Sunday, August 1, 2010

Our first live taste of Major League Soccer

On the Saturday before last, which was a state holiday called "Pioneer Day" (July 24), my wife and I made the trek to Sandy to watch Real Salt Lake take on Chivas USA. It was the first MLS game we had watched (not counting some scattered minutes of viewing on the tube). We are generally not really big soccer fans -- in spite of Patricia's nationality -- but we did watch quite a bit of the World Cup. Watching live, however, would be a first.
Thanks are in order to some friends who got us the tickets (plus concessions vouchers) through their work. Thanks, guys!
So how was it? Let's recap:
The action on the field was OK, and although we are not soccer aficionados, the talent level is clearly not the same as what you would see at the Cup or in many European leagues. But it's fun to go to a game in person at least once in a while. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. RSL seem to play better and get more chances at goals, but they ended up even (Update: Curiosity led me to stumble upon some stats, and I can now confirm RSL outshot Chivas, 17-4, and 4-2 on goal). No overtime, no shootout. I guess that could be a downside to soccer sometimes: no winner. On the other hand, the team stretched their home unbeaten streak to 19 games, which I believe was announced as the longest such active streak in the MLS, and one of the longest in the league's relatively short history. By the way, the RSL goal was impressive, accurately described in an ESPN game recap as "a stunning left-footed volley," whereas the somewhat-cheap Chivas goal (and I say this not being a real fan of either team) was "knocked down from chest level (by the goalkeeper), only to have it bounce under him and into the goal."
What stood out the most, though, was the cheering and singing from the section of Chivas fans in the deck above us. It didn't just go on when their team did something good; it was nonstop. They only rested their vocal cords at halftime. It makes sense, right? When the players rest, the fans get to rest. But the truth is I had never seen anything like it in person. Even the college football and basketball games I've been to, which had some good crowds, weren't like this.
Chivas fans threw a LOT of streamers and confetti a few minutes after their team's goal (The picture doesn't do the scene justice, but you might get some idea of how it was)
The singing from the video above included the words "Yo soy de Chivas"--"I am from Chivas," or "I am a fan of Chivas." Other than that it mentioned the "sentimiento" or "feeling" they have for the team, and they said "ole" a lot. I don't remember much else from the singing. But they did have a sign that said "Los capos del tablero"--"The bosses/studs of the standings." RSL fans had their own version calling themselves "kings of the standings" ("Siempre seremos los reyes del tablero").
By the way, many of the MLS teams are named after famous European clubs, e.g. Real Salt Lake/Real Madrid, and Chivas USA, based in L.A., is named after a famous Mexican team. Randon thought: do a lot of Chivas fans automatically become Chivas USA fans if they live in the states or follow MLS?
Because it was a holiday, the festivities didn't stop when the game ended. Area performers sang some contemporary hits, after which there was a massive fireworks show. All in all, it was a good night of entertainment. And that's not to mention some earlier events in the day that included parks and grub.


Shawna Scorup said...

what a fun post-thanks for sharing the even-love, mom

Shawna Scorup said...

i meant event

Tyler said...

Hi Sam,
We will be in Parks City the 23 Aug for a Dr. appointment for Dallin. Wish we could get together but just wanted you to know what is going on. Thanks for the up close and in person Soccer event. Love, Aunt Sherri email me if you get the chance.

ASH said...

I realized I hadn't visited your blog in a while, so I figured I would stop by...anyway...

I say yes to this post! Glad you were able to make the trek to see a live match. Despite being only a few sections away from the Seattle supporters, it took me the whole first year of listening to figure out exactly what they were saying. Now I (and a lot of others in my section) are yelling and chanting the whole game as well!

Random thought reply: I think the plan was to get the original Chivas supporters/followers living in the LA area to become interested in Chivas USA by name/uniform recognition...I don't know how well it's been working though.

Hope all is well!