MLS might force D.C. United to find yet another place to play its home opener
MLS doesn’t need D.C. United to play its home opener at Maryland SoccerPlex due to facility and safety points, a number of sources advised The Soccer Insider. No closing determination has been reached yet, but when the plan is rejected, United would have to scramble to prepare another location for the March 17 match in opposition to the Houston Dynamo.
Audi Field, the membership’s 20,000-capacity stadium in Southwest Washington, is on schedule to open July 14 after a 16-month development timetable. United needed to play all 17 home video games on the new venue, however the league nixed that request and mandated two home dates at different areas within the spring.
The membership has not publicly introduced its plans, however since final month, it has been lining up the SoccerPlex for the home debut and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on April 14 in opposition to the Columbus Crew. A league consultant inspected each websites in current weeks. The Navy venue is predicted to obtain approval.
MLS’s main points with the SoccerPlex, sources mentioned, are the absence of a correct referees’ locker room — it should embody a restroom — and the swirl of exercise all through the day at a posh with greater than 24 soccer fields and varied different services. The MSI Cherry Blossom Classic, a youth soccer event, will run March 16-18.
It wouldn’t be simple to find another spot for the opener as a result of a number of stadiums within the space are usually not out there: RFK Stadium (St. Patrick’s Day music pageant), Navy (NCAA lacrosse), Richmond’s City Stadium (girls’s pleasant) and Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium (renovations).
FedEx Field is taken into account too giant and costly. The Washington Nationals haven’t proven any curiosity. Preliminary talks with the Baltimore Orioles months in the past fizzled. The University of Maryland soccer facility, Ludwig Field, has a monitor and area meet scheduled that day and, even when it had been out there, there are not any locker rooms.
That would maybe go away Maryland’s Capital One Field, which has excellent infrastructure and no scheduling conflicts however a synthetic floor with everlasting soccer markings and logos. The stadium is situated simply contained in the Beltway and holds 54,000. The Maryland males’s lacrosse group is away that day and no different occasions are deliberate there, an athletic division spokesman mentioned.
Early within the search course of, United thought of locations on the Interstate 95 hall so far as Cary, N.C., (not out there due to a second-division match) and the University of Delaware’s soccer stadium (out there). The closest MLS facility, Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa., is preoccupied by the Philadelphia Union’s sport in opposition to Columbus.
United may have reserved RFK final fall however determined on the time that it will not play on the decaying stadium once more.
An MLS spokesman mentioned the league didn’t need to remark. United officers have mentioned all alongside that the 2 early-season areas stay undetermined. A SoccerPlex official mentioned she has not heard any updates from the group.
D.C. has performed not less than one sport most years on the SoccerPlex, a 5,200-seat venue within the Montgomery County city of Boyds. But these had been within the early phases of the U.S. Open Cup, which falls outdoors MLS’s jurisdiction. The SoccerPlex is home to the Washington Spirit, a National Women’s Soccer League franchise.
A doable answer: rescheduling the March 17 match to later within the 12 months. That, nevertheless, would go away United with 12 away matches out of its first 13 to begin the season and an extra congested home calendar.
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