D.C. United officials have proposed playing a doubleheader with the world champion U.S. women's national team early next month at RFK Stadium and would consider moving the date of one of its league matches to accommodate it.
The U.S. Soccer Federation is in the final stages of planning a domestic tour for the women's team, and RFK is under consideration. The date for the game here, likely against another team that qualified for the Women's World Cup this summer, probably would be Sept. 4 or 5, United President and General Manager Kevin Payne said.
United has a Sept. 4 home match scheduled against the Dallas Burn, but Payne said if a deal could be worked out for the women's game, he would consider playing his team's match a day later.
In other developments, Payne said United will not play in the U.S. Open Cup next year unless the USSF, which runs the tournament, sets aside playing dates well in advance so teams such as United would have their full rosters available.
United was upset Wednesday, 4-3 in sudden-death overtime, in its round-of-16 match against the minor league Charleston (S.C.) Battery. D.C. was without four all-stars who had been on U.S. national team duty at the Confederations Cup in Mexico.
"People should have known -- I knew -- that we would be missing a lot of players," said Payne, who raised the matter with USSF officials last week at meetings in Louisville and plans to formally notify the federation of his club's plans soon.
"It has nothing to do with losing; I can accept losing. But it's a little silly to set up Open Cup games, which is a USSF event, at a time when we're competing with the U.S. national team for players. We're just not going to do it again."
Added Coach Thomas Rongen: "You want to play with your best team. Otherwise, the fans get cheated and the teams get cheated as well. They've got to do a better job planning this tournament."
In other news, it appears Rongen may be without all-star defender Carlos Llamosa for the next three games because of a quadriceps injury he suffered during the Confederations Cup.
"It looks like it's going to be a while" before Llamosa plays, Rongen said.
United plays three games in the next seven days: Sunday against Tampa Bay at RFK Stadium, Wednesday at New York/New Jersey and next Saturday against Columbus at home.
Rongen also said all-star defender Diego Sonora is questionable for Sunday's match after re-injuring a groin muscle Wednesday in Charleston.
"Maybe he shouldn't have played in that game," Rongen said. "We thought he was ready. He said he was ready. But he doesn't look like the same Diego as before."
Neither Llamosa nor Sonora practiced yesterday.
As for the possibility of the doubleheader with the women's squad, Payne said he hopes to hear from the USSF next week.
"It would be nice to get the women into RFK," Payne said. "We didn't really get a chance to get our fans and our staff involved in the Women's World Cup. I think we would get a good crowd."
During the Women's World Cup, the U.S. team played a quarterfinal game against Germany at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Landover.
During the organizing process two years ago, RFK Stadium officials withdrew their bid for Women's World Cup games because they were told they wouldn't host the championship match, for which they initially bid. Organizers then awarded two first-round doubleheaders and the quarterfinal doubleheader to Cooke Stadium.
The USSF also is looking at Sept. 18-19 for a women's game, a weekend that United is home against the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.
The federation invited China, which lost to the United States in the Women's World Cup final, but has yet to receive an official reply.