Dale Campeon, Dale Campeon!!

What a tense match today in LA that saw DC United walk away as MLS champions for the fourth time in nine seasons.  Please don’t expect a coherent narrative right now, I wanted to get some thoughts down before my sun-fried brain shuts down:

The Home Depot Center is a great little stadium and I hope to see more like it built around the league.  RFK is great for atmosphere but its severely lacks in amentities.  There were a ton of food stalls and lines weren’t all that long at them.  We were all also very impressed by how many rest rooms, and how large each one was.

The game itself was intense.  Not necessarily up to the level of drama involved in last week’s Eastern Conference Final, but enough to be a worthy final.  Kansas City struck early and first but DC responded with three goals before the first half was over.  After going down a man in the 3rd half and a second KC goal from the penalty spot, it was tense moments watching United defend its one goal lead as the clock ticked up to 90. 

Honestly, at the beginning of the season and after enduring the last 3 seasons at RFK, I didn’t not conceive that DC United would be playing in the championship much less walking away with it.  After the All Star game though, this team started to really click and it has been tremendously fun cheering the team during the playoffs and through today.  As a sports fan, you have to relish the moments when your team is playing well and winning.  We were spoiled by DC’s early success, so that realization has made me relish this championship all the more.

The folks at MLS HQ must be overjoyed that phenom Freddy Adu’s team made it to the final and that he made an appearance as a sub.  While Freddy-mania threatened to overshadow the team at the beginning of the season, he managed to prove he belonged and found a role on the team.  Hopefully, this is a bright start to a bright career. As much as Freddy will be one of the big stories this season, there are other stories that I’ll be taking away. 

First and foremost, is the re-emergence of Jaime Moreno as a player and dangerous forward.  I’ve been a fan of his since the beginning, both for his exploits during DC United’s glory years but also following him on the Bolivian national team during the late 90s.  His disastrous, injury filled season last year with the Metrostars was sad to see but he really came back with something to prove this year – even if the league snubbed him by giving the MVP award to Amado Guevarra.

Also, it’s good to see players like Mike Petke and Nick Rimando, who have spent their entire professional soccer careers in this League, get a championship ring.  MLS is begining to show that not everyone has to go to Europe to enjoy a successful career in the sport.