(Soccer Insider) (Soccer Insider)

*In our latest reminder that the D.C. United stadium project will not breeze into fruition, Post reporter Jonathan O’Connell profiles the executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, which battled public funding for Nationals Park and promises to enter the soccer fray (even though the DCU plan is nowhere near as costly to the city as the baseball boondoggle).

A comment from a city council member illustrates one of the challenges facing stadium proponents: educating the public and government about the venue’s usage beyond soccer.

“I’ve got to be able to explain to people that we are going to spend $150 million in one part of the city for 17 games …”

It’s not 17 games. Yes, United plays 17 MLS regular season games. But the new stadium would also host DCU friendlies and non-league competition, U.S. national team matches, international games, college soccer, college football, lacrosse, high school football and concerts.

*Just a friendly little Premier League get-together today: Manchester United vs. Chelsea. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Live Extra, the streaming platform that will carry all 380 league matches this season.

*The National Women’s Soccer League championship pairing is set:

Portland Thorns at Western New York Flash, Saturday night, 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 2 (formerly Fuel TV) and www.foxsoccer2go.com.

Portland answered an early two-goal deficit to win at second-seeded Kansas City in extra time, 3-2, while top-seeded WNY defeated Sky Blue, 2-0.

The Flash is seeking its fourth title in four years in four different leagues: USL W-League (2010), WPS (2011), WPSL Elite (2012) and now NWSL.

*The USL-Pro playoffs have reached the semifinal stage after three expected outcomes and one minor upset. The pairings:

No. 3 Charleston Battery at No. 2 Orlando City on Friday at 7:30

No. 5 Charlotte Eagles at No. 1 Richmond Kickers on Saturday at 7

The league website will live-stream both matches.

In Richmond’s 1-0 victory over the Dayton Dutch Lions, played before 4,265 at City Stadium, D.C. United loaners Andrew Dykstra and Conor Shanosky went the distance while Michael Seaton entered in the waning moments.

*Sunday’s MLS matches demonstrated the attendance extremes in a maturing league: Seattle drew 67,385 for Clint Dempsey‘s home debut, while Chivas USA and New England combined to attract 20,000 for their home games.

The Sounders’ turnout was the second largest for an MLS regular season match not part of a doubleheader. The record is 69,255 for Los Angeles’ 1996 home debut at the Rose Bowl.

The all-time high is 92,650, set in 2006 for Chivas USA vs. New England at the L.A. Coliseum. (Barcelona played Chivas Guadalajara in the second game of the doubleheader.)

While MLS was going gaga (rightfully) over the Seattle scene, the Revolution’s Kelyn Rowe scored this gem against Philadelphia: