from that show was used in the poster that came with "Odds and Sods." Don't get me started...

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  • Tim Dickson

    A fine piece except it misses the most important point. Right now its either Prince George's County, or St. Louis, Missouri. Which one of those two options do you think DC United fans would prefer?

  • Chris

    The chances of getting a stadium built inside the District within the next five years are zero. I wish that weren't true. But that's the reality of the situation.

    I don't know what the chances are of getting a stadium built within the next five years in Prince George's County. I'm willing to believe they're small, but I don't think they're zero.

    But here's a high likelihood one for you: if DCU *isn't* able to get a stadium built within the next five years -- which means starting to move earth sometime in the next three -- then the chances that the team is gone to St. Louis or one of the other expansion cities clamoring to the League offices for a team to is 100%. Both the League and the owners have made it clear that the stadium is necessary for the team to be profitable, and they're absolutely not willing to continue to lose money year after year on the team.

    As a DCU fan, I support the stadium at Morgan Blvd, not because I'm so excited about it (heck, it's a short walk to RFK for me right now), but because I'm more excited about that than I am about not having a team at all.

    So in response to your last paragraph, it's either several more years of United at RFK while a stadium gets built in PG, or it's bust. Period.

  • Adams Morgan

    Um, there are plenty of us out there, season ticket holders for more than a decade noless, who will not be making the move to PG County

  • Chris

    Adams-Morgan -- the team hopes to move to a location that's 15 minutes further out East Capitol Street, or alternately four Blue line Metro stops further out than Stadium/Armory. 15 minutes, or 4 Metro stops, is too far? Wow, OK. But would you rather there be *no team at all* than have the team move to that location?

  • Dave McKenna

    Tim & Chris:
    you really think MLS would trade DC for St. Louis? you really think MLS would implode its flagship franchise, which has won twice as many championships as any other team in the league, for a couple quick bucks?

    well,sure they would and sure they would! two words: Beckham!

    but, i don't think it's gonna happen. it'd be too penny wise, pound foolish even for MLS.

    i don't go to many United games anymore. but if the team moves to PG, i'm sure i won't go to any.

  • Adams Morgan

    Chris, clearly you're not familiar with D.C. traffic of the state of crap that our Metro system can be at times. 15 minutes additional by car and four more Metro stops can be a lifetime.

    The option of walking (from the Hill area), or taking the bus to the games as we've often done will be a thing of the past if they make the move to P.G.

    For me, again, a season ticket holder since the inaugural season in 1996, a team in P.G. will be like having no team at all

  • http::// randomduck

    Another season ticket holder here who won't follow them to PG County as a matter of principle.

  • La Barra Brava Member

    Doesn't anybody remember the Brookly Dodgers anymore? Why do I feel like history is about to repeat?

    You would think someone in the DC or MD Governments could learn from another's mistakes when it came to sports, at least ....

  • BK

    Some good points, Dave. Just to explain, though, our cheerleading for a PG County site is really just cheerleading for any site. We all agree that we'd have preferred Poplar Point, but the District screwed so we are more than happy to move on to a new caller who appreciates us. PG or bust....perhaps literally.

  • EdTheRed

    Uh, Dave? From the day Cap Centre opened to the day it was imploded, there was no Metro access. The Metro stops out there came later. As a guy living in DC with no car, that makes a huge PG but no Metro = bad, in PG but near Metro = not ideal, but a damn sight better than St. Louis. I don't know anybody who wouldn't prefer Poplar Point, but that ship has sailed.

  • Dave McKenna


    why so saucy? why the "uh"? who said Cap Centre was Metro accessible, ETR? if i read your little rant right, ETR, i think you are trying to give me a history lesson on the Cap Centre!

    one word: DON'T EVEN!

    i put the last line of my post -- "Don't get me started!" -- for a reason, ETR. and now you went and got me started!

    i'll have you know i saw led zeppelin, yes (the day Elvis died!) and Jethro Tull (five times in five years) and a thousand other dirtball bands in that building, ETR! i'm obsessed with the Cap Centre!

    so: DON'T EVEN!

    but back to the matter at hand: DC United will move to St. Louis the same way Major League Baseball will award the Expos to Portland, Ore.

    don't believe the hype, ETR.

    but thanks for Playing the Feud!

  • angle_fire