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On DC United game days, RFK comes to life - Washington Post

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On DC United game days, RFK comes to life - Washington Post
Apr 9th 2012, 17:17

 

The corners of the field have not been kind to D.C. United. Since MLS began keeping the stat in 2003, United has scored off a corner kick just 11 times on 1,360 attempts. Last year, United recorded two (five other teams had two or fewer). In 2003, '06 and '10, D.C. had none.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

United has honored six former players and two contributors with banners in the "Hall of Tradition," which is displayed on the south wall. Ben Olsen is eligible for nomination this year, Jaime Moreno next year.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

The Nationals are long gone, but the phones to contact the bullpen and get an outside line, as well as the helmet and bat holders, remain in place in the dugout behind the soccer team benches.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

The old Washington Nationals batting cage, a steel box located down a musty hallway deep inside RFK Stadium, has been converted into a soccer volleyball set-up for staff. It has also been used for well-attended news conferences for David Beckham and U.S. national team matches.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

Happy 16th birthday to Talon, United's mascot. (Just two years younger than United midfielder Andy Najar.) To celebrate, the club invited mascots from other area pro teams and universities. Despite a ban imposed by Maryland's athletic director on future competitions between the schools, Testudo the Terrapin and the Georgetown Bulldog got along sportingly during a halftime soccer game.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

It was funny before the match, United supporters sticking it to former defender Marc Burch, who had spoken out during the week about his departure from Washington after five seasons. It was funny during most of the match as Burch watched from the Seattle bench. It wasn't so funny when Burch nearly won the game with a header that hit the crossbar, inches from the ultimate revenge.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

It isn't exactly the European stadium terraces of yesteryear, but with a variety of nooks and crannies, RFK offers a view while sitting or standing.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

Dwayne De Rosario, the 2011 MLS most valuable player, looms large over the league and the administrative entrance.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

The back of the giant De Rosario banner from inside the stadium, casting a haunting image over those wandering the darkened upper level and over the city in the distance.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

The catwalks (or, in RFK's case, raccoon-walks) take a spectator back in time.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

It's lonely in the upper deck, where only the cameramen and an occasional security guard are allowed. United no longer sells tickets in the top section, capping attendance at 19,647. The club is attempting to sell sponsorships on tarps in order to cover the unused seats.

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

 

Through power outages and ceiling leaks, tremors caused by fans celebrating above, stifling August afternoons and frigid autumn evenings, heart-stopping drama and heartbreak, this has been my vantage point for 17 seasons

Steven Goff / The Washington Post

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