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New Season, New Look

West Springfield native ready for new year with D.C. United.

Sharing R.F.K. Stadium with the Washington Nationals baseball team has changed D.C. United's soccer field.

"It's different, but you just have to adjust to it," said D.C. United's Brian Carroll, 23, a graduate of West Springfield High School. "This is our home, it's going to be our home for a little while so we have to respect what he have and go out and perform on it."

Although he was always more a soccer fan, Carroll played some baseball growing up and went to some Orioles games.

Will he do the same for the Nationals?

"Yeah, I'll go to a few games," he said.

Carroll cut his hair short for the beginning of the 2005 Major League Soccer season. "Maybe when we get to the end of the year it might be a little bit longer, but I don't know, I just wanted to change it up a little bit," Carroll said, following United's 1-1 tie with the Chicago Fire in the team's home opener on Saturday, April 9 at R.F.K. Stadium.

Carroll's hair might be cut short this season, but his playing time on April 9 was just as long as it was last year. Carroll who played all 90 minutes in D.C. United's home opener, led D.C. United in minutes played in the 2004 regular season (2,438 minutes) and through the four playoff games (390 minutes) during the team's championship season. Carroll started in 26 of the 30 regular season games and all four playoff games. He and Freddy Adu, 15, were the only two United players to play in every regular season match last year.

Pre-game ceremonies at United's home opener showcased United's 2004 MLS Cup trophy and the unveiling of their championship banner, but Carroll said the team is focused on a new goal.

"It's not about defending it anymore, it's about going out and performing at a high level and trying to get another one," said Carroll.

Carroll assisted Josh Gros' game-winning goal in a 2-0 victory over Chivas USA in D.C. United's first game this season on April 2.