B&RU Takeover: Kicking things off with the man behind it all

Gene Sweeney Jr.

For the next 24 hours, the Brotherly Game becomes Black and Red United norte.

In our first post - promptly at 12:01 am (We're nothing if not on-time here in the nation's capital) - Black and Red United founder and editor emeritus Martin Shatzer explains what the hell we're doing here.

It was a cold and windy morning in January 2011. It was the day that the lives of guys like Omar Salgado and Darlington Nagbe would be changed forever, the day of the 2011 MLS Draft. It was also the day that two bloggers came together and made an agreement. It took over two and a half years, but that agreement is being resolved today.

Having spoken only online in the past, Martin Shatzer, then-manager of Black And Red United, and Scott Kessler, then-manager of the Brotherly Game, met for the first time in person that morning. Their discussion that day led to what is about to transpire here over the next 24 hours.

At the time, the Philadelphia Union had everything going for them. Sebastien Le Toux had just completed an MVP-caliber year and the Union had a coach at the helm who knew what it took to win an MLS Cup. D.C. United, on the other hand, was down in the dumps. Having just completed its worst season in franchise history (to date) and finalized its worldwide coaching search by hiring the guy in front their damn faces, United didn't seem to have much of a future.

And yet the manager of B&RU was entirely confident that United would win its next major trophy before the Union won its first. And by golly he was right.

Martin and Scott made a bet that day that was settled last Tuesday night when D.C. defeated Real Salt Lake to win the 100th edition of the U.S. Open Cup and take home its 13th trophy in club history. The stakes of the bet were that B&RU would get to take over the Brotherly Game for one day if United won its next trophy before the Union won its first. Over the next 24 hours, its time for the Brotherly Game to pay up.

My only regret is that the bet was made with a fanbase that I actually respect (despite their unfortunate stench), rather than with the fan(s) of the New York Red Bulls instead. Given their history, that team has about the same chance of winning the Supporters' Shield this year as United does.

Speaking of the Red Bulls, it struck me as odd that the Philadelphia fans greeted the Red Bull fans that day in January with chants of "Fifteen Years - No Cup!" As much as I can appreciate that sentiment, it felt hollow coming from the fans of a team with exactly the same amount of hardware. Obviously the Union haven't had the same quantity of opportunities as the Red Bulls to collect championships, but they've still had the exact same level of success (none). At what point will the Sons Of Ben refrain from the "No Cups" chant for fear of seeing their own reflection in the mirror. We're not actually that far away from the Sons Of Ben chanting "24 Years" at New York and hearing the Red Bull fans chanting "10 Years - No Cup!" right back at them.

But I digress.

As Union fans, you'll read some pretty harsh realities in this space over the next 24 hours. It's all in good fun. And then you'll get to return to reading whatever crap the Brothely Game writers usually throw at the wall over here.

You'll soon forget what we forced you to read and go back to your normal (yet probably insufficient) lives. But just remember, even when D.C. United is having the worst statistical MLS season of all time, they still won more trophies this year than you've ever won.

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