RFK Stadium

Getty Images

On This Day: Bornstein becomes national hero – in Honduras

Leave a comment

You know what today is? It’s Jonathan Bornstein day in Honduras.

Ten years ago today at RFK Stadium in our nations capital, a young, hot-shot kid with plenty of hair named Michael Bradley and Bornstein helped the U.S. Men’s National Team come back to draw Costa Rica, 2-2, in World Cup qualifying. In fact, it’s eerie watching Bornstein’s celebration, running to the corner flag and diving headfirst as he’s mobbed moments after by his teammates. It’s a bit similar to what Lanson Donovan did about nine months later.

[READ: USMNT looks to build in match v. Canada]

To add some context, it was the final day of qualifications matches in the Hex. Three days earlier, the U.S. had already secured a place in the World Cup with a wild 3-2 win at Honduras, meaning Los Catrachos needed to win over El Salvador on the final night and hope that the U.S. would keep Costa Rica from winning in the final match.

Who else, but Carlos Pavon gave Honduras a 1-0 win over El Salvador that night. Then, it was Bornsteins goal later that night that put Los Catrachos into the World Cup for the first time since 1982, and left Costa Rica to battle for the shared spot between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.

In honor of the big day, hundreds of Honduras fans had been mentioning Bornstein on social media, and the veteran defender – currently of the Chicago Fire – retweeted quite a few of the thankful messages to him. Below, here’s video of the call from Honduras TV, as well as from Ian Darke and the ESPN crew.

Unfortunately for Bornstein, this may be the highlight of his national team career. He did make the 2010 World Cup squad and started twice, including the matches against Algeria and Ghana, but he never truly took the next step in his career to become a star left back.

After a calamitous performance against Mexico in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, which also Bob Bradley his USMNT job, Bornstein was dropped and hasn’t been seen from again on the national team stage.

However, even though he’s only a club player these days, he’ll never have to buy a drink in Honduras, that’s for sure.

A potential setback for D.C. United’s ongoing stadium pursuits

15 Comments

We warned you earlier this week about how stadium renderings are a long, long, long way from fans actually fans in the house, waving big foam fingers inside an actual structure.

The Washington Post has an interesting story about a D.C. council member and mayoral candidate who doesn’t sound very interested in the ongoing administration’s efforts to facilitate D.C. United’s soccer stadium in the area known as Buzzard Point.

Muriel Bowser will not support proposals by Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s favorable to building that soccer ground at Buzzard Point, the one that would get United out of the RFK Stadium financial sinkhole. So, if she is elected …

And if you aren’t bummed out enough already, try this one: When asked about any possible alternative plans for assisting in D.C. United’s stadium efforts, here’s what Bowser said according to The Post: “I don’t know that that’s my first priority. My priority would be making sure that we are meeting a whole lot of capital needs that the city has, including how we’re going to transform middle schools across the city.”

Hard to argue that schools and such should be priority for the district. Still, that’s certainly not going to make soccer fans in the area any more optimistic about getting the heck out of decrepit RFK Stadium.

About that “done deal” on D.C. United’s new stadium …

5 Comments

Major League Soccer’s stadium development history, accomplished as it is, has also been wrought with premature excitement and even a few splashy stadium announcements that, well, let’s say they “didn’t take.”

New York had a couple of false starts before finally getting shovels in the ground on the facility that eventually became Red Bull Arena. Happy ending there, at least.

Houston once had a deal … then didn’t have one … before it finally had one again. Confusing, I know.

D.C. United, by my count, has had three optimistic runs, trumpeting to varying degrees a new and sorely needed stadium being in the works. Most recently, the club called “done deal” on a $300 million agreement for the District of Columbia to provide land and infrastructure for a 20,000-seat facility, one that sits nearby Nationals Park. It would replace well-aged RFK Stadium (pictured), of course.

But we would all do well, once again, to recall the Golden Rule of MLS facility development: Don’t bother getting yourself in a froth about anything until you actually see construction at work, until ground is cleared and steel is aimed skyward and men in hard hats can be eyeballed holding blueprints and pointing here and there in purposeful ways.

We read in The Washington Post yesterday the latest evidence of my Golden Rule; the club’s done deal may not be quite so done after all.

The real problem for MLS and for D.C. United is that the dominant opposition voice on this project has already lost a similar battle. Yes, that’s a problem.

See, Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, also guided the efforts to scuttle Nationals Park, the city’s Major League Baseball facility that opened in 2008. Just as armies learn lessons from lost battles, presumably Lazere learned how to fight his fiscal skirmishes in smarter ways.

We’ll see. Meanwhile, continue to enjoy RFK Stadium. And you might want to borrow one of those hard hats; things tend to fall from the building sometimes, you know.

The “Relegation Bowl” is set for kickoff: D.C. United vs. Toronto FC

2 Comments

This is “naughty me” at work, stirring up a stink among the set convinced that Major League Soccer will only be taken seriously once the concept of relegation-promotion is put to good and proper use.

Believe me, MLS has many laps to go before finishing this race – but relegation-promotion is not the rocket fuel that will propel things substantially faster.

It is simply unlikely to ever happen here; TV contracts being what they are, modern ownership being what it is, the domestic sports world simply may not allow it. At the very least, we are a decade-plus from anything that looks like relegation promotion.

But …

The match kicking off shortly at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., certainly is a case where relegation would pay off. Because if there was ever to be a “relegation six-pointer” in Major League Soccer, this bad boy would surely be it.

Toronto is 9th in the Eastern Conference standings; D.C. United is 10th. These are the only team in the East currently not relevant in playoff talk – a darn shame considering how tightly packed things are among the eight that are relevant.

As it is, there is no compelling reason for many folks beyond these two markets to care about what happens tonight at RFK, other perhaps than the subplot of United’s attack being led by two for Reds, Dwayne De Rosario and Luis Silva (pictured). Silva’s bright performance at RFK surely has Toronto fans wondering, “Uh, remind us why we let that guy go?”

There’s also Ryan Nelson, TFC’s coach, returning to the stadium where he made his MLS bones.

Otherwise, just hold out for better games tonight. Of course, that would be a little different if top-flight survival was on the line. See … me being naughty again. Consider yourself agitated.

FYI, the “Relegation Bowl” headline was inspired by my friends at Black and Red United and Waking the Red. (And apologies for getting the TFC blog’s name wrong last week.)

The lineups are here.

More woe for RFK Stadium? How can that even be?

7 Comments

Well, this is truly wonderful news.

I was getting worried that RFK Stadium in our nation’s capital was getting to be too perfect as a Major League Soccer venue.

Seriously, it really is a wonderful venue in terms of atmosphere. It down-sizes quite well. (Aside: How freakin’ awesome is it that “down-size” has been more or less erased from the American soccer vernacular? It was once a staple of any MLS stadium-related piece, unpleasant necessity that it was.)

RFK Stadium is in the middle of the city, on a rail line, sufficiently gritty to wear its rich history well. The full-sized pitch is generally plush.

I mean, if the doggone place wasn’t one more falling concrete slab from being officially condemned, this place would be a domestic soccer Shangri-La!  And we wouldn’t want that! A bunch of people discovering our little secret, making tickets more expensive, parking yet harder to come by and further jacking up the cost of an all-beef dogger.

Well, no worries now.

This is happening, just in time for D.C. United’s home opener. Gridlock alert!

Of course, you could bike! The link above has details. Although it might be a little cold for Saturday’s home opener against Real Salt Lake. (A team that has never won at RFK, by the way.)

Seriously … when, for the love of all that’s good, will MLS and D.C. United be able to extricate themselves from the RFK financial sinkhole? Sigh.

“Financial sinkhole” is a term we have not, alas, wiped off the menu of recurring MLS story word choices.