Spring Has Sprung (?), and D.C. United Opens Its Season

Spring has apparently sprung today, as D.C. United opened its season against the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium tonight. While the game itself ended in a tie, we felt like winners for being able to observe what was for our crew as a whole its first Major League Soccer game.

The walk over was cold and wet yet beautiful, punctuated by occasional bursts of fireworks. We also enjoyed passing the older fighter jet and helicopter outside the D.C. Armory that houses the D.C. National Guard, where soldiers were leaving, perhaps having finished weekend training exercises.

Getting into RFK was an adventure; no umbrellas allowed, the engaging and polite guards told us, so we left them outside where we were able to collect them at the game’s conclusion. We were duly searched — requiring us to even lift our hat — and once our apple was found (we didn’t know it was contraband), we also had to leave that with the umbrella. Naturally, we also reclaimed said apple afterwards and we’re pleased to report it was in good shape.

Once on the stadium premises, we got to observe a fireworks display once, when #10 scored the only goal D.C. United won, 80 minutes into the match. The game incidentally ended in a 1–1 tie, even after the extra two minutes allotted to see if a winner could emerge.

We could have stood a better view of the unfolding game than what was offered from our seats near what once was home plate when the then-new D.C. Nationals played at the stadium, so once during a bathroom break we found a good spot to observe. We were duly impressed by the skill on display once we could see the entire field. We would have liked to see ushers more in evidence in the stands.

Most of all, we missed having an announcer. With small screens within the stadium and the action on the field a bit difficult to observe, occasional commentary might have helped. Although the announcer did remark on goals and switch-ins and -outs of players, which was helpful.

We were particularly pleased by the range of ages, equitable mix of genders and the mix of attendees’ ethnicities. There must have been about 10,000 attendees. We are guessing that the somewhat reasonable cost to attend (we paid approximately $24 per adult) and the access to mass transit help make D.C. United accessible to many, though not all, metropolitan area residents. The food, too, was not overly exorbitantly priced, at approximately $10 per entree, $4 per drink and $5 per side and dessert. In total, we consumed one of each.

Big thanks to Stephanie Smith, D.C. United group sales account executive, for helping to make this possible and with a personal touch to boot. And also to the D.C. Public Schools for coming up with a sensible student contest to emphasize attendance.

On the whole, we were pleased and may return. While RFK Stadium is most certainly not well suited to soccer games — we actually liked it better for baseball — we do like the accessibility and next time we’ll try to find better seats.

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