Greetings from RFK Stadium for D.C. United’s MLS match against the expansion Montreal Impact.
Mid-week match + little-known opponent + cool + rain + rush-hour traffic + rivalry game coming this weekend + home club still trying to regain ticket-selling traction =
Well, you do the attendance math.
Even with the college night promotion, United will struggle to eclipse 10,000. The club hasn’t drawn fewer than 10K for a league match since Sept. 9, 2009, when 8,033 turned out for a mid-week visit by Kansas City.
While low turnout is always a blemish — and fuels the soccer-bashers — it’s no reason for panic. This is Washington, after all. On Monday, Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, the subject of more column inches, pixels and airtime than any other athlete in the local market, made his 2012 home debut in front of an announced 16,000. (I happened to drive past Nationals Park 20 minutes before the first pitch. The drive-thru at McDonald’s on South Capitol Street had a longer line than the ticket booths.)
The Redskins, the region’s sporting titans, play in front of empty seats nowadays and the pre-Ovechkin Capitals struggled to fill half of Verizon Center. So, yeah, it is a United problem, but it’s also a Washington problem.
Those who are in attendance tonight should fall silent in the 12th minute — a salute to longtime Barra Brava member Chico Solares, who died of a heart attack Tuesday. He was 53. Post colleague Dan Steinberg wrote this tribute.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET.
TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus (search guide here), Direct Kick, MLS Live. If you subscribe to either of the latter two services, the local blackout has been lifted. The reason, in large part: Cox Cable in Fairfax County won’t offer CSN Plus.
Lineups to come about an hour before kickoff.....
DCU: Willis; Korb, Russell, McDonald, Woolard; Najar, Kitchen, Boskovic, DeLeon; De Rosario, Pontius. Subs: Hamid, Morsink, Salihi, Maicon Santos, Cruz, Neal, King.
MON: Ricketts; Valentin, Thomas, Ferrari, Wahl; Arnaud, Felipe, Warner, Mapp; Nyassi, Corradi. Subs: Sutton, Gardner, Brovsky, Bernier, Ubiparipovic, Neagle, Braun.
As usual, our comments section is the place for pregame, in-game and postgame discussion.