Milan

Milan slideshow

The leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy party Tomio Okamura speaks during a press conference in Prague

The leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party Tomio Okamura speaks during a press conference at the party's election headquarters after the country’s parliamentary elections in Prague, Czech Republic, October 21, 2017. REUTERS/Milan Kammermayer

The leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy party Tomio Okamura speaks during a press conference in Prague

The leader of Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party Tomio Okamura speaks during a press conference at the party's election headquarters after the country’s parliamentary elections in Prague, Czech Republic, October 21, 2017. REUTERS/Milan Kammermayer

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella declared himself undaunted by a string of recent losses and draws that have put his job in doubt, saying risks do not scare him

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella declared himself undaunted by a string of recent losses and draws that have put his job in doubt, saying risks do not scare him

AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella declared himself undaunted by a string of recent losses and draws that have put his job in doubt, saying risks do not scare him (AFP Photo/MARCO BERTORELLO)

Montella calls for courage against Genoa

AC Milan welcome Genoa to San Siro on Sunday hoping to end a run of three Serie A defeats in a row.

Stars Bonucci and Silva could be sold if AC Milan miss out on Champions League

Qualification for the European competition is vital for the Italian club and the future of some of their "top players", according to their CEO

Stars Bonucci and Silva could be sold if AC Milan miss out on Champions League

Stars Bonucci and Silva could be sold if AC Milan miss out on Champions League

Qualification for the European competition is vital for the Italian club and the future of some of their "top players", according to their CEO

Stars Bonucci and Silva could be sold if AC Milan miss out on Champions League

AC Milan will sell 'top players' if they miss the Champions League

AC Milan will sell 'top players' if they miss the Champions League

AC Milan will sell 'top players' if they miss the Champions League

Champions League qualification is vital for AC Milan and the future of some of their "top players", according to CEO Marco Fassone.

AC Milan will sell 'top players' if they miss the Champions League

AC Milan will sell 'top players' if they miss the Champions League

Style is not important for struggling Juve - Allegri

The former AC Milan boss has said that it is vital that his side make up for lost ground and he is not concerned how they go about it

Style is not important for struggling Juve - Allegri

The former AC Milan boss has said that it is vital that his side make up for lost ground and he is not concerned how they go about it

Style is not important for struggling Juve - Allegri

The former AC Milan boss has said that it is vital that his side make up for lost ground and he is not concerned how they go about it

Style is not important for struggling Juve - Allegri

The former AC Milan boss has said that it is vital that his side make up for lost ground and he is not concerned how they go about it

Style is not important for struggling Juve - Allegri

The former AC Milan boss has said that it is vital that his side make up for lost ground and he is not concerned how they go about it

Kylian Mbappe, Gabriel Jesus & Ousmane Dembele Named in Golden Boy Top 3

Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus and Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele have all been shortlisted for the final three of the illustrious Golden Boy award.

The award is handed to the best under-21 player in Europe, with the 2017 winner set to follow in the footsteps of Swansea loanee Renato Sanches when announced on October 23.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport initially released a 25-man shortlist for the award which they consider to be the 'young Ballon d'Or', and was then voted for by a panel of 30 journalists to narrow down the list to the final three, and the eventual winner - as per Goal.

The likes of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford - who finished as runner-up last year - and AC Milan stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma are now out of the running as Mbappe, Jesus and Dembele take centre stage.

18-year-old Mbappe continues to be considered the favourite to take home the prize after an impressive year which saw him net 21 goals and provide eight assists for Ligue 1 winners Monaco - which earned him a move a lucrative move to PSG over the summer where he has since notched four goals and five assists.

His French teammate Dembele also enjoyed a stunning campaign in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund before securing his own big-money move to Barcelona, however the 20-year-old who was tipped to be a replacement for Neymar has now been sidelined with a long-term hamstring injury.

Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus rounds-up the final three, and is arguably the underdog for the award despite a breakthrough in his career at the Etihad Stadium which has seen him score 15 goals in 22 matches since his arrival from Palmerias.

The 2017 Golden Boy award is the 15th edition, and the champion is set to join a prestigious group of past winners which include the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas, Isco, and Paul Pogba.

Kylian Mbappe, Gabriel Jesus & Ousmane Dembele Named in Golden Boy Top 3

Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus and Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele have all been shortlisted for the final three of the illustrious Golden Boy award.

The award is handed to the best under-21 player in Europe, with the 2017 winner set to follow in the footsteps of Swansea loanee Renato Sanches when announced on October 23.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport initially released a 25-man shortlist for the award which they consider to be the 'young Ballon d'Or', and was then voted for by a panel of 30 journalists to narrow down the list to the final three, and the eventual winner - as per Goal.

The likes of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford - who finished as runner-up last year - and AC Milan stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma are now out of the running as Mbappe, Jesus and Dembele take centre stage.

18-year-old Mbappe continues to be considered the favourite to take home the prize after an impressive year which saw him net 21 goals and provide eight assists for Ligue 1 winners Monaco - which earned him a move a lucrative move to PSG over the summer where he has since notched four goals and five assists.

His French teammate Dembele also enjoyed a stunning campaign in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund before securing his own big-money move to Barcelona, however the 20-year-old who was tipped to be a replacement for Neymar has now been sidelined with a long-term hamstring injury.

Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus rounds-up the final three, and is arguably the underdog for the award despite a breakthrough in his career at the Etihad Stadium which has seen him score 15 goals in 22 matches since his arrival from Palmerias.

The 2017 Golden Boy award is the 15th edition, and the champion is set to join a prestigious group of past winners which include the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas, Isco, and Paul Pogba.

Report: Barcelona Eyes Milan Star Andre Silva

Barcelona could turn their attention to AC Milan star Andre Silva in their hunt for a new forward when the transfer window opens in January, with the 21-year-old Portugal international seemingly struggling to make an impact in Serie A since his summer move from Porto.

According to reports originating in Italy, Milan are already prepared to make Silva, who cost the Rossoneri €38m in June, available for sale after a difficult start to life in Italy.

Despite heavy investment in the squad all summer, Milan are playing catch up in the race for Champions League places just eight games into the new season and are currently desperately looking to break a run of three consecutive Serie A defeats.

Silva has scored four times in three Europa League group games, as well as twice in qualifying, but he hasn't been able to translate that form into goals in Serie A. He has been an unused substitute in four league games so far this season and is still awaiting his first domestic goal.

It could therefore be that Silva is among the first casualties as Milan look to shake things up again, with Barcelona seemingly showing early interest in acquiring his services.

Rumour has it that head Barça scout Ariedo Braida has visited Milan on a handful of occasions this season to watch Silva in action.

Silva's overall potential is not in doubt. He scored 21 times in all competitions for Porto last season, while he has netted 11 times in 17 appearances for Portugal at senior international level. But, for whatever reason, he doesn't seem to fit Italian football.

The Catalans are thought to have been in the market for a forward for some time. Neymar's exit highlighted further potential weakness in depth, with winger Ousmane Dembele the only marquee player brought in to so far replace the Brazilian.

Barça had to rely on the disappointing Paco Alcacer when Luis Suarez was injured earlier in the season, with the former Valencia man consistently not up to the challenge since arriving in a big money move last summer.

During the week, technical secretary Robert Fernandez was rumoured to have watched games in Madrid and Lisbon as he apparently took a closer look at Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.

Report: Barcelona Eyes Milan Star Andre Silva

Barcelona could turn their attention to AC Milan star Andre Silva in their hunt for a new forward when the transfer window opens in January, with the 21-year-old Portugal international seemingly struggling to make an impact in Serie A since his summer move from Porto.

According to reports originating in Italy, Milan are already prepared to make Silva, who cost the Rossoneri €38m in June, available for sale after a difficult start to life in Italy.

Despite heavy investment in the squad all summer, Milan are playing catch up in the race for Champions League places just eight games into the new season and are currently desperately looking to break a run of three consecutive Serie A defeats.

Silva has scored four times in three Europa League group games, as well as twice in qualifying, but he hasn't been able to translate that form into goals in Serie A. He has been an unused substitute in four league games so far this season and is still awaiting his first domestic goal.

It could therefore be that Silva is among the first casualties as Milan look to shake things up again, with Barcelona seemingly showing early interest in acquiring his services.

Rumour has it that head Barça scout Ariedo Braida has visited Milan on a handful of occasions this season to watch Silva in action.

Silva's overall potential is not in doubt. He scored 21 times in all competitions for Porto last season, while he has netted 11 times in 17 appearances for Portugal at senior international level. But, for whatever reason, he doesn't seem to fit Italian football.

The Catalans are thought to have been in the market for a forward for some time. Neymar's exit highlighted further potential weakness in depth, with winger Ousmane Dembele the only marquee player brought in to so far replace the Brazilian.

Barça had to rely on the disappointing Paco Alcacer when Luis Suarez was injured earlier in the season, with the former Valencia man consistently not up to the challenge since arriving in a big money move last summer.

During the week, technical secretary Robert Fernandez was rumoured to have watched games in Madrid and Lisbon as he apparently took a closer look at Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.

Report: Barcelona Eyes Milan Star Andre Silva

Barcelona could turn their attention to AC Milan star Andre Silva in their hunt for a new forward when the transfer window opens in January, with the 21-year-old Portugal international seemingly struggling to make an impact in Serie A since his summer move from Porto.

According to reports originating in Italy, Milan are already prepared to make Silva, who cost the Rossoneri €38m in June, available for sale after a difficult start to life in Italy.

Despite heavy investment in the squad all summer, Milan are playing catch up in the race for Champions League places just eight games into the new season and are currently desperately looking to break a run of three consecutive Serie A defeats.

Silva has scored four times in three Europa League group games, as well as twice in qualifying, but he hasn't been able to translate that form into goals in Serie A. He has been an unused substitute in four league games so far this season and is still awaiting his first domestic goal.

It could therefore be that Silva is among the first casualties as Milan look to shake things up again, with Barcelona seemingly showing early interest in acquiring his services.

Rumour has it that head Barça scout Ariedo Braida has visited Milan on a handful of occasions this season to watch Silva in action.

Silva's overall potential is not in doubt. He scored 21 times in all competitions for Porto last season, while he has netted 11 times in 17 appearances for Portugal at senior international level. But, for whatever reason, he doesn't seem to fit Italian football.

The Catalans are thought to have been in the market for a forward for some time. Neymar's exit highlighted further potential weakness in depth, with winger Ousmane Dembele the only marquee player brought in to so far replace the Brazilian.

Barça had to rely on the disappointing Paco Alcacer when Luis Suarez was injured earlier in the season, with the former Valencia man consistently not up to the challenge since arriving in a big money move last summer.

During the week, technical secretary Robert Fernandez was rumoured to have watched games in Madrid and Lisbon as he apparently took a closer look at Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.

Canucks' Gudbranson suspended 1 game for hit on Vatrano

Edmonton Oilers' Milan Lucic, right, checks Vancouver Canucks' Erik Gudbranson during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

RFK Stadium's Last Call a Final Farewell to American Soccer's Common Thread

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a couple weeks of gut punches, aloof arrogance and so many expressions of faith stomped on and returned to sender, American soccer could use a bit of a pick-me-up. It needs a reminder of what the sport should be about (in part), and why it appeals almost universally. And it’ll get that reminder here Sunday afternoon, as a community says a reverential goodbye to a stadium its been eager to leave for years.

D.C. United will entertain the New York Red Bulls on Sunday in the final match of the 2017 regular season, which doubles as the host’s final appearance at crumbling, crusty RFK Stadium. After a long road trip to start 2018, United finally will have a home of its own as it moves southwest to Audi Field. There’s very little at stake in the finale, at least superficially. New York (13-12-8) is locked into sixth in the East and almost certainly will be resting players ahead of a mid-week knockout-round game. United (9-19-5), the four-time league champion that had qualified for the playoffs three straight years, will finish this season in the conference cellar. The Atlantic Cup rivalry trophy is up for grabs, but that’s of little concern for most.

Instead, it’s the intangibles that will provide meaning and motivation. There will be nostalgia, celebration, collective experience and memory—all the things soccer is about for so many people around the world. No place in the USA has more of those things than RFK, which opened in 1961 as a football and baseball venue but over time became inextricably bound to American soccer.

Every story needs a setting. If U.S. soccer has one, it’s been RFK. There isn’t a significant player or team, men’s or women’s, over the past half-century that doesn’t have an RFK connection. It’s the only American stadium that’s been home to men’s and women’s professional teams and hosted World Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Women’s World Cup and Olympic matches (not to mention CONCACAF Champions Cup, MLS Cup, NASL Soccer Bowl, U.S. Open Cup finals, etc.). Johan Cruyff, Jaime Moreno and Mia Hamm called it home. FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax and Boca Juniors stopped by. The U.S. men’s national team has visited RFK more than any other venue, and for the U.S. women it ranks No. 2.

RFK is American soccer’s common thread. Fans who attended Dips or DCU games now can sit in the same seats with their children. Or they can watch them play—John Harkes captained both the USA and D.C. United in 1996. His son, Ian, is finishing out his rookie season with the club. This country is massive, soccer cultures are diverse and much of the game’s domestic history remains parochial, nascent or unwritten. Except at RFK. It’s all happened here.

The Redskins departed after the 1996 season and baseball returned in 2005 and then left again in ’08. By then, RFK already was long past its prime. United remained, reluctantly, losing money and falling behind its MLS peers as it searched for a new home. But the stadium never lost its character, and to DCU’s credit, it took ownership of those flaws and tried to make them a strength, whether it was the stuffed raccoons sold at the club shop or the understanding that opposing teams wanted to be there even less.

RFK’s trajectory as DCU’s fortress mirrors the trajectory of both the club and MLS.

Apart from a handful of club staffers and a couple journalists, nobody has spent more time at RFK in a professional capacity then Ben Olsen, the long-time midfielder turned head coach.

“It was authentic, early. The crowd support was very good,” he told SI.com this week while sitting in one the stadium’s abandoned baseball dugouts. “The team was great, so you knew you were in for it. You add all that up and it was just a great venue to play in.”

While other MLS clubs had silly names and played in ridiculous uniforms inside cavernous NFL bowls, United and RFK looked like soccer. The black kits, the country’s first large and organized supporter’s groups, the shaking stands—it was something the American game hadn't seen. It was an arena that literally bounced and breathed. The high walls and iconic, undulating roof trapped the sound. RFK represented, for a time, what the rest of the league wished it could be.

“It never compared to stadiums with all of the luxuries,” long-time U.S. and MLS player Alexi Lalas said to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff, who’s been covering DCU since day one. “But it was something authentic and organic.”

That template was improved upon several times over in other cities as DCU investors came and went, and a new stadium remained elusive. Eventually, Erick Thohir and Jason Levien took over in 2012 and found the right path. Meanwhile, Olsen and United had to figure out how to continue to make RFK work.

“As the years went on the place changed—or I should say other places changed,” Olsen said. “They started building new venues. Soccer evolved in this country over the 20 years and this place became every year, a little bit dingier. The crowd numbers would move up and down.

“I’ve passed teams when they’re coming in here and they can’t believe what a s***hole this place is,” Olsen continued. "They don’t see it every day. We’re at the point where we embrace that. That’s how the narrative has kind of changed. David Villa’s not in the mood to play because there’s cement falling in the locker room? Great! We’ll use our home advantage, whatever it may be.”

?

D.C. is 10 games below .500 this season but has a chance to finish its home schedule on even terms if it can beat New York. So it still works, to some small extent. But it’s time to go.

“We’ve been at a point, where frankly we need to get out of here,” Olsen said. “Being a romantic about this building and the club, I love this place. It’s sad and I’ll miss the good nights here—the nights that are loud and we’re playing well and it’s one of those perfect storms at home. There’s nothing like that feeling.”

That, right there, is what soccer should be about. That feeling. The connection between club and community and the setting where it all happens. DCU’s social media hashtag this week has been #LastCallatRFK, and it’s a good choice. RFK was the local bar where everyone knew your name. Sunday's commemorative poster and program cover portrays a Lot 8 tailgate attended by luminaries from throughout RFK’s past, from Cruyff and Hamm to Olsen and Goff and so many other players, fans and people connected to that nexus. Most in attendance Sunday will be able to identify the majority of the faces depicted.

If American soccer has lost sight of what’s important in recent weeks, it can look toward that poster, all those faces and the modest, dingy, decaying stadium for some inspiration.

RFK Stadium's Last Call a Final Farewell to American Soccer's Common Thread

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a couple weeks of gut punches, aloof arrogance and so many expressions of faith stomped on and returned to sender, American soccer could use a bit of a pick-me-up. It needs a reminder of what the sport should be about (in part), and why it appeals almost universally. And it’ll get that reminder here Sunday afternoon, as a community says a reverential goodbye to a stadium its been eager to leave for years.

D.C. United will entertain the New York Red Bulls on Sunday in the final match of the 2017 regular season, which doubles as the host’s final appearance at crumbling, crusty RFK Stadium. After a long road trip to start 2018, United finally will have a home of its own as it moves southwest to Audi Field. There’s very little at stake in the finale, at least superficially. New York (13-12-8) is locked into sixth in the East and almost certainly will be resting players ahead of a mid-week knockout-round game. United (9-19-5), the four-time league champion that had qualified for the playoffs three straight years, will finish this season in the conference cellar. The Atlantic Cup rivalry trophy is up for grabs, but that’s of little concern for most.

Instead, it’s the intangibles that will provide meaning and motivation. There will be nostalgia, celebration, collective experience and memory—all the things soccer is about for so many people around the world. No place in the USA has more of those things than RFK, which opened in 1961 as a football and baseball venue but over time became inextricably bound to American soccer.

Every story needs a setting. If U.S. soccer has one, it’s been RFK. There isn’t a significant player or team, men’s or women’s, over the past half-century that doesn’t have an RFK connection. It’s the only American stadium that’s been home to men’s and women’s professional teams and hosted World Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Women’s World Cup and Olympic matches (not to mention CONCACAF Champions Cup, MLS Cup, NASL Soccer Bowl, U.S. Open Cup finals, etc.). Johan Cruyff, Jaime Moreno and Mia Hamm called it home. FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax and Boca Juniors stopped by. The U.S. men’s national team has visited RFK more than any other venue, and for the U.S. women it ranks No. 2.

RFK is American soccer’s common thread. Fans who attended Dips or DCU games now can sit in the same seats with their children. Or they can watch them play—John Harkes captained both the USA and D.C. United in 1996. His son, Ian, is finishing out his rookie season with the club. This country is massive, soccer cultures are diverse and much of the game’s domestic history remains parochial, nascent or unwritten. Except at RFK. It’s all happened here.

The Redskins departed after the 1996 season and baseball returned in 2005 and then left again in ’08. By then, RFK already was long past its prime. United remained, reluctantly, losing money and falling behind its MLS peers as it searched for a new home. But the stadium never lost its character, and to DCU’s credit, it took ownership of those flaws and tried to make them a strength, whether it was the stuffed raccoons sold at the club shop or the understanding that opposing teams wanted to be there even less.

RFK’s trajectory as DCU’s fortress mirrors the trajectory of both the club and MLS.

Apart from a handful of club staffers and a couple journalists, nobody has spent more time at RFK in a professional capacity then Ben Olsen, the long-time midfielder turned head coach.

“It was authentic, early. The crowd support was very good,” he told SI.com this week while sitting in one the stadium’s abandoned baseball dugouts. “The team was great, so you knew you were in for it. You add all that up and it was just a great venue to play in.”

While other MLS clubs had silly names and played in ridiculous uniforms inside cavernous NFL bowls, United and RFK looked like soccer. The black kits, the country’s first large and organized supporter’s groups, the shaking stands—it was something the American game hadn't seen. It was an arena that literally bounced and breathed. The high walls and iconic, undulating roof trapped the sound. RFK represented, for a time, what the rest of the league wished it could be.

“It never compared to stadiums with all of the luxuries,” long-time U.S. and MLS player Alexi Lalas said to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff, who’s been covering DCU since day one. “But it was something authentic and organic.”

That template was improved upon several times over in other cities as DCU investors came and went, and a new stadium remained elusive. Eventually, Erick Thohir and Jason Levien took over in 2012 and found the right path. Meanwhile, Olsen and United had to figure out how to continue to make RFK work.

“As the years went on the place changed—or I should say other places changed,” Olsen said. “They started building new venues. Soccer evolved in this country over the 20 years and this place became every year, a little bit dingier. The crowd numbers would move up and down.

“I’ve passed teams when they’re coming in here and they can’t believe what a s***hole this place is,” Olsen continued. "They don’t see it every day. We’re at the point where we embrace that. That’s how the narrative has kind of changed. David Villa’s not in the mood to play because there’s cement falling in the locker room? Great! We’ll use our home advantage, whatever it may be.”

?

D.C. is 10 games below .500 this season but has a chance to finish its home schedule on even terms if it can beat New York. So it still works, to some small extent. But it’s time to go.

“We’ve been at a point, where frankly we need to get out of here,” Olsen said. “Being a romantic about this building and the club, I love this place. It’s sad and I’ll miss the good nights here—the nights that are loud and we’re playing well and it’s one of those perfect storms at home. There’s nothing like that feeling.”

That, right there, is what soccer should be about. That feeling. The connection between club and community and the setting where it all happens. DCU’s social media hashtag this week has been #LastCallatRFK, and it’s a good choice. RFK was the local bar where everyone knew your name. Sunday's commemorative poster and program cover portrays a Lot 8 tailgate attended by luminaries from throughout RFK’s past, from Cruyff and Hamm to Olsen and Goff and so many other players, fans and people connected to that nexus. Most in attendance Sunday will be able to identify the majority of the faces depicted.

If American soccer has lost sight of what’s important in recent weeks, it can look toward that poster, all those faces and the modest, dingy, decaying stadium for some inspiration.

RFK Stadium's Last Call a Final Farewell to American Soccer's Common Thread

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a couple weeks of gut punches, aloof arrogance and so many expressions of faith stomped on and returned to sender, American soccer could use a bit of a pick-me-up. It needs a reminder of what the sport should be about (in part), and why it appeals almost universally. And it’ll get that reminder here Sunday afternoon, as a community says a reverential goodbye to a stadium its been eager to leave for years.

D.C. United will entertain the New York Red Bulls on Sunday in the final match of the 2017 regular season, which doubles as the host’s final appearance at crumbling, crusty RFK Stadium. After a long road trip to start 2018, United finally will have a home of its own as it moves southwest to Audi Field. There’s very little at stake in the finale, at least superficially. New York (13-12-8) is locked into sixth in the East and almost certainly will be resting players ahead of a mid-week knockout-round game. United (9-19-5), the four-time league champion that had qualified for the playoffs three straight years, will finish this season in the conference cellar. The Atlantic Cup rivalry trophy is up for grabs, but that’s of little concern for most.

Instead, it’s the intangibles that will provide meaning and motivation. There will be nostalgia, celebration, collective experience and memory—all the things soccer is about for so many people around the world. No place in the USA has more of those things than RFK, which opened in 1961 as a football and baseball venue but over time became inextricably bound to American soccer.

Every story needs a setting. If U.S. soccer has one, it’s been RFK. There isn’t a significant player or team, men’s or women’s, over the past half-century that doesn’t have an RFK connection. It’s the only American stadium that’s been home to men’s and women’s professional teams and hosted World Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Women’s World Cup and Olympic matches (not to mention CONCACAF Champions Cup, MLS Cup, NASL Soccer Bowl, U.S. Open Cup finals, etc.). Johan Cruyff, Jaime Moreno and Mia Hamm called it home. FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax and Boca Juniors stopped by. The U.S. men’s national team has visited RFK more than any other venue, and for the U.S. women it ranks No. 2.

RFK is American soccer’s common thread. Fans who attended Dips or DCU games now can sit in the same seats with their children. Or they can watch them play—John Harkes captained both the USA and D.C. United in 1996. His son, Ian, is finishing out his rookie season with the club. This country is massive, soccer cultures are diverse and much of the game’s domestic history remains parochial, nascent or unwritten. Except at RFK. It’s all happened here.

The Redskins departed after the 1996 season and baseball returned in 2005 and then left again in ’08. By then, RFK already was long past its prime. United remained, reluctantly, losing money and falling behind its MLS peers as it searched for a new home. But the stadium never lost its character, and to DCU’s credit, it took ownership of those flaws and tried to make them a strength, whether it was the stuffed raccoons sold at the club shop or the understanding that opposing teams wanted to be there even less.

RFK’s trajectory as DCU’s fortress mirrors the trajectory of both the club and MLS.

Apart from a handful of club staffers and a couple journalists, nobody has spent more time at RFK in a professional capacity then Ben Olsen, the long-time midfielder turned head coach.

“It was authentic, early. The crowd support was very good,” he told SI.com this week while sitting in one the stadium’s abandoned baseball dugouts. “The team was great, so you knew you were in for it. You add all that up and it was just a great venue to play in.”

While other MLS clubs had silly names and played in ridiculous uniforms inside cavernous NFL bowls, United and RFK looked like soccer. The black kits, the country’s first large and organized supporter’s groups, the shaking stands—it was something the American game hadn't seen. It was an arena that literally bounced and breathed. The high walls and iconic, undulating roof trapped the sound. RFK represented, for a time, what the rest of the league wished it could be.

“It never compared to stadiums with all of the luxuries,” long-time U.S. and MLS player Alexi Lalas said to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff, who’s been covering DCU since day one. “But it was something authentic and organic.”

That template was improved upon several times over in other cities as DCU investors came and went, and a new stadium remained elusive. Eventually, Erick Thohir and Jason Levien took over in 2012 and found the right path. Meanwhile, Olsen and United had to figure out how to continue to make RFK work.

“As the years went on the place changed—or I should say other places changed,” Olsen said. “They started building new venues. Soccer evolved in this country over the 20 years and this place became every year, a little bit dingier. The crowd numbers would move up and down.

“I’ve passed teams when they’re coming in here and they can’t believe what a s***hole this place is,” Olsen continued. "They don’t see it every day. We’re at the point where we embrace that. That’s how the narrative has kind of changed. David Villa’s not in the mood to play because there’s cement falling in the locker room? Great! We’ll use our home advantage, whatever it may be.”

?

D.C. is 10 games below .500 this season but has a chance to finish its home schedule on even terms if it can beat New York. So it still works, to some small extent. But it’s time to go.

“We’ve been at a point, where frankly we need to get out of here,” Olsen said. “Being a romantic about this building and the club, I love this place. It’s sad and I’ll miss the good nights here—the nights that are loud and we’re playing well and it’s one of those perfect storms at home. There’s nothing like that feeling.”

That, right there, is what soccer should be about. That feeling. The connection between club and community and the setting where it all happens. DCU’s social media hashtag this week has been #LastCallatRFK, and it’s a good choice. RFK was the local bar where everyone knew your name. Sunday's commemorative poster and program cover portrays a Lot 8 tailgate attended by luminaries from throughout RFK’s past, from Cruyff and Hamm to Olsen and Goff and so many other players, fans and people connected to that nexus. Most in attendance Sunday will be able to identify the majority of the faces depicted.

If American soccer has lost sight of what’s important in recent weeks, it can look toward that poster, all those faces and the modest, dingy, decaying stadium for some inspiration.

AC Milan Fans Create Hilarious Facebook Event to Rinse Flop Signing Leonardo Bonucci After AEK Draw

Making promises that cannot be kept can prove disastrous for a player's career. It would be damaging for anyone, but when the one who makes them is a prominent Ballon d'Or nominee, the risk of being held accountable rises exponentially.  So has happened to AC Milan's captain and defender Leonardo Bonucci, who has been targeted on social media after his team failed to get three points out of Thursday's Europa League match against AEK Athens.  And when things are left in the hands of angry fans,...

AC Milan Fans Create Hilarious Facebook Event to Rinse Flop Signing Leonardo Bonucci After AEK Draw

Making promises that cannot be kept can prove disastrous for a player's career. It would be damaging for anyone, but when the one who makes them is a prominent Ballon d'Or nominee, the risk of being held accountable rises exponentially.  So has happened to AC Milan's captain and defender Leonardo Bonucci, who has been targeted on social media after his team failed to get three points out of Thursday's Europa League match against AEK Athens.  And when things are left in the hands of angry fans,...

AC Milan Fans Create Hilarious Facebook Event to Rinse Flop Signing Leonardo Bonucci After AEK Draw

Making promises that cannot be kept can prove disastrous for a player's career. It would be damaging for anyone, but when the one who makes them is a prominent Ballon d'Or nominee, the risk of being held accountable rises exponentially.  So has happened to AC Milan's captain and defender Leonardo Bonucci, who has been targeted on social media after his team failed to get three points out of Thursday's Europa League match against AEK Athens.  And when things are left in the hands of angry fans,...

AC Milan Fans Create Hilarious Facebook Event to Rinse Flop Signing Leonardo Bonucci After AEK Draw

Making promises that cannot be kept can prove disastrous for a player's career. It would be damaging for anyone, but when the one who makes them is a prominent Ballon d'Or nominee, the risk of being held accountable rises exponentially.  So has happened to AC Milan's captain and defender Leonardo Bonucci, who has been targeted on social media after his team failed to get three points out of Thursday's Europa League match against AEK Athens.  And when things are left in the hands of angry fans,...

We weren't decisive enough against AEK Athens - Montella

Milan head coach Vincenzo Montella was left to rue his side's failure to be clinical in front of goal after their 0-0 draw with AEK Athens in the UEFA Europa League.

We weren't decisive enough against AEK Athens - Montella

Milan head coach Vincenzo Montella was left to rue his side's failure to be clinical in front of goal after their 0-0 draw with AEK Athens in the UEFA Europa League.

We weren't decisive enough against AEK Athens - Montella

Milan head coach Vincenzo Montella was left to rue his side's failure to be clinical in front of goal after their 0-0 draw with AEK Athens in the UEFA Europa League.

Return leg in Athens will be intense, Montella warns Milan

After their 0-0 draw with AEK Athens, Milan boss Vincenzo Montella admitted the return tie in Athens will be a 'much more intense game', with Milan still sitting top of Group D after three matches.

Return leg in Athens will be intense, Montella warns Milan

After their 0-0 draw with AEK Athens, Milan boss Vincenzo Montella admitted the return tie in Athens will be a 'much more intense game', with Milan still sitting top of Group D after three matches.

Return leg in Athens will be intense, Montella warns Milan

After their 0-0 draw with AEK Athens, Milan boss Vincenzo Montella admitted the return tie in Athens will be a 'much more intense game', with Milan still sitting top of Group D after three matches.

Montella urges fans to back struggling Milan players rather than jeer them

Montella urges fans to back struggling Milan players rather than jeer them

Booed after their Europa League draw, the manager says his players are struggling to express themselves and need backing

Montella urges fans to back struggling Milan players rather than jeer them

Booed after their Europa League draw, the manager says his players are struggling to express themselves and need backing

Montella urges fans to back struggling Milan players rather than jeer them

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