D.C. United is close to finalizing an
exhibition against European power Real Madrid next month in Washington
-- Washington state, that is.
Sources close to the negotiations said yesterday that MLS is hoping to
arrange the match Aug. 9 at 72,000-seat Qwest Field. Real Madrid, whose
roster includes English star David Beckham , already is scheduled to
play Real Salt Lake on Aug. 12 in Utah and has been looking for a second
game during its preseason trip.
Initially, United and MLS officials suggested Oriole Park at Camden
Yards in Baltimore as an alternative to RFK Stadium, which is
unavailable because of a Washington Nationals home series. Other area
venues were ruled out because of approaching football seasons. Toronto
-- which will have an MLS expansion team next year -- also was discussed.
Seattle emerged as the front-runner because of Real's interest in
staying in the West but also apparently to avoid marketing conflicts
with FC Barcelona, Real's bitter rival that is touring Mexico and the
United States at the same time and will be on the East Coast leading up
to an Aug. 12 game against the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium.