Sunday, March 28, 2010

Red Bull Arena: It's Alive, It's Alive!!!

If the Santos FC grand opening at Red Bull Arena had a laid-back, carnival atmosphere, last night's first MLS game, against Chicago Fire, was far more intense.  It was all about the fútbol, not Lindsey Vonn or Reggie Bush or anything else.

Supporters on both sides brought the noise (and the smoke and the flags and the flares) for the full 90 minutes.  Happily, areas of the stadium that were relatively quiet on opening night - as fans gaped in amazement at the beauty of the new Cathedral of Football - were raucous on Saturday night, joining in with the ESC and GSS on a number of occasions. 
Finally, New York and New Jersey have a stadium that presents the game the way it was meant to be presented, and the fans are responding.  Both this week and last I've spoken to people coming to and from the stadium who had caught onto the Red Bulls buzz and were eager to talk soccer with me.  I don't think that happened more than once or twice in the whole time I'd been attending games at Giants Stadium.

I'll concur with Homebrew and Hans Backe that the Red Bulls may not have been at their best, but these was precisely the kind of close, hard-fought game we found a way to lose in recent years.  On the evidence of last night, the Red Bulls will be a very tough nut to crack when they play in Harrison.  Road form could mean everything.

Kansas City laying waste to our hated rivals in DC was the cherry on top of the sundae.

Match highlights...

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