DC United has been a part of the Washington, DC, sports scene since 1996, when it was one of the original teams in Major League Soccer. Since then, DC United has made many changes. The most notable is a new home field in southwest DC.
The Black-and-Red was most successful in its early years; the team won the MLS Cup in 1996 and 1997 playing in RFK Stadium. However, this year the owners swapped out the old RFK Stadium for the newly built Audi Field. Many fans have mixed feelings about the new stadium. While some prefer the RFK because of memories, tradition, and accessibility, others are excited and proud of a new and improved stadium.
Audi Field was greeted by many as a long-awaited improvement from DC’s previous home stadium. It was finally a place for the club to feel truly at home. Audi Field cost about $500 million to build in one year, four months, and 17 days. The stadium also showed off a new 3,306-square-foot video board. It can seat almost 22,000 people and is located 1.3 miles from the National Mall. The stadium’s inaugural game was played on July 14, 2018, versus the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Another major change this season is the purchase of 32-year-old Wayne Rooney. Rooney played for Everton and Manchester United soccer clubs in England. He was also the star of the English men’s national soccer team. DC United’s new number nine has significantly improved the team in their playing style and statistics. His time as captain and his number of goals and assists are helping the team achieve more wins.
Another notable player is number seven, Paul Arriola. Arriola has represented the US men’s national team many times throughout his career. His international career makes him a stronger player, benefitting the team. Number 10, Luciano (Lucho) Acosta, plays midfielder and forward for the club. Originally from Argentina, Acosta brings great energy to the game, helping other players to better their game and improve as a team. The undeniable chemistry between Rooney, Arriola, and Acosta makes for spectacular plays against the other team.
Bill Hamid is a returning player for DC United. His career with the team began in 2010 at the age of 19, when he debuted as a goalkeeper. He then left the team for a few years only to return this year. The fans are excited to have such a beloved player appear on DC’s roster again. Lastly, Yamil Asad has not failed to impress while playing for the team. The 24-year-old Argentine follows in the footsteps of his father, Omar “El Turco” Asad, a well-known Argentinian soccer player. Asad, nicknamed “El Turquito” after his father, scored the first goal at Audi Field.
The Black-and-Red has an incredible fan base that has followed it through many years of good and bad seasons. The distinctive “Barra Brava,” a group of fans that are well known for their crazy antics, goes to every home game to cheer on the team and create a buzz of excitement at the new Audi Field. The fans are hoping for a successful season as DC United is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference in the MLS, putting them in a good position to make the playoffs. With hard work, determination, and support of wonderful fans, DC’s soccer team can make this season count.