WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2013 — When you have had the kind of season D.C. United had, just three wins in 34 games, it might be a good idea to get out of town. Maybe take a nice vacation. Take a long trip somewhere far away. Clear the heads and get away from gloomy RFK Stadium.
Well, United is heading for a tour of Indonesia from December 3 to December 9. The club’s key owner is Erick Thohir, an Indonesian with plenty of spare cash. Thohir, who co-owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and recently bought a chunk of Italian soccer giants Inter Milan, is sending his D.C. soccer team to play a couple of games against some top Indonesian teams. It is a great idea for the D.C. lads, and will surely be a unique cultural experience. Maybe the team can pick up some new fans.
The tour will be organized by Mahaka Sports and Entertainment, which is owned by Thohir.
United will play a game against Persib Bandung (Indonesia Super League) on December 6 at 6:30 p.m. local time and one against Arema FC (Indonesia Super League) on December 8 at 7 p.m. local time. Both friendly matches will be televised on SCTV, the largest free-to-air TV station in Indonesia.
Persib Bandung is a club from Bandung, West Java that was founded in 1933 and plays competitively in the Indonesia Super League. The seven-time national title winners have one of the largest fan bases in the country.
Arema FC is based in Malang, East Java. Founded in 1987, the team has captured five domestic titles in its history and reached the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup in 2012.
“These matches will provide global exposure for our club and league in a market where soccer is ingrained in the daily lifestyle of the region,” said D.C. United Chief Operating Officer Michael Williamson.
John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
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