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D.C. United set to begin long-awaited second half of season at Audi Field

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D.C. United will christen its new stadium, Audi Box, on July 14. (Photograph via Katherine Frey/The Washington Submit)

When David Ousted stepped out of doors the staff’s resort in Toronto, he wasn’t positive what town he used to be in. It used to be merely some other resort after arriving in a brand new position for but some other highway recreation. That’s been the tale of D.C. United’s season since it all started 4 months in the past.

To this point this 12 months, the gamers and personnel have bounced from town to town across the league, with some maintaining with their D.C.-based households and youngsters from afar. Together with preseason video games, United’s go back and forth because the 12 months started totals more or less 40,000 miles, which is farther than one-and-a-half journeys around the globe.

United’s recreation in opposition to Vancouver on Saturday marks a couple of welcome adjustments, ones the gamers hope may assist their last-place membership in finding higher effects. The matchup has the elements had to make a recreation significant — the hole of town’s new, soccer-specific stadium, Audi Box; the most probably debut of English football megastar Wayne Rooney; and the beginning of the long-anticipated, home-game-heavy 1/2 of the season.

“We had been looking ahead to this type of second,” United defender Frederic Brillant mentioned.

Since Might, the membership has performed in Utah, Massachusetts, Seattle, Toronto and California. In that point, United’s 350-mile go back and forth to Canada used to be the staff’s closest MLS recreation. The go back and forth, Sensible mentioned, is taxing bodily however much more tough mentally. D.C. United has began the season 2-Five-7 with a league-low 11 issues.

Within the first 1/2 of the 12 months, United had two makeshift domestic video games — a draw as opposed to Houston at Maryland SoccerPlex and a win in opposition to Columbus at Army-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Nonetheless, the ones fits didn’t really feel like domestic video games, Brillant mentioned.

Now, due to the hole of Audi Box, United will get to play in its personal stadium. Fifteen of its ultimate 20 video games might be performed at domestic. The brand new stadium in Southwest D.C. has options, equivalent to how the seats are located at a steep incline and just about the sector, that gamers be expecting will create an intimate setting. The membership has practiced within the stadium two times, seeking to make it really feel a bit of extra like domestic.

“Getting into there the primary recreation and making it a fort the place other folks don’t need to are available in and play, that’s going to be vital,” mentioned Ousted, the membership’s 33-year-old goalkeeper.

The gamers need to be sure their targets don’t get misplaced within the fanfare that surrounds the brand new venue and their latest teammate. Ousted mentioned the staff has to bear in mind to look Saturday for what it’s: a recreation D.C. United must win.

“We more or less knew the entire method that the primary 1/2 of the 12 months used to be going to be exhausting,” Ousted mentioned. “We had been hoping for a bit extra issues than now we have, however we’ve additionally been real looking in what we had been entering into for. This has at all times been the plan. Now we’re coming domestic, and now we wish to display the energy of this staff.”

D.C. United ranks final in its 11-team convention and is 13 issues again from a top-six spot had to make the playoffs. However United has performed 14 video games this season whilst its Jap Convention friends have all performed a minimum of 17. A couple of groups have performed as many as 20 fits. United isn’t somewhat way back to the desk displays, however it might want a vital turnaround to begin to climb nearer to playoff rivalry.

Ousted doesn’t pay a lot consideration to the standings, however he mentioned he is aware of the staff isn’t the place it must be. This subsequent 1/2 of the season, he mentioned, is the membership’s probability to modify that.

“I feel everybody’s able for this,” United Trainer Ben Olsen mentioned final week. “It’s due time. The power side, whether or not it’s the stadium or the learning facility subsequent 12 months, the pocketbook’s opening up a bit bit. I feel we’ve all been looking ahead to it . . . It’s time to take this membership to the following degree.”

Learn extra from The Submit:

D.C. United trades ahead Patrick Mullins to Columbus Staff

Croatia makes historical past, and provides to England’s lengthy wait, with victory in Global Cup semifinals

‘It’s coming domestic’: The tale at the back of England’s Global Cup anthem

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