Barra Brava elders and Screaming Eagle board members shudder at the idea of employing cynical, flip cup-style tactics and cheap domestic beer such as Natty Light and Milwaukee's Best in order to kill sufficient brain cells. For the betterment of the young league, they argue, supporters should self-medicate with a certain amount of style, and if they sometimes pass out in the stands on a road trip, or in the audience at the MLS SuperDraft, so be it.
After watching United lose its first five matches this season and continuing to wake up the day after matches haunted by painful memories of repeated second-half collapses, however, United's supporters are in no position to concern themselves with aesthetics. The clubs are in frantic need of more alcohol, by any means, and seem certain to alter their tactics starting Wednesday night against the Kansas City Wizards at RFK Stadium.
Out: Bell's Two-Hearted Ale
"We discussed some things to try to get the group focused on drinking more, no matter how ugly things get," Screaming Eagles President Paul Soutodeh said. "Since I have checked our beer and liquor receipts recently, we haven't gotten any points for style. We're not worried about that right now. If we get the ship righted and if we add a few seasonal brews in the summer, maybe then we will try to go back to drinking the kind of booze we want to drink."
Barra Elder Chico Solares identified glimmers of hope Saturday, a 1,500-person tailgate prior to a loss to the New York Red Bulls that unraveled after a promising first hour. Although his group made better use of kegs, memories remained for many members the following morning.
United President Kevin Payne agreed with the supporters' harsh self-assessment: "I don't think they have earned the right to drink good beer," Payne said. "More to the point, it's not working. If it's not working, you have to drink something else."
Changes might come with mixed drinks, where various vodka concoctions have struggled. Cheap tequila, in the form of margaritas, has not made an official appearance since last fall, but will likely start today, as part of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
In: ¡El Toro!
Further moves are likely inside the stadium later this summer, when local beer distributors try to move large quantities of overrated, overpriced imports. United technical director Chad Ashton recently spent two weeks in Argentina and is scheduled to drink heavily in Europe and Africa this month.
"We could use some better beer at a few stands inside the stadium, but that is not why people remember that we are 0-5," Payne said. "People remember that we are 0-5 because they haven't been drinking as heavily as they need to be, collectively or individually. It seems like every game four or five guys don't throw up."
Asked if some supporters are simply not dissolute enough to drink away the front office's failures, he said, "There is a point with certain supporters which you have to say, 'Maybe this is it, maybe this is what they are going to drink and maybe it's not as much as we think it is.'"