The Washington Times - August 12, 2009, 03:23PM

D.C. United President Kevin Payne is rallying the troops.

After winning the rights to host the upcoming U.S. Open Cup in September at RFK Stadium, Payne wants United fans to do their part in helping beat Seattle Sounders FC to defend the title from a year ago. United plans to take the U.S. Open Cup trophy on a 20-day circuit throughout the D.C. area, dubbed the “We Win Trophies” tour.

The tour starts today during the U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifying game at five bars in the District and Virginia, then resumes next Monday.

But there’s more to the campaign than just showing off the trophy in person. Fans have been encouraged to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, even changing their facebook photos, twitter avatars and desktop backgrounds to promote the Sept. 2 match.

All of this comes after the Sounders suggested RFK was not the appropriate place to host the U.S. Open Çup because Seattle, playing its first season at Qwest Field, has drawn nearly 30,000 fans per game, about twice the attendance of United.

“Our fans deserve some answers,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer told the News-Tribune. “And, by the way, U.S. Soccer has been trying to raise the profile of the U.S. Open Cup. A game in front of 10,000 fans at RFK I don’t believe is going to raise the profile as much as a game in front of a sold-out Qwest Field.”

In an open letter than ran in newspapers and online this week, Payne issued a reminder of United’s success over the years. The team has won 12 major domestic and international trophies since 1996 and is the most decorated team in the history of Major League Soccer.

” The Sounders, and its fans, have said that Washington, D.C. and its fans do not deserve to host the match at RFK,” Payne wrote. “They insisted the match should be played in Seattle. For 14 seasons, our fans have been the standard by which other fans in Major League Soccer are measured. For 14 seasons, our fans have brought unmatched energy, enthusiasm and passion to RFK Stadium and Major League Soccer. And now, after 14 trophy-filled seasons, it is time for our fans – for all D.C. area sports fans – to remind everyone who the best sports fans in the country are.”