D.C. United gets MLS approval to play its home opener at Maryland SoccerPlex
The March 17 match towards the Houston Dynamo is tentatively slated to start at 1:30 p.m. None of the concerned events needed to touch upon the scenario, however an official announcement is predicted quickly.
United performed its ultimate sport at RFK Stadium final fall after 22 seasons and can transfer into Audi Field this 12 months. However, the brand new venue in Southwest Washington, two blocks from Nationals Park, received’t open till July 14.
The league rejected United’s bid to play all 17 home matches at the 20,000-capacity facility and mandated two home video games elsewhere within the area. While United’s proposal to play the Columbus Crew on April 14 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis didn’t increase any main considerations, the SoccerPlex plan didn’t go easily.
MLS’s major points have been with a substandard locker room for the referees, safety amid a number of occasions happening at the sprawling complicated and TV optics at a venue with a seating capability of about 5,200. To deal with a few of these considerations, folks with data of the scenario stated, organizers will set up a high-end trailer for the match officers and different momentary services for sport administration.
Initially, the crew and facility needed to play at 7 p.m., however to enhance the TV presentation, together with lighting, MLS ordered a day kickoff.
Crowd management and safety will current challenges, as nicely. At the identical time because the MLS match, the MSI Cherry Blossom Classic, a youth soccer match, will run all through the day on the two-dozen surrounding fields. Also, a volleyball match will happen contained in the adjoining Discovery Sports Center, the place the soccer locker rooms are positioned.
The SoccerPlex confronted an identical scenario in 2012 and 2013 when it staged the ACC males’s soccer match and youth occasions indoors and outdoor.
United has performed at the SoccerPlex many instances because the facility opened in 2000, however these have been virtually at all times U.S. Open Cup matches, low-key affairs usually towards lower-division opponents. The Open Cup falls below the jurisdiction of the match organizer, the U.S. Soccer Federation, not MLS.
United’s logistical expertise working at the SoccerPlex seems to have helped its trigger. The facility is positioned within the city of Boyds, 5 miles west of the Interstate 270 exits for Germantown.
United’s look in Annapolis can be anticipated to obtain formal approval quickly. The capability of Navy’s soccer stadium is 34,000.
The two early home video games should not included within the season ticket bundle. United will present precedence entry to these holders, which quantity about 9,000. That’s virtually double the SoccerPlex capability, however due to the situation and potential chilly climate, demand is probably going to be decrease there than at Navy.
The solely time United performed a daily season match away from RFK Stadium was in June 2014 towards Columbus as a part of a doubleheader at FedEx Field with a Spain-El Salvador pleasant.
United will open the season March three at Orlando City and play 12 of the primary 14 matches on the highway earlier than christening Audi Field with a sport towards the Vancouver Whitecaps. On Friday, in a topping-off ceremony, building crews affixed the ultimate metal beam into place. The 16-month, $300 million mission is on schedule for completion in June, crew officers stated.
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