Who are they?
DC United were one of the 10 founding MLS clubs so they’ve got some history. They actually played in the league’s inaugural game against San Jose Clash, losing to a Eric Wynalda goal. The team plays in RFK Stadium in Washington DC but has been actively seeking to build a soccer specific stadium for at least ten years. It seems the club may have got it’s way however, with a 20,000 seater stadium in Buzzard Point approved at the end of 2014.
What have they won?
DC United are one of MLS’s most successful clubs with 4 MLS Cups to their name (LA Galaxy became the first to five last season). Most of this success came in the early years however, when they dominated MLS, winning three of the first four MLS Cups. They also have three US Open Cup’s to their name, the most recent coming in 2013.
What about the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
Nope, it’s a glaring omission in their trophy cabinet.
They finished top of the Eastern conference, despite finishing the previous season with a league record for fewest wins with just three. They conceded the fewest goals in the league last year with 32 (tied with LA Galaxy) but were dispatched by New York Red Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.
Are they any good?
Their defence was excellent last year, and finishing top of the conference seems to suggest that they will be tough opponents. So far this year they’ve won both their home games including last weeks last minute win against the Galaxy, and lost their only road game to the Red Bulls. Jairo Arrieta
Players to Watch?
Chris Pontius is a handful, and for the first time in a several years he’s been injury free in the off-season. If he gets anywhere near his 2012 form he will be a handful. Jairo Arrieta might also be an interesting one - he was one of Orlando’s Expansion Draft picks, traded to DC for an international slot and has already been on the scoresheet this campaign.
Played For Both
Lewis Neal played for Orlando in 2011, scoring the club’s first goal, before being poached by DC United after a successful season. When DC left him unprotected in the expansion draft, Heath has little doubts about snatching him up. =
Who’s the boss?
Ben Olson is the very definition of one club man (OK...he went on loan to Nottingham Forest for a season). Olson joined the club as a player out of college, played with them until he retired in 2009, became an assistant coach in 2010 and became interim head coach halfway through the season after the club had a league record breaking worst start to a season. After turning the ship around, he was given the job and has been in place ever since.
But has he ever married anyone?
Funny you should ask, Olsen is a licensed minister, officiating over Nick Rimando’s (Real Salt Lake) wedding. True story.
What about their supporters?
The supporter base at DC is fairly fragmented, with four main supporter groups, La Barra Brava, the Screaming Eagles, La Norte and the District Ultras. They averaged around 17,000 fans a game last year, but both home games this year have fallen below this number.
Who are their rivals?
Their biggest rivalry is with the New York Red Bulls. The rivalry goes back to the beginning of the league, and has featured some contraversial moments, including when Alecko Eskandarian scored for DC shortly after the Red Bull bought and rebranded the New York Metrostars. Eskandarian wheeled away to the bench, catching a can of Red Bull, swigging it and then spitting it out in mock disgust. He was fined by the league for the incident.