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Get ready: Saturday is almost here!

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We are pumped. We are ready. Tomorrow can't get here fast enough. Are you ready for tomorrow's second leg? If not, this article should begin to get you fired up for the big game.

You Can't Hold Us Back
You Can't Hold Us Back
D.C. United

Tomorrow’s a huge day. Ginormous. King Kong-ish. Big things are coming, but it’s on tap to be an exciting day as well. Saturday afternoon, D.C. United will seek to overcome a 2-0 aggregate deficit against the New York Red Bulls in front of a sold out, rambunctious RFK Stadium crowd. And since I know all of you reading this are also making plans to be among the 20,000+ inside those hallowed grounds, you may be finalizing your plans on what to bring or wear on Saturday and getting those friends who are procrastinating at the last minute to get tickets with you to be a part of this crowd for the ages. Accordingly, here are some things you need to do to prepare for this all-important 2nd Eastern Conference Semifinal leg.

I know you understand the feeling that I have as we approach that mid-afternoon kickoff time. It’s almost like Christmas for me, with a similarly positive anticipation of what awaits us all once that ball is passed off the center circle. We have been struggling all week in your attempt to break down what went wrong for the team up in Harrison this past Sunday and what tactics and lineups we would prefer to drive the team over the top and into the Eastern Conference Finals. All of this is in preparation for a Saturday we've been looking forward to for over a month, and our fiercest rivals are standing in our way.  There's certainly a shadow of doubt deep down, but for every thought you have that asks, "Can we do this?" is dominated by several more thoughts that scream out, "Hell yes we can! And we will!"  Carry that with you into Saturday...it will help fuel the excitement and prepare you for the battle.

Make sure you have your tickets with you because this game will be sold out. There won’t be any walk-up sales Saturday…if you haven’t bought your ticket now, do it before someone else grabs the fun. Get there early.  The parking lots open at 10:30am and the tailgate scene will be incredible. If you’ve never seen Lot 8 full of life, Saturday is your day. Head out to the stadium early with your friends and take it all in. Tailgate time isn’t the time to get nervous…it’s the time to get pumped for the match at hand and the latest chapter in the DC United-New York Red Bulls rivalry that will be penned.  Hang with your friends and fellow supporters, get some food and drink into your stomach and have a great time.  Walk around and take in the music and the atmosphere, stopping only to listen close when someone announces the starting lineups from their MLS Gameday app or Twitter. Get pumped and prepared, but do so responsibly. Don’t overdo it…we need you at 110% inside RFK, not at 0% outside.

Tailgate away, but end the tailgate a few minutes early to make sure you’re inside in time for the national anthem. Be inside at 2:15, in your seat and ready to go. The teams are going to come out and that’s when the magic is going to happen. Let’s have them walk out among the backdrop of a raucous crowd that’s already at full voice to let them know that we’re ready for the battle too. Let’s hope that fan favorite D.C. Washington will be the man on the mic singing the national anthem. If he is, I’m telling you…the crowd is going to reach ear-splitting decibels.

Wear black.  A wall of black all around the stadium, with the exception of the 1,000 or so Metros fans that will make up the away section, is going to be a real beautiful sight to see. Pull that favorite or lucky home jersey out of the closet, or that old black DC United shirt from your first match.  Don’t forget your DC United jacket (It’s going to be a decent fall Saturday).  If you or your friends don’t have any black DC United gear, the Team Store should be able to help you out. If all else fails, wear a black shirt and/or hat. Our role in Saturday’s game is going to be huge, so it will be cool for all of us to look the part.

Be loud, no matter where you are sitting or standing. The atmosphere is going to be electric, and every single one of us can pump our boys up and keep them pushing out on the field.  From the moment the players walk out onto the field until the moment the referee’s whistle ends the game, the crowd should be balls-to-the-wall, there-is-no-tomorrow, scream-like-your-playoffs-depended-on-it loud.  If you can hear yourself think, that means it is not yet loud enough.  If you can hear your neighbors speaking, it’s not yet loud enough and you need to get them to direct their voices towards the field!  If you’re on the supporters (loud) side, prepare to stand the entire game. If you’re on the "quiet" side, be prepared to stand for a majority of the game. At the end of the game, voices should be gone or at the very least hoarse, a minor side effect to our full devotion to a possible 120 minutes plus penalties of full support for the Black and Red.  If you don’t know the words to the various songs that supporters generally sing, print out a song sheet for you and your neighbors and bring it with you.  Or, just clap until your hands start to go numb and make lots of noise.  Get your children involved in the basic "D-C, U-ni-ted" chant that will echo off the decaying walls of our glorious soccer happy place that is RFK Stadium.  Our team is going to leave everything on the field, but to truly achieve that, we must do the same.

Finally, no matter what happens…BE. PROUD. We have been behind this team since the beginning. They have given us hundreds of reasons to feel a sense of pride in the badge that we all wear on our chests. Saturday will be no different. They’ll need us to be fully behind them and in turn, I know they’re going to play out of their minds for all of us. At the end, win, lose or penalties, the team is going to feel what we feel. That’s why we love this team. And, even if the unthinkable happens and the Metros advance at our expense, we hold our heads up high. We walk out of that stadium knowing that we are D.C. United and we rule this country like we’ve always done before. Remember that, and the pain won’t feel so painful. A win will feel that much sweeter. Either way, be proud of what we’ve already done. Be even prouder of what we’re going to do.

I have zero doubt in my mind and in my heart that this game will be the turnaround of all time, where we ruin the dreams of Pink Cow supporters everywhere and send upwards of 1,000 of them out of RFK Stadium in tears.  Meanwhile, the huge swell of support that the packed RFK crowd will give our team will morph into all-out bedlam and euphoric celebration.  It’s not a dream…it’s something that could actually happen if we put every part of what makes us a United fan behind it.

Get hype. We Want Five. Get on board. If you’re reading this from out of town, make sure your DVR is set for the game (2:30pm Eastern on Big NBC). If you live within 24 hours driving distance of RFK Stadium, the clock is ticking....you can still get here. Tomorrow, we do the playoff dance with the Metros one more time. I can’t tell you how ready I am for it all. I’ll see everyone in Lot 8 and RFK tomorrow.

Vamos, Vamos United,
¡Está noche, tenemos que ganar!