On Friday morning I flew from
Around 19.40 we drove up the sand road to the stadium, following a surprisingly long and slow line of cars (mostly SUV, this is the South!). RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium, at
Tonight the game was almost an international, given that the Atlanta Silverbacks played the Puerto Rico Islanders. This was a game in the USL First Division, i.e. the division under the Major League Soccer (MLS). While all sports games in the
This points to a funny aspect of the ‘American’ football competitions. Whether MLS, USL1, USL2, or even the W-League (Women), the division includes mostly teams from the
While no American game is complete without an announcer shouting commercials at you every so many minutes, but this time we were ‘entertained’ even more, namely by a commentator who regularly told us what happened on the pitch – this might have been because the game was televised live as well, although my girlfriend’s alternative hypothesis is that most spectators understand little of the game and have to be explained what’s happening. Indeed, it seems that at least half of the adults in the stadium are parents of soccer-playing children with no or very limited knowledge of the beautiful game themselves.
What can I say of the quality of Second Division football in the
Now, normally I go for a snack hunt during half time, and one would imagine this to be a very pleasing activity in an American stadium. But not this time! While Americans eat themselves into obesity during baseball and football games, ‘soccer’ games tend to be fairly poorly catered for. This evening we would only have the option of cooled drinks (including Heineken and Heineken Light) and crisps. L We were entertained with a shoot-out for kids though. But the half time highlight was that I caught one of the balls that were shot in the audience (and the gratitude of the little boy I gave it too). Fair enough, most other men probably more enjoyed the celebration of the Atlanta Silverbacks Women Team, who were honored for their great season. Here is the proof that American women soccer looks a lot different than women football back in my days.
After waiting for over 20 minutes, the commentator announced the start of the second half as follows: “and we are televised and on our way”. The first 15 minutes little happened outside of the middle section of the pitch. Whenever the visitors would attack, the commentator would shout “come on defense”, probably in an attempt to explain soccer to basketball fans. Around the 60th minute the game started to pick up in excitement: a nice backheel flip of
At this point fans started to leave the stadium and walk up the hill to leave before the after-game fireworks. They missed little, except for a great reflex of the Puerto Rico Islanders goalie, definitely one of the best players of his team, who blocked a close-range shot in the low corner. Final score: 3-0 for the Silverbacks!
The family atmosphere of the game was even strengthened after the game, when the lights went out, and a 5-minute-fireworks show started. It might not have been the most impressive fireworks I have ever seen, but it did give a very friendly and cozy feel to the whole evening. So, quite satisfied, if tired, we made our way back to the car… and the air conditioning!