Much Anticipated Debuts
DC United was one of 10 clubs to kickoff the inaugural MLS season in 1996, when they opened their season at RFK Stadium. The league's early early featured a series of dominant performances by United, as they won the MLS Cup three of the league's first four seasons, taking home the Supporters' Shield (for best regular season record) in two of those seasons.
Over the ensuing 22 years, DC's success stalled as many new clubs were added to the league (there are now 23), new soccer-specific stadiums provided new revenue streams, an influx of European and South American talent raised the level of competition, and DC tussled again and again with the city government in hopes of getting a home of their own.
They finally have one: Audi Field. Its debut on July 14, 2018 against the Vancouver Whitecaps, just so happened to coincide with the debut of England and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney, DC's new number nine, and its most expensive player expenditure to date.
The event played out as the team might've hoped: offering fantastic sight lines, a steep grandstand keeping fans close to the action, a packed house, and a victory by the United.
Rooney made his eagerly awaited debut in the 57th minute and made an immediate impact. Shortly after running onto the pitch, he launched a juicy free kick from 25 yards into the wall, linking up with his teammates during a tiki-taka-esque sequence leading to DC's second goal, almost scoring a goal of his own on a looping header, and eventually contributing an assist for DC's third and final goal.
The game eventually ended with a 3-1 victory for United, sending the standing room-only crowd of 20,504 home happy, and ensuring a successful debut for the two newest pieces of shiny for DC United.