On July 14, 2018 DC United and Washington, D.C. officially opened their newest sports stadium. Audi Field is not only a literal upgrade from the dilapidated RFK, but a right fit. The new stadium was planned and built for football, no not the American kind, the kind the rest of the world plays. RFK was never a good fit, it was nothing more than a hand me down from the local government, highlighted by tens of thousands of empty burgundy and gold seats every game. No not because DC United had some lean years after taking MLS by storm with multiple championships, but because MLS crowds are more comparable to the capacity of you average NBA arena not American football stadiums. RFK was an American football stadium, hastily set up for DC United and MLS games.a
So ultimately what do we think of Audi Field? Well between Rooney, Refills, and Restrooms it was great! We will start with the not so great. It’s a little bit of a hike from Navy Yard Metro Station to get to the front gate, and if your not familiar with the city or good with GPS you’ll be following people in DC United jerseys hoping they’re going to the stadium and not a bar. (Pro Tip: If you look in the right direction from Nationals Park, you can see Audi Field in the distance off of South Capitol St.) Not enough concession stands and vendors to handle the capacity. Now let me preface this by saying the first game is obviously going to have bugs to be worked out from an operational stand point. With that being said, I made my way to the closest concession stand from my seat, right after the Half, and I wasn’t walking back to my seat until the 60’ minute. I know, I know, worst things to complain about, but this is a review, so we are reviewing pertinent items shrugs.
The worst part of the entire experience, and this may or may not surprise people, but the “Whispering Eagles” aka Screaming Eagles, Official Supporters Section of DC United, seemed like they were sitting on their hands most of the game. Going to need to work on that gals and guys! Similar efforts are going to get drowned out by a small contingent of loud and vociferous fans of the “other guys.”
Rooney! Rooney! Rooney! The man still has it. After coming off the bench in the Second Half, he narrowly missed the wood work on his first shot on goal. He didn’t stop there, also helping create both goals in the Second Half with his otherworldly field vision, and effortless, yet beautiful touch on the ball. It’ll be a very exciting season if that level of play continue from him.
Refills! Refills! Free Refills! Ok, not on beer, but hey, you can’t get everything you want. Buy a fountain drink, and you’ve got at least two publicly accessible fountain stations to fill up your drink as much as you want. A nice touch for a sport played on many hot summer days, and looking to help push family attendance. On a side note the food wasn’t bad, not 3 Michelin Stars good, but the chicken tenders were tasty, the fries hot, and large hot pretzels not replicated at other local venues. Remember we were in line for almost 40 minutes, so the selection of food to try was limited, unless they added an additional Half of football.
Lastly, Restrooms! Restrooms! Restrooms! Or depending on your background, Bathrooms, Lavatories, and Washrooms.
I’ll preface this by saying I didn’t observe-gauge-check out the Ladies Room, however the Men’s Room had no lines, and no wait. You also had a large entrance way with a clearly and demonstratively marked Entrance and Exit. Inside you had plenty of places to do your business, and the automatic sinks actually work (didn’t have to put your hand under the sink 52 times to get a flow of water).
It’s only opening night, so things are bound to get better or worse depending on management. There was that thing about a beam falling off the building?!