There's no atmosphere in MLS circles quite like matchday for D.C. United. With the massive tailgate scene, the South American fare and the atmosphere inside the stadium, there's a lot of things to do for those who are attending a match for the first time. Let's take a look at some of the must-sees and must-dos that you should take advantage of during a fine Saturday afternoon/evening at that massive complex located just off the Stadium-Armory metro stop:
1. Take in the tailgate scene in Lot 8. There is a ton to do for people of all ages in Lot 8. Check out the tailgates for each of the 4 supporters groups: the Screaming Eagles, La Barra Brava, La Norte and District Ultras. Also, walk down tailgate row, where there are some activities for kids, cornhole, people kicking around a soccer ball or two, food trucks and just an otherwise incredible scene. Everyone is warm and welcoming, and lots of great conversations will be had. Everyone must do this once. Once you do it, you're never going to tailgate the same way again and Lot 8 consistently draws people back for more.
2. Hit up the team store. You need to make sure you have the nice new gear. The team store is constantly updated with new apparel and you need to look the part. I would advise getting there early as possible as the store can get busy. Jerseys can be customized while you wait, so you can wear that Kitchen or EJ or DeLeon jersey out of the store if you wish.
3. Have one of the famous RFK pupusas. Handmade pupusas are wonderful things, and RFK has some of the best around. So good, in fact, that Travel & Leisure recently declared the RFK pupusas one of the best stadium foods in the nation. There's other unique foods like carne asada, jerk chicken and El Salvadorian sausage to try out. So, avoid the traditional hot dogs and nachos and diversify your stadium food intake at RFK. You should never leave a D.C. United match hungry!
4. Sit on the "loud side" and be active. There are many great places to sit in RFK, despite its aesthetics. But, one thing you must do is sit on the loud side. There, you will feel more a part of the game than in any sport we offer in these United States. Join the various supporters groups in their songs, feel the ground shake as the world-famous bouncing stands get going, and you can't help joining in. It's a beautiful thing to look up in the stands and see and hear a wall of sound coming towards the field. Trust me, the team hears it too.
4a. Sit on the "quiet side" and be active. A lot of people, particularly those with young children, may not want to or be able to stand repeatedly for 90 minutes and cheer until they get a headache. And that's perfectly okay. The "quiet side," which is the side opposite the supporters groups, is still a great place to take in the action. And, just because you're over there doesn't mean you can't get involved with the cheers! Loud chants of "D.C. United" and other family friendly cheers will echo throughout the stadium. Don't feel like you need to bring a good book to pass the time...get your section active every now and then with some nice chants and get the whole stadium rocking. There have been a few times where the quiet side has been anything but quiet. And it's really a beautiful sight to behold.
5. Enjoy the match. Now that you've taken in Lot 8, you've got the freshest DC United gear, your stomach is full and you have participated in the cheers during the match, there's one thing left to do: enjoy it! Have a great time, but remember this cardinal rule we issue to all newcomers. If you attend your first match and DC United wins...you. must. come. back.
D.C. United has a great promotion going for the next home match on March 29th, where for $27 you get a ticket and a can of DC Brau's The Tradition. So, come out and take in a match - you won't regret it.