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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Lewis Neal
D.C. United's madden voyage into the 2014 campaign never really got going in a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew in the home opener at R.F.K. Stadium.
In the midst of its worst campaign ever, a stunning goal by Neal in the U.S. Open Cup gave the proud club a moment of celebration in an otherwise horrendous year.
D.C. United is winless on the road in MLS this season and has the league's worst record with only three victories and 15 points. Regardless, the club secured a spot in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League with the victory.
Baltimore celebrated with its Super Bowl champion Ravens on Tuesday, with thousands of fans in purple lining the streets and packing the team's stadium for a celebration.
Coach John Harbaugh addressed the gathering in War Memorial Plaza, thanking the public for their support and saying that the fans "are truly champions." He led the crowd in a call-and-response chant, saying, "What's our name?" The fans screamed "Ravens!"
On a bright September morning nearly six weeks ago, D.C. United's playoff aspirations grew dim.
As the final whistle blew, the waves of emotion washed away four years of frustration. Flags and flares emerged from the boisterous sea of black that filled RFK Stadium’s lower bowl. And as D.C. United’s players and coaches mobbed each other, Ben Olsen and Chris Pontius savored a long embrace.
For the vast majority of Branko Boskovic's tenure with D.C. United, the highly paid veteran's fitness has lingered as a concern.
As Dwayne De Rosario hobbled onto the RFK Stadium pitch, attired in street clothes during a pregame ceremony honoring his 100th MLS goal, reality sunk in. If D.C. United are going to emerge from the stretch run with a playoff bid, they’ll have to do it without their captain and catalyst.
Lewis Neal achieved a major goal of his when D.C. United signed him in March.
D.C. United coach Ben Olsen noted this week how he was impressed with the effort of speedy midfielder Lewis Neal and wanted the newcomer from England to make more crosses from the left flank.
As for fitness, Neal says the groin that bothered him all last year has healed and he is now just dealing with a niggling Achilles injury.
"I enjoy playing over here," said Neal, who hails Leicester in the English Midlands and was a youth player with Leicester City from age 8 to 15.