RFK Stadium is an American soccer treasure. Some treasures, though, need to sink to the bottom of the deep blue sea.
The old chest on East Capitol Street holds a wealth of memories and history. And no venue in America keeps the sound of a crackling crowd on a warm summer night like RFK. Goal — BOOM!
Unlike most U.S. stadiums, the place has got soul. It’s also got problems. We have known that for more than a decade. It is, after all, a 53-year-old structure beyond repair.
Every last D.C. United season ticket holder probably has a story about an RFK blemish they have encountered. Those stories are told with a chuckle because, although RFK is a dump, it’s a lovable dump. And it’s ours.
A new stadium at Buzzard Point is in the works. DCU has never been so close to a striking a deal. It’s probably going to happen. At which point, RFK will fall and the vulgar Danny Dome will rise.
Until that happens, until the gates swing open to a 20,000-seater in Southwest D.C. and crowds flow in from the waterfront to watch MLS, college and international matches, we must make do with RFK. Cherish the moments, and as reporters experienced in the press box Wednesday night, dodge the falling concrete.
Midway through the second half in the last game of the Copa Centroamericana tripleheader, bouncing fans caused chunks to break free from the underside of the upper deck. Two pieces, perhaps the size of small books, crashed onto a sloped surface between the long tabletop in the front row and the edge of the mezzanine above the broadcast booths. No one was hurt. No one could have gotten hurt: The affected area is well in front of the work area. Ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights hang above the media seats. Still, it startled those nearby and caused a stir throughout the press box.
This was not my first experience with falling concrete at RFK. I had been given the night off from covering a D.C. United match but attended, anyway. I was in the lower bowl with a colleague when several chunks fell from the underside of the mezzanine level and crashed onto unoccupied seats two sections from where we were watching.
That was 15 years ago.
More photos from the latest incident: