How do to a DC United Match Correctly
Washington Travel Blog› entry 13 of 16 › view all entries
Every time the LA Galaxy come to town since they got David Beckham, it's been a crazy event. Suddenly the crowd at the United match goes up as much as 1/3, and the atmosphere is electric. And it's not just all of the flashbulbs going off everytime the washed up British wonder touches the ball. It's also the fact that the hard core supporters of DC United love to heckle the guy.
This past Saturday was no exception. Early in the day, I donned my colors and I started seeing black and red clad fans around my neighborhood. We to get breakfast at Ted's Bulletin, and then headed to the store to buy beer. After relaxing through the rest of the morning and early afternoon, we cracked a couple of beers open at the house around 4pm.
Around 5pm, we packed up the beer, met some friends at the Metro station, and then continued walking towards the parking lot of the mighty RFK Stadium. That place may have seen better days, but that's all the better for this environment; it can take the abuse, and the staff is more than accomidating.
Lot 8 is where the action is before a match, and it's especially rowdy before a big one like this. They have bands, DJs, vendors are selling giant cans of Corona and Modelo, people are grilling, drinking, having a good time. The two main supporters clubs, Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava both have their own tailgate areas.
Barra Brava, meanwhile, is a bit more crazy. Founded by Bolivians, who wanted to emulate the supporters clubs of their home country, this is the club where you'll find some serious partying. Again, outsiders are welcome to buy tickets from them via their website or the walk-up booth which is near the stadium gates. However, they're also warned that they are required to remain standing, jump up and down, and try to learn the cheers. Full disclosure: I'm a member!
This tailgate featured the usual: kegs of beer (which quickly ran out) and lots of carne asada grilling.
By the time it was almost 7pm, the members all gathered around and started chanting. Smoke bombs were lit off. People were pounding their final beers in preparation for the march to the stadium, which had hundreds of people following and chanting all the way into the stadium.
Once in the stadium, the chanting included flag waving, and at one point a massive banner was lifted.
The match was actually a little less exciting than the tailgate. The Galaxy went up 1-0 pretty quickly, and led most of the match. Of course, everytime Beckham got close to the ball, the crowd booed him, and many chanted "FUCK YOU BECKHAM.
Late in the match, Beckham had a from-behind slide tackle, and was given a yellow card. The crowd almost got violent, tossing middle fingers around left and right at the ref and at Beckham, and cursing them both. However, a little while later, DC United took a penalty inside the Galaxy box, and our hero Charlie Davies came with the conversion, tying the match 1-1. Time expired shortly thereafter, and the crowd was satisfied.
All the way out, the chanting continued, as folks finally reached the parking lot and headed their separate ways.
I know that most DC United matches are not this electric. However, if you want the closest experience you can get, even with a non-star studed opponent in the house, hang out with Barra Brava.