D.C. United

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D.C. United

D.C. United is an American professional soccer club based in Washington, D.C. The club competes as a member of the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer (MLS), the top level of professional American soccer. The franchise began to play in 1996 as one of the ten charter clubs of the league. The club was one of the most successful clubs in the early years of MLS, winning eight of its thirteen titles between 1996 and 1998 under then-head coach Bruce Arena. United holds the joint MLS record for most Supporters' Shields, has four MLS Cups, and been crowned U.S. Open Cup champions three times. It is also the first club to win both the MLS Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup consecutively. On the international stage, D.C. United has competed in both the CONCACAF Champions League and its predecessor, the CONCACAF Champions' Cup. The club won the 1998 CONCACAF Champions' Cup, making them one of only two MLS teams to ever win a CONCACAF tournament. Subsequently, United won the now-defunct Copa Interamericana in 1998 against Vasco da Gama of Brazil. This is the only intercontinental title won by an MLS club.

History

Prior to the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the United States Soccer Federation fulfilled its promise to FIFA by aiding in the foundation of a new professional league. On June 15, 1994, Major League Soccer selected Washington, D.C. out of twenty-two applicants to host one of the first seven teams, with three more added before the league's launch. The team's name was chosen as a reflection of the names of European clubs, such as Manchester United or Leeds United. On April 6, 1996, D.C. United played in the league's inaugural match against the San Jose Clash in San Jose, California. In the league's early years, D.C. was the most successful of all the teams in MLS.

On November 18, 2003, MLS made sports history by signing Freddy Adu, a 14-year-old soccer prodigy and on January 16, 2004, he was officially selected by United with the first pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. When Adu entered United's regular-season opener as a second-half substitute on April 3, 2004, he became the youngest player in any professional sport in the United States since 1887.

In 2005, the club again made MLS history by becoming the first United States-based team to participate in Copa Sudamericana, entering in the Round of sixteen. Since 2006, United has played well against international competition, beating Scottish champions Celtic F.C. and drawing Real Madrid in Seattle. In addition, the 2006 MLS All-Star Team, which included eight United players and was managed by United's manager Piotr Nowak, defeated English champions, Chelsea. In 2006 and 2007, United became the first club in league history to win the MLS Supporters' Shield consecutively. Since winning back-to-back Shields in 2006 and 2007, the club failed to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs five years in a row. In 2012, United returned to the playoffs for the first time in five years, clinching a berth in the second-to-last week of the season. D.C. United tallied a total of only three wins in the 2013 season, setting a record for fewest wins in league history. Despite the team's poor showing in league play, D.C. United defeated Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup final. This qualified the team to participate in the 2014–15 CONCACAF Champions League. In 2014, D.C. United executed a historic turnaround by clinching first place in the Eastern Conference, which also earned the team its second consecutive Champions League berth.

Supporter Clubs

D.C. United has two major supporters groups; La Barra Brava and the Screaming Eagles. Each group has a designated section of the home stadium. La Barra Brava, Spanish for "The Brave Fans", was founded in 1995 by Latino fans in the Washington, D.C. area, mostly Bolivian immigrants in support of original United players Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno. They seek to bring a South American style to home games. They are best known for their tailgates and singing during games. La Norte, which takes its name from its location on the north side of the stadium, is noted for its streamers, large drum, and harassment of the opposition

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