D.C. United will finally get their new stadium. After 19 years at dilapidated RFK Stadium, where they paid exorbitant rent and saw nearly every other team in the league pass them by, D.C. finally has the go-ahead on a stadium of their own that will bring them in line with the rest of MLS.
And while that means a lot to United and MLS, it means a lot to the United States too. RFK Stadium has long been one of the team's preferred home grounds, with the city providing great support and bouncing stands field-side that make for an amazing atmosphere.
It is the site of Jack Edwards' famous "the building is shaking!" call, after Brian McBride scored, and it is where Jonathan Bornstein scored in the last minute to draw Costa Rica in 2009 and clinch the top spot in the Hex. More recently, it is where the U.S. beat Germany in 2012.
But with D.C. United's new stadium coming up, RFK Stadium may be set for demolition. At the very least, it will almost certainly be let fall into further disrepair. Plus, with an intimate soccer-specific stadium in the nation's capital, there's little reason for the U.S. to return to RFK.
When the new stadium opens in 2017, the U.S. will probably play a Hex match there. It will be a beautiful 20,000-25,000 stadium on the river, and it will surely provide an incredible atmosphere. It will be a net win for the U.S. and give the team another great home ground. But it will also likely mean the end of the U.S. at RFK.
Hopefully the U.S. returns to RFK one more time before 2017. Hopefully the sideline stands are bouncing in red, white and blue one more time. Hopefully the noise sends the raccoons running for cover one more time.
D.C. United is getting their own stadium, and it is great for them that they are. It is great for MLS and it is great for soccer in this country. It is even great for the U.S. But that means saying goodbye to RFK, which may be a hell hole, but for decades, it has been our hell hole.