During the off-season I plan on speaking with a handful of D.C. United fans to try and capture some of the fantastic stories I've been hearing all year at the tailgates, on the bus, and in the stands.
D.C. United’s 2013 Open Cup victory burns bright in the memories of D.C. United fans. Coming in the midst of a mind bogglingly bad season--with just 3 wins in regular season play, a new league record low--D.C. United’s improbable Open Cup run was something for fans to celebrate. Those unable to make the trek to Utah on October 1, 2013, for the final against Real Salt Lake piled into Lucky Bar in Northwest DC for the watch party.
Unexpectedly joining the Open Cup festivities at Lucky Bar was a Real Salt Lake fan. This RSL fan made enough of an impression on the DC fans gathered at Lucky Bar that he’s popped up in all the stories I’ve gathered so far on the watch party.
Because I am a librarian and I love a challenge, I set off looking for this elusive Lucky Bar legend and--with a little help from Matt Montgomery (@TheCrossbarRSL)--I eventually tracked him down.
Nick,“Lurpy” as he’s known in RSL circles, an RSL fan from Utah, was attending law school in the DC area at the time. He’s since moved back home to Utah but was kind enough to chat with me about what happened that fateful night in DC in the fall of 2013.
This interview was recorded on December 18, 2016. The transcription has been edited slightly for smoothness and clarity. You may re-post the link to the interview but please do not re-post any of the content.
Filmi Girl: If you can put yourself back in the mindset of 2013, how long have you been a Real Salt Lake fan?
Lurpy: I started watching the World Cup games and I thought I should probably check out our local team. We were terrible at that point but, yeah, I had been watching for a few years. I went to see the [MLS] Cup win in 2009.
Filmi Girl: What was your impression of DC United? Just in general.
Lurpy: When I first started watching, DC United was always the team we were sort of scared to play because they were dominant back then and kicked everybody’s ass and then by the time we got to the Open Cup, of course, they were not doing well that year. We were probably pretty overconfident because we had been playing well and so there was all this talk of RSL getting the quad--Open Cup, Supporters Shield, MLS Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League--and, of course, we wound up getting none of those. So, yeah, I went in thinking we had a pretty good shot at beating DC United in that game and that did not work out.
Filmi Girl: Yeah, we were surprised, too. (laugh)
Lurpy: (Laugh) Yeah.
Filmi Girl: So when you were in DC, did you ever go to United games?
Lurpy: I went to one. After the Open Cup game I went to one with my girlfriend and a friend of mine and hung out with Barra Brava there. Tons of fun. You guys were playing Colorado and any time I can watch Colorado lose is a good day.
Filmi Girl: Yeah, the Barra guys are good! So, did you hear about Lucky Bar from Big Soccer?
Lurpy: Either Big Soccer or just googled it. I heard that people usually hung out at Lucky Bar and that they’d have the game on the big screen and everything and some of the Barra guys would be down there and so I figured I’d head over and check that out. I was pretty active on Big Soccer at the time but haven't been in years. I think that’s where I heard about it.
Filmi Girl: Big Soccer was the hub of everything in the mid-2000s. Were you expecting to be the only Salt Lake fan?
Lurpy: Well, you know, I talked to a couple other people--probably on Big Soccer--and they said they would be there so there were one or two other guys but I think they either weren’t there the whole game or maybe they just left right afterwards, which I don’t really blame them for. (laugh)
Filmi Girl: (laugh) So you had no idea what you were walking into?
Lurpy: I knew it was popular with the Barra guys and so I figured it would be a bit like the soccer bar here, the Republican, where the RCB [Rogue Cavaliers Brigade supporters group] and a lot of RSL fans hang out but, yeah, I did not expect that many people. I did not expect to be packed in the way it was. So it was pretty cool.
Filmi Girl: Do you remember what kind of gear you had on?
Lurpy: Yeah, I think I had my RCB shirt on and then an RSL scarf of some kind.
Filmi Girl: Did anybody try any banter?
Lurpy: It was mostly just a little bit of shit talking and singing back and forth and all that. But everyone there was really cool. Everyone was friendly and glad to have me there.
Filmi Girl: You obviously made a huge impression--
Lurpy: Apparently! I thought I was just that obnoxious Utah guy.
Filmi Girl: Do you have any thoughts on finding out that you’re a legend in DC?
Lurpy: That’s unexpected. When I went to the Colorado-DC game probably a year later, it seemed like a couple people were like, yeah, I think I saw you at Lucky Bar but there was nothing that was like, oh, you’re a legend.
Filmi Girl: You didn’t know you were famous.
Lurpy: No, not at all.
Filmi Girl: Do you still follow MLS?
Lurpy: Oh, yeah. I mean, you know, it was tough when I was living in DC because I obviously couldn’t make it to a lot of RSL games and all that. But now that I’m back in Salt Lake I’ve been able to go to a few this season and probably start back up like normal next season.
Filmi Girl: It is hard when you’re away. Or when MLS Live has a blackout for no reason.
Lurpy: Oh my god, all the damn time. Yeah I subscribed for like 2 months and I think 3 out of the 4 games were blacked out and I was like, yeah, that was worth the 70 bucks or whatever it is.
Filmi Girl: Right?!
Lurpy: But after that [Open Cup loss] I was too superstitious to go back to Lucky Bar to watch the games and there wasn’t really anywhere else that had RSL games on.
Filmi Girl: There aren’t even really places that have DC United games on. So, do you have any big thoughts on MLS or your team that you’d like to get out there?
Lurpy: Mostly I’m just hoping we suck less next year. With [RSL owner] Dell Loy Hansen in charge and [RSL head coach] Jeff Cassar rehired I’m not super optimistic but we’ll see. We were terrible in 2009 too and that ended okay. (laugh)
But thanks to all the Barra guys and all the other DC United fans who were there [for the Open Cup watch party]. Everyone was super chill and it was exactly what you want to be when you go into somebody else’s bar. We all talk shit for a while but then after the game everyone was hanging out and having a good time so it was really great to see that and be a part of that. Although admittedly it probably helped that you guys won. (laugh)