Well, here we are. Last call at RFK. What can be said that hasn’t been said already? This is the end of an era, and it’s more than fitting that it should happen against our most hated rivals, the New York Red Bulls.
D.C. United has had a crappy season. We’ve had plenty of games at RFK Stadium this year that have been miserable to watch—conceded goal after conceded goal, lackluster performance after lackluster performance, disappointment after disappointment. But it hasn’t been all bad. We’ve seen flashes of a better team, and through it all we’ve had the constant of our crumbling home and brilliant community.
Predictions are always tricky, and Atlantic Cup games always promise shenanigans, but we’re pretty certain about something this week: We’re gonna remember this one.
Donald Wine II
We're gonna win. We're gonna win. The Old Lady will breathe one last time, and the legends are coming back. This prediction has nothing to do with stats or how things have gone this year. This is the moment where 35K fans say goodbye to an iconic stadium in American soccer history, THE iconic stadium in American soccer history. It's gonna be a day of happy tears, loud screams, hugs, pictures and soaking it all in. And, one final time this season, the boys are going to make us proud. 4-0 Black-and-Red...it doesn't even matter to me who scores, but RFK's curtain call will be one for the history books.
Generally, if you're in last place at this point in the year, you're well out of the playoff picture and as a fan, you just hope for a fun game and some good performances by younger players.
But this is not just another game, and not just a game where performance for the future is the only thing to watch. D.C. United needs to send RFK off correctly, and the only way they can do that—the only way this day can be perfect—is to beat the New York Red Bulls. The pattern of playing well but making a mistake to concede, and then to crumble from there? It has to stop today, because today is about honoring RFK.
Paul Arriola, after so many near misses since his arrival, gets United off on the right track with a scrappy finish from close range. United starts to look like they're actually cruising, but the Red Bulls snag a set piece goal because this is still 2017 and United still gives up set piece goals. However, with the minutes ticking away and our time in that beautiful old building ticking away, the oversized crowd will drive United to find a strength that hasn't been there very much this year. Patrick Mullins will finish off a pass from Luciano Acosta in the final 10 minutes, and the Black-and-Red will get to walk off RFK's surface with one last victory.
With the Metros locked into the 6th place regardless of the outcome of this game, expect them to give key players some rest in preparation of their playoff game on Thursday or Friday. That makes it easier for me to predict that D.C. United will give RFK Stadium the send-off that it deserves. Patrick Mullins will get things going with an early goal, and Luciano Acosta will score just before halftime to make it a 2-0 lead. The Red Bulls will somehow manage to score during the second half, but Ian Harkes scores to remove all doubt and evoke memories of RFK's days of yore. 3-1, DCU. I just wish I could be there.
Jesse Marsch runs out a rotated side, disrespecting the soccer gods in the country's most historic and hallowed temple. And in the temple's final game, no less! The gods will not let such hubris stand unpunished. 4-1 to the good guys on a brace from Patrick Mullins and tallies from Luciano Acosta and—why not!—Nick DeLeon. United ship one on a set piece because, as Jason said, it's still 2017. Nevertheless, los Capitalinos keep the Atlantic Cup, proving that even at our worst, we can get one over on the Metros.
There is no scenario I will accept in which D.C. United don’t win this game. It’s simply not possible. And it’s going to be a good one, you guys. It’s not going to be some narrow 1-0 victory off a lucky own goal. It’s going to be a party. Give me 3-0, I don’t care at all who scores the goals but I’ll predict we get one each from Acosta, Arriola, and Mullins because man, that’ll be beautiful.
What’s your prediction for #LastCallAtRFK? You know you gotta share in the comments. There’s also, of course, a not-that-silly poll this week for you to take.
I’ve only been a DCU fan since about 2010 or so and regularly attending games since 2015. There are so many great RFK games, but these are some of my favorites that I attended—which of them is the best?
This poll is closed
D.C. United 6-4 Real Salt Lake, August 1, 2015 (holy cow that comeback though)
USMNT 4-3 Germany, June 2, 2013 (how better to celebrate a centennial?)
D.C. United 4-1 Real Salt Lake, September 24, 2011 (just a casual DeRo hat trick)
D.C. United 4-0 San Jose Earthquakes, September 23, 2017 (Mullins! Yes! Finally!!)