As near as I can figure, I was the first of the New England delegation outside of the team to arrive in the area, getting into BWI around 2 and into the hotel downtown around 4. The clerk at the check-in desk seemed delighted to have me there when I mentioned what brought me to town and that it was my first time in DC (true–in thirty years I’ve been to a dozen world capitals but this was the first time visiting my own). I mention this only because it sets up a theme of the weekend, and that is that the staff at the JW Marriott downtown was ridiculously friendly all weekend. Napped for a bit in the room, then met up with Tedski and his buddy Brittany to head to the official meet and greet a few blocks away.
The party was pretty decent, saw fans from just about every team delgation, but the layout of the bar made it kind of hard to circulate, especially if you wanted to grab some eats, as we did. We apparently missed some players and fans we were supposed to meet up with thanks to that. Probably the lamest spinach/artichoke dip ever, but eh, I wasn’t paying for it. Immediately bumped into Andy Mead among the KC delegates, whom I’m always happy to see. Chatted for a bit with SJ, TFC, and DC fans. Holy crap, there are Crew fans here! They brought an ivory-billed woodpecker and a photo of Josh Wolff where he’s smiling. Tedski and Brittany actually bailed on the party well before I did, as I was waiting to meet up with my buddy Rohel from NY (why we love MLS: Where else do rival teams’ fans party together? We really did see Houston and Dallas fans drinking together at the party, even). I was also waiting for our pal Evan to show up, since I had his hotel room key.
After shoving glasses with drinks still in them into my jacket pockets, Evan and I decided to call it a night, and on the way out, who should we see but Balboa, Clavijo, and Revs GM Craig Tornberg all coming in. Resisted the temptation to ask Clavijo why he still draws a paycheck, got a few photos, and hit the road, as we knew we had to be up early the next day for the US-South Africa viewing party.