Thursday, February 14, 2008

Movement at Poplar Point on Stadium

According to this morning's Washington Post, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has proposed using public funds to build a stadium for DC United on Poplar Point that may cost as much as $190 million. Now this is unexpected. The feelings here were that there would be no news on a stadium until the newness of the yet to be opened Nationals Stadium had worn off and the "one thing at a time" DC Council could be pointed in a new direction. I am glad to be proven wrong. It appears that a winner has been chosen to develop the site, Clark Realty Capital of Bethesda (yeah, Bethesda!) and their design includes space for a stadium next to the centrally located park.

So what does this mean to United? Not much for now. This signals the beginning of the next round of negotiations between the mayor's office, the City Council, and DC United. At best, a stadium could be ready for the 2011 season, but most likely 2012 or 2013. United would be smart to continue talking to Prince George's County to keep the pressure on Fenty to not get distracted, and "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry also should keep up his shouting campaign which seems to have been very effective.

All in all, good news and a positive step. But it is far from a completed deal. And I have to say, I am partial to the Poplar Point site being that it is in the name of this blog and all. I'm just sayin'...

EDIT: D at the DCenters posted his thoughts within minutes of my post. Here are his thoughts, although it was on B4 of my paper, not A1. He must get the "Soccer Edition" of The Post at his house.

Monday, February 11, 2008

MLS Behind the Curve Again

A look at the 2008 schedule released by MLS shows a few interesting things. Most obvious is there will be no league games for DC United during the month of July. None. Also, there will be a midseason ABC national TV game against the LA Galaxy. It's a noon start, too. There are more Saturday night games as opposed to noticeable the lack of them last season, especially after the All Star game. That will be well reflected in better attendance. But, the most interesting and inexplicable wrinkle is the scheduling of games on and around FIFA international dates. The official dates are June 7-29, August 20, September 6-10, October 11-15, and November 19. Other than the June window which is unavoidable, the rest of the dates should and could be scheduled around. United plays on August 20 at New England, on September 6 at San Jose, and on October 12 at Houston. The August 20th match is the only Wednesday match in August. Any other Wednesday would have been fine. The September 6 match and October 12 matches also could have been moved up a few days to either Wednesday or Thursday games. Instead, inferior soccer will be played all over MLS as the best North American players will be pulled away from their MLS sides for CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. European qualifying begins in September and South American qualifying begins in October. Well done, Don Garber. Yet another master stroke of refusing to look forward. Instead, continue to react and explaining later when the inevitable complaints begin. And complain they will.