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Bye, bye, D.C. United?
by Paul Kennedy, April 10th, 2009 7AM



[MLS] D.C. United's future in Washington does not look bright. Following another setback in its effort get a stadium project off the ground, MLS Commissioner Don Garber told the Washington Post's Soccer Insider that the team will be moved if it can't get a deal done soon.

Garber's comments followed the Prince George's County Council's opposition to legislation authorizing Maryland to study plans for a 24,000-seat soccer stadium.

The vote left Garber flabbergasted, considering the interest the Maryland suburb had shown after D.C. United's efforts in the District of Columbia stalled.

"I certainly hope other businesses that are interested in bringing jobs and economic development to that county have a better experience with them than we did," Garber told the Insider. "It's not something I have ever experienced in any other city I have worked in in this country, and for the last 10 years, I have been personally involved with 10 stadium projects and this region of the country has been the single most-difficult area to try to get something finalized. It has me very concerned."

D.C. United has played at RFK Stadium since its launch in 1996. It's the farthest behind of any original member of MLS actively seeking a new stadium.

MLS has only moved one team in its history. San Jose moved to Houston in late 2005. Real Salt Lake threatened to move before its stadium issues were resolved.

What makes the situation at D.C. United so discouraging is that it is MLS's most successful team, having won four MLS titles, the most of any team playing in one city.

Managing Partners Will Chang and Victor MacFarlane led a group that paid an MLS record $33 million to buy D.C. United from AEG in 2007.

Their initial plan was to build a stadium on the south bank of the Anacostia River, across from the site of the new Washington Nationals ballpark.

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