Okay, so it’s Monday…
But hey– I’m nursing an MLS hangover! Yesterday was the first day of the 2016 MLS season and it was kind of a big deal. 10 games played across the country, most notably featuring the re-match of the MLS Cup Final (Portland Timbers v Columbus Crew) and the ‘Consolation Match’ that could have happened at last year’s playoffs (New York Red Bulls v Toronto FC). In total, 36 goals were scored, and there was plenty of action for the American soccer fan.
In case I haven’t made it clear, I’m a fan of the New York Red Bulls. They play in Jersey, and I live in Jersey. It’s kind of a no-brainer. I’ve gone to a couple of games, and the atmosphere at Red Bull Arena is captivating. The other fans I have met are really great, and I’m learning a lot from them– especially the folks who report on NY area soccer and go in-depth with RBNY. I’ve met a couple of the players, and interact with a couple more on Twitter. I even have a good relationship with a group sales rep (whom I call my “Red Bulls Boyfriend”). Overall, it’s a club I am happy to associate with.
They played their home opener and it…. didn’t go well. First half was amazing, although scoreless. They had good combinations, and stayed up near the Toronto goal, but as my friend Russ McKenzie commented yesterday, there was no finishing– just couldn’t find the inside of that goal. Then, when Toronto scored on a penalty kick in the second half, it was very hard to recover. TFC scored again, and the inability to finish was painfully obvious for RBNY. However, the team has much to be proud of: new player Gideon Baah did a great job in defense, a space that many were concerned about between Matt Miazga’s departure to Chelsea and Damien Perinnelle’s continued recovery. Felipe Martins (who is probably one of the sweetest guys in MLS, by the way) was trying to make things happen up top. If I’ve learned anything about soccer in the time that I’ve really paid attention to it, it’s that the long view is the most important. One loss, while annoying, isn’t the end of the world. It’s pretty much impossible to have an undefeated record in soccer– unlike the NFL (which may be why soccer lags behind football in popularity).
I watched at least some of 5 MLS games yesterday: Red Bulls/TFC, Chicago Fire/NYCFC, Portland/Columbus, Seattle/Sporting KC, and LA/DC. And that was AFTER watching the 2nd half of Hamburg/Berlin in the Bundesliga! I give up watching re-runs of any show during Lent, so a soccer game is almost always new. I should find a way to monetize this fanaticism…
I have to get in all the watching I can, because in less than a month, I’m going to be spending a lot of time watching a very different competition: The Regulator, Toughie, and Pint-Size Genius all start their own soccer seasons. They’ve been practicing with indoor camps, so hopefully they’re fit and ready to go.
Play on, everyone!