The Real Madrid massacre of DC United earlier today was a blast. The environment, on its own, was sufficient to exorcise the memories of my last trip to the club section of FedEx -- where drunken morons dropped racial epithets while screaming vile curses at fellow fans. Nothing like that today... only happy feelings everywhere and people celebrating the opportunity to watch the best in the world ply their trade in a backwater of the sport.
Fans of all races, nationalities, and allegiances (even women in hijabs and Real Madrid shirts?) sitting together and smiling at one another. 72,368 of them. While this is probably not unusual in individual sports like tennis, I never imagined that I would one day be at a major sports stadium in the country where Americans shelled out substantial cash to watch the best their country had to offer get ripped apart by the best the rest of the world can muster.
DC United put up a respectable fight in the first half, but perhaps only because Real Madrid was on cruise control for the first forty-five minutes. In the second half, Real Madrid just tore apart United. And the change in the game seemed linked to two second half subs: Ronaldo was pulled in favor of Raul; and Wesley Sneijder left for Arjen Robben (Those are your reserves: Raul and Robben? We are watching a lot of La Liga matches this season). Robben torched United. Robben laid kindling down, saturated them with lighter fluid, and flicked his Bic. What Arjen did to United was ruthless and violently placed the world back in order, with Real Madrid firmly on top and DC United an afterthought.