D.C. United to Schedule Home Matches Before Audi Field Opener

Audi Field

According to a news report, D.C. United will likely be required to play at least two off-site home matches before the new Audi Field opens in June 2018. 

As had been previously expected, MLS will not allow D.C. United to play all of its 2018 regular-season matches on the road leading up to the completion of Audi Field. The new soccer-specific stadium is estimated for an opening in late June, months after the MLS season will begin.

For right, it appears that United will probably need to schedule two home matches for off-site venues, including its home opener on March 17 and another game in April. Two contenders for hosting United home games–Annapolis’s Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and Richmond’s City Stadium–are not available for the March opener, making it likely that United will have to find another venue. Nationals Park and FedEx Field are among those that are not expected to be used, leaving another mix of options in play. More from The Washington Post:

Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County has gained late support to stage the game, despite a 5,200-seat capacity deemed too small for MLS regular season purposes. The league would have to approve such an arrangement. (United averaged 17,904 at RFK Stadium this year.) The club has played many U.S. Open Cup games there over the years.

For various reasons, United has ruled out using FedEx Field, Nationals Park, Byrd Stadium in College Park and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Baltimore Orioles showed interest in hosting United at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but talks have not progressed. United has also explored the possibility of using the University of Maryland’s Ludwig Field (7,500 seats), the University of Delaware’s football stadium and WakeMed Soccer Park in suburban Raleigh, N.C.

The club would return to RFK Stadium, its home for 22 seasons, “only in the case of emergency,” one source said. In the wake of United’s last appearance there in October, however, it’s unclear whether RFK would even have a suitable field ready for an early-spring match.

With Annapolis and Richmond out of the mix for the first home match, RFK might re-emerge.

As for the second home match, the Post reports that United “will probably end up playing the off-site home match in April in Annapolis.”  MLS could announce all of its home openers this week, with the release of the full schedule occurring next month.

Rendering courtesy D.C. United and Audi Field.

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