Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Quick report from Frisco, TX and the USA vs Guatemala game"

A reader named Alex, from Dallas, attended last nights USA v Guatemala game. These are his thoughts on the proceedings:

I went berserk when I found out we were getting this game several months ago and I sprung for the best seats in the stadium - including "the exclusive" Verizon Wireless Club high above the stadium (where the view is great, the beer is not bad for $5, and the players sometimes go after the games).
Locally, of course there was zero USSF marketing for this game so when I heard the rumors of ticket sales lagging last week (6000 as of Fri was what I heard), it did not surprise me considering this is the same game as last year here and also a midweek game, and on ESPN2.
But a US game is a US game, and I was very fired up to get out there and wear the colors and get my cheer-on with a friend of mine who had never been to a soccer game.

Pre-game, there was not a big serious "vibe" in the stadium and it felt like a friendly scrimmage.
A Bob Bradley "clincher" game for the job?
You would never have guessed it.
But a Carlos Ruiz game is always going to have it's share of controversies, and tonight's was no exception, as the Guatemalan side came out gunning for a tie, which produced a game devoid of a ton of excitement.
Clint Dempsey is a guy everybody loves here and seeing him take a shot in the first half (similar to his Poland goal, no?) may have been the biggest highlight.
The new guys, DeMerit, Simek, Bradley, all seemed to play well.
All the local Dallas soccer deities were out in force - Buzz from 3rd Degree, Kenny Cooper Snr, Mike Renshaw (former US and NASL player), Hitchcock (FC Dallas GM), and even several local sports radio guys who never talk MLS but salivate over Arena Football (??!) (including Bob Sturm of The Ticket).

Many brews were consumed as the second half started and Pescadito increased his dramatics, and there was really one guy people wanted to see get in the game, Kenny Cooper Jnr.
With dozens of family and friends in the stadium - actually sitting near me - the place started to rock a bit as Kenny entered the game.
I was actually grabbing another beer at the bar (...notice a theme here?) when I heard "...Kenny's getting into the game.." and several people at the bar got up to walk outside to see him in action.
Kenny is really loved here in Dallas and has a ton of friends and relatives at every game and it's a joy as a fan to watch him develop and get better and you could feel all that in the stadium.
Physically, the guy towers over people and there was a real sense of " the Big Guy is in the game to take charge...!"
The guy has done a lot of FC Dallas promotions around the area, and several people around me had met him before, and I've seen him hanging around the park myself several times with his Dad (legendary Dallas Tornado's GK; Pele scores on him in his first Cosmos game in "Once in a Lifetime").
As the game wound down without a score, several people around me questioned how we rocked Ecuador and seemingly struggled with Guatemala.
But that seemed to be The Guats gameplan all along - there wasn't going to be another 4-0 thrashing like last year.

One thing about soccer though, there is a big online community out there and I met several people at the bar who post on bigsoccer, are on myspace (laugh all you want), or some form of online soccer community.
I was introduced to a couple guys as "arwIII1970" - oh, then they know who I am, which is funny.
I stayed at the bar awhile hoping to see Gulati, or Arena, or Wynalda or even a player, but pretty much everyone got out of Dodge quickly.
This being North Dallas though, of course there were several $40,000 "millionaires" at the bar with their 20 year old blonde stripper girlfriends, so that was nice.
Overall, the game was a bit of a washout and the turnout could have been better, but perhaps a strange defensive match is what's needed (for experience sake) before the upcoming Gold Cup and the trip to South America.
This US team could be the guys going to South America so they will need to work on getting scores against the "Bunker Inn" style of play they faced tonight.

How did my friend like his first game?
I'm not sure he found it super exciting, and I felt a bit down as we walked out to the car, geared up for the extended tollway ride south.
Then he said to me " know what would be really cool? We should go see a game where people go crazy for it, like in Germany...."
Then he said "...we have Beckham tickets right? Ok, I want to come when the place goes nuts..."
So maybe he did have an ok time.

Alex Whyte
Dallas, TX


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a grandmother, that was a soccer mom,before it was popular, we live soccer/real footbal! During the world cup we do not sleep, now we are watching the Italian and Spaniards in thier own cups.
I bet your friend GOT IT!

5:17 PM  

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