MLS Cup 2007
November 18, 2007
RFK Stadium - Washington, DC

It's been a while since my college roommate, Mike Rine, and I took a "road trip" but with the Dynamo going to Washington, DC, to play the New England Revolution for the MLS Cup, it seemed a perfect opportunity.

Our 3-day trip took us to Baltimore and Annapolis on Friday; touring DC on Saturday; and then to the game on Sunday before flying back Sunday afternoon. This is just the Dynamo's second season in Houston, but already they are in the MLS Cup for a second time. Last year I was in Plano, at the Pizza Hut Park, to see them win their first Cup, also over the NE Revolution.

It was a great trip, and Mike and I had a blast, agreeing that we should do this again. Hey, next year's game is in Los Angeles!

And giving credit where credit is due, most of these pictures were taken by Mike.

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About a week before our trip, at the Dynamo front office in downtown Houston, with gloves on, the Dynamo let me touch the 2006 MLS Cup trophy. A few nights later, at the Pep Rally for the upcoming Cup, the Dynamo weren't so protective, at least for a while, allowing us to hold the trophy barehanded. I think Mike just might be turning into a soccer fan! So, who do you know that has held a national championship trophy in any other sport??
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Me and few of the Dynamo girls. We saw and said "hi" to them again in Washington on Sunday. Getting a shirt autographed for Patrick. Yes, the shirt was for Patrick. Getting the autograph was for me. We arrived BWI (Baltimore-Wasington Airport) Friday about noon and immediately headed for Baltimore's "Inner Harbor"
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The USS Constellation Located across from the convention center, near the harbor, is "The Wharf Rat" a local brew pub. Mike made the wiser choice and ordered the beer sampler. Usually samplers are about the size of a shot glass, but not here!
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Our walking tour of downtown Baltimore included the "Star Spangled Banner House" where Mary Pickersgill is said to have sewn the huge flag that flew over Fort McHenry. That's the house on the right, with a museum in the back left.
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A mandatory visit for Mike was to see the new Camden Yards ballpark, home of the Orioles. A view from centerfield on a cold, windy November day. Located at the mouth of Baltimore harbor is Fort McHenry, where in 1820, Frances Scott Key penned the words to The Star Spangled Banner.
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Some of the cannons located at the fort. They replace the large replica flag at night with a standard 3x5 foot flag to reduce the wear of the nightly winds. This is the new Air Force Memorial located near our hotel, the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery.
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The US Marine Memorial, known as the Iwo Jima monument.
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The fall colors were in full glory during our visit.
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The guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We were able to watch the changing of the guard, a very moving ceremony.
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A youth group from Indiana placed a wreath at the tomb. The property that is the Arlington National Cemetery was mostly donated by the family of Robert E. Lee and this is a replica of their home at the top of the hill. The fire-orange tree was unbelievably beautiful.
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JFK's gravesite is located on the same hillside.
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JFK's gravesite with the eternal flame burning behind it. Among the many, many famous Americans buried at ANC. Everywhere you look is a headstone with a name from your history book.
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The newest of the war memorials located on the mall is the World War II Memorial. The WWII Memorial is large and is built around a group of fountains.
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The pillars surrounding the fountains bear the names of the states that sent troops overseas. Amazingly, Michigan and Texas were located next to each other. The MLS camera crew was at the WWII Memorial shooting some footage to be used the next day in their broadcast. I still can't figure out why they did it this way instead of just digitally superimposing the logo on the background.
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Here I am holding the painted plexiglas MLS Cup sign that was used for the opening shot of the next day's broadcast. The Viet Nam War Memorial is a long wall with the names of all who died in the war or are still missing in action.
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Mike located the name of a high school friend and a park volunteer here helps Mike to take a pencil rubbing of the engraved name. Ouch! That monument is sharp!
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Another recent addition to the mall is the Korean War memorial, a striking depiction of soldiers walking across a field. "Freedom is not free"
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Another view of the Korean War Memorial. This is how I most-often saw Mike, with his camera to his face, taking a picture. I think he took over 1500 photos on the 3-day trip. And I was glad for every one of 'em when we got back!
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The cherry trees that line the tidal basin turn a crimson red in the fall and make as striking a frame for the Jefferson Memorial as they do in the spring when they are in bloom. On both our lists of must-see places was the National Cathedral. Much like the grand canyon, photos just can't capture the size of the cathedral. It took nearly 100 years to build before it was declared completed just a few years ago.
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The State Seal of Texas is in the floor of the foyer, just off the main entrance. Yeah, we're wedding crashers!
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Does that gargoyle on the right look familiar? It's Darth Vader! A couple of Eagle Scouts at the Boy Scout monument located just off the ellipse near the White House. Finally, game day has arrived. First stop, souvenirs!!
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Hanging out with Diesel, the Dynamo mascot. That's his rally beard, to match the players who mostly have not shaved since the playoffs began. Consorting with the enemy, the Revolution mascot. Members of the Texian Army and El Batallon gathered for a tailgating breakfast in the parking lot.
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This EB member was mugged the night before in downtown DC and had his wallet, with his return flight tickets, stolen. But he didn't let a little thing like that keep him from cheering on the Dynamo! Breakfast of Champions! It wouldn't be a tailgate party without a keg, regardless of the time of day.
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We came prepared with our Dyanamo flag! Stuart Holden warming up. It's getting close to first touch time!
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Our front-row seats were located on the fringe of the Texian Army and El Batallon spirit groups, making for a wild and crazy experience. The TV cameras often showed us as they like to show the spirit groups. This unsuspecting family from eastern PA arrived to find their seats also in the spirit group section. The daughters play soccer and the dad coaches and this was their first MLS game. They were Dynamo fans by the time they left!
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Goalkeeper Pat Onstad warming up. Team owners Philip & Nancy Anschutz, with President and GM Oliver Luck, coming over to our area to applaud the Dynamo fans. Doesn't matter how you wear orange, just so long as you do! This cutie was sitting a couple rows below us.
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If you watched the game on TV, you often saw the two fire-heads. They sat just behind and to our right. An Air Force flyover to accompany Placido Domingo's singing of the National Anthem.
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The players also came over to applaud the enthusiasm and support that the spirit groups bring to the games.
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Keeper Pat Onstad. Team captain Wade Barrett on a throw-in. Forward Joseph Ngwenya who scored the first goal.
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Follow the's going.... ....going.... ...GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!
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It wouldn't be a spirit group without a smoke bomb! Brad Davis on a run. Nearly over and Dynamo up 2-1.
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We Win!!! And the player's first action was to run over and cheer the spirit groups. What a sport! I even had a camera stuck in my face once for comments after the game. Go Dynamo! We're Number 1! -- Again!
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Pat tossed his gloves into our crowd after the game.
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Staying late and basking the glow of victory! More players applauding the fans. You just don't see that in pro football, baseball or basketball. Really makes you feel appreciated! Stuart Holden, hugging his Mom, while interviewed by Channel 11's Matt Musal.
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This might be pretty frightening if you ran into it on the street! But today, it didn't seem very unusual. Soccer is definitely a family sport for fans of all ages!
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That's Dwayne DeRosario holding his youngest, and that's his oldest carrying around his crystal MVP trophy! A few days later, back in Houston, the city recognized the team with a rally on the steps of City Hall. Forward Brian Ching.
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Mayor Bill White was on hand -- "Hey Bill, where's our stadium" was a oft-yelled question Aren't they beautiful? Two Western Conference Championship cups, and two MLS Cup trophies!