Man City Transfer Target!
Mar 15, 2018, 1:12 AM
Post #1 of 1
As part of a multi-sport US/Canada trip, I logged my first two MSL games in a New York double.
Saturday March 10th
New York Red Bulls 4-0 Portland Timbers
Red Bulls play in the town of Harrison, NJ, a short train ride from the World Trade Center site, and thence a ten-minute or so walk. Plenty of fast food options and a couple of drinking holes in the vicinity, best to take advantage of these as concession prices at all venues I visited over the trip are Wembley sort of prices.
The stadium looked less than half full to me although a suspiciously high crowd has been declared. I bought a $40 ticket, just across an aisle from some more expensive seats ($67), and as the whole row was unoccupied, I was able to slide across to my left and sit high and bang-on level with the halfway line. Nice.
Red Bulls scored on 17' through Mines, and then coasted their way through the match, waking up for the last 15 minutes after Bradley Wright-Phillips had been brought on (to a huge ovation). He scored the second and Rivas added a third and a stoppage time fourth.
The home team have a large and very vocal group who it behind one goal, making lots of noise throughout, and to their credit Portland brought about 300 in a section at the other end who made plenty of noise too.
Sunday March 11th
New York City 2-1 LA Galaxy
From a "soccer-specific" Red Bull Arena, to a venue that very much is designed for baseball, Yankee Stadium. Not the iconic Yankee Stadium of old, but the 2009 version which is still a very impressive building where a new legacy is being engineered in Major League Baseball.
NYC as tenants dress things up as best they can, calling it the "Etihad pitch" but the configuration of the field and the angles of the stands mean it is not ideal, and the pitch barely meets international guidelines at 100m x 70m, with bits of grass over some of the baseball infield and warning track obvious to my eye.
Still, I had a decent seat for (I think) $49 and saw a much more competitive match than on Saturday with two first half NYC goals (Tinnerholm & man of the match David Villa) and the Galaxy pulling one back on the hour (Jonathan Dos Santos).
In contrast to the home team's "big name" Villa running the show, the visitors most recognisable player, Ashley Cole, had a torrid time and got dismissed for second yellow late on which saw hoots of derision and laughter in more or less equal amounts.
The home crowd again included a promiment singing section, but unlike Saturday, the away support numbered a couple of dozen scattered across an empty-looking second tier block.
A few general observations
* No paper in evidence at either game
* American crowds can't see to sit still (not confined to football), people were constantly up and down to the food stalls disrupting every one else in their row and the one behind who couldn't see the field while this was going on.
* I may have been on Eastern Standard Time (and changed to Daylight Saving Time for the Sunday), but the MLS operates on Isthmian Mean Time with neither game starting anything like on the advertised start time.
* I found the standard of officiating to be very high.
Would I go to more MLS games if the chance arrived? Definitely.