Top Washington D.C. Sports Stories Of 2011: Charlie Davies' Return Leads Honorable Mention List

WASHINGTON, D.C. - MARCH 19: Charlie Davies #9 of D.C. United celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

Charlie Davies' exploits in his first game back for D.C. United tops our list of the "Next 10" D.C. sports stories.

SB Nation D.C. is unveiling the top 10 stories in Washington D.C. sports in 2011. Before we do that, though, let's make mention of a few other big stories that just missed the cut. Here are the "Next 10" D.C. sports stories, so to speak.

20. Dwayne De Rosario wins MLS MVP: D.C. United made a shocking trade at midseason, acquiring the veteran, but well-traveled forward from the New York Red Bulls for offseason acquisition Dax McCarty. It was seen as a deal that could benefit both teams. Instead, De Rosario went on one of the most incredible scoring binges MLS has ever seen. De Rosario somehow nearly dragged an injury-riddled, inexperienced D.C. United squad to the playoffs, and for his efforts, he was named MVP despite not being on a playoff team.

19. Jim Larranaga departs for Miami: The local legend looked like he would stay in Fairfax forever, since he had turned down so many coaching jobs in the past. Instead, following one of his best coaching jobs yet, Larranaga departed for Miami, a program still recovering from the Nevad Shapiro scandal. The stunning move, which took place late in the offseason, forced the Patriots to scramble and hire former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, who himself had been fired earlier in the year.

18. 'Capital Punishment' brings summer basketball to D.C.: With the NBA engrossed in a lockout, Washington D.C. emerge as the center of the summer-league circuit. Not only did the Goodman League at Barry Farms garner much more attention, but thanks to the efforts of commissioner Miles Rawls and many more, the first-ever showdown between the Goodman League and Los Angeles' Drew League took place in D.C. in August. There were several hiccups in the game's planning, but the event lived up to the hype, as the Goodman League squad led by Kevin Durant and John Wall edged the Drew League squad led by James Harden and Brandon Jennings in the closing seconds.

17. Washington Capitals come through at 2011 Winter Classic: It was just over a calendar year ago when the Washington Capitals shipped up to Pittsburgh and defeated the Penguins in easily the most hyped Winter Classic game in the tradition's short history. You can thank HBO 24/7 and the classic Capitals-Penguins rivalry for that.

16. Wilson Ramos kidnapped in Venezuela: In one of the scarier stories of the year, promising Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was hanging out in his home in his native Venezuela when a group of armed kidnappers took him away. They held him for several days before the authorities conducted a rescue mission to get him back. Nationals fans did all they could to show their support, organizing a vigil for Ramos and sending over their prayers in so many other ways.

15. The Wizards and Terps get a new look: We all love uniform changes, so we all ate up the new looks the Wizards and Terps unveiled this season. The Wizards' rebranding earned high marks, while the Terps' was met with mixed results. In both cases, though, the play on the field did not reflect the team's new look.

14. Rory McIlroy runs away from everyone at the U.S. Open: The U.S. Open returned to Congressional Country Club this year, and one man stole the show. Rory McIlroy recovered from his Masters collapse in dominating fashion, winning the tournament in a manner we haven't seen anyone win a Major since Tiger Woods. In the process, he made a name for himself as one of golf's rising stars.

13. Stephen Strasburg mania returns: Stephen Strasburg did indeed return to the Washington Nationals in September after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, and he reminded fans why they got so giddy about him last year. Along the way, he took part in a series of minor-league rehab starts that were nearly as anticipated as his minor-league starts before his stunning 2010 debut.

12. The Clinton Portis era officially ends: Clinton Portis was officially released during the winter, officially ending one of the most unique tenures in Washington D.C. history. To this day, Portis has not been claimed by another team, which means Redskins fans alone can lay claim to saying they say Coach Janky Spanky in his heyday.

11. Charlie Davies has a storybook debut for D.C. United: Considering the circumstances surrounding his 2009 car crash, Charlie Davies was lucky to even be alive, much less playing professional soccer. Few had any idea what to expect when D.C. United acquired him on loan for the 2011 season. It didn't quite work out as expected in the end, but in the beginning, boy was it special. Most notably, Davies' first game, during which he scored two goals in front of a boisterous RFK Stadium crowd to lead D.C. United to a season-opening win. As the old saying goes, if you didn't like that moment, you don't like sports.

For more coverage of Washington D.C. sports, visit our D.C. blogs:

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