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Sphere Of Roche: D.C. United's New Stadium Has Bittersweet Opening

Audi Field Was Packed For It's Opening But All Was Not Well

I've wanted to record this episode of The Sphere Of Roche for the last few months. My favorite soccer team, D.C. United, was, at long last, opening a home of its own in Buzzard Point. Audi Field was supposed to be the start of a new era for the club after years in the wilderness. 

But, this new era has taken on a sour tone for a number of reasons...mostly relating to an upper management and ownership group who seem more concerned about squeezing every dollar from the new stadium over everything else...including it's most vocal fans. 

Saturday was supposed to be a party for anyone with a connection to D.C. United. I've been personally invested in the building of Audi Field for 6 years and borderline obsessed with it's construction the last 17 months. This was supposed to be the culmination of all that excitement and joy.

Instead, I spent Saturday happy...but not overjoyed and definitely with a sense of unease. The reason is the ongoing dispute between two of the three official supporters' groups for the club. 

They were missed. Greatly. 

In the era of social media, it's not enough to make your case. Too often members of a group take things a bit too far which taints the issue to the general public. Unfortunately, that's happening in this dispute which has left me supportive of the cause, but a bit put off by insinuations of what a "real" fan is. Add to that undertones of racism, gentrification, and classism and you are left with simmering tensions between people who initially came together for a common cause, the love of a team. 

How much is the front office of D.C. United to blame?

ESPN's Sebastian Salazar is, like me, a longtime fan of the club. Together we have a frank discussion of the issue along with an Audi Field review, and Wayne Rooney's impact on the team itself. 

After we were done recording this episode I wanted to do so badly, I was a bit shaken. Did I come off racist? Am I defending the front office too much? Am I in the wrong on my thoughts of what a "real fan" is? 

I wanted this episode. I wanted this new stadium.

Be careful what you wish for. 

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