Guest post by Luca Morganti
Usually you want to start out with something positive or catchy. Well, I’m physically nauseous after the last two NYCFC matches, both of which NYCFC blew draw results at the end of the second half at home. Luckily, I was able to use the same joke at both games when I asked for odds on us blowing the result. Maybe I shouldn’t have been such a wise ass.
Thus far, the coolest thing about being an NYCFC fan is the season ticket card. Most people raise important points like, “Hey! Are those your season tickets? That’s cool!” and “Wow! That’s so European of NYCFC!” Yes it is. And that’s where the comparisons to Europe stop.
The usual issues of depth, scheduling, and American teams’ inability to close out matches have come up weekly. David Villa only played 45 minutes of the two games, hence our one goal in these two home matches against Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers. We are also playing our third league match in eleven days in the second month of the season. We are losing late, in part, because we are not in shape, and that makes sense in Weeks 8 and 9.
The most interesting parts of these matches were the fans. After scoring against the Union last week, NYCFC supporters released a blue smoke bomb, which was just awesome. But then security started throwing people out. This week, we had drums in the Third Rail supporters’ section! The drum is great: we were louder, the songs were better, and it was a surprise given that Yankee Stadium has been, for want of a better phrase, such dicks so far. Maybe we can bring in flagpoles in the future? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A fan could make a sharpened point during the first half, then throw it at an opposing player in the second half when they attack on our side of the pitch.
On our opponents’ side, Union and Timbers fans were both well represented at Yankee Stadium. There were numerous posts between NYCFC and Union fans online regarding the away support at each match. A mutual respect is already blossoming.
Four hundred Timbers Army supporters from group 107ist sat together on the 18-yard line away from NYCFC supporters’ sections. There were NYPD protecting them and everything! Good idea, I guess, but a little unnecessary. New Yorkers are a lot friendlier than people give us credit for. Walk fast, and don’t go on the wrong side of the stairs/escalator/sidewalk/car lane, and we’ll get along just fine. That, and this city has no grit or grime in it anymore. It’s a safe place for rich white people, just like former mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted to make it.
Now, logistics are a major problem in MLS. NYCFC and last week’s home-and-away derby opponent Philadelphia Union are only 99 miles apart, hence why good numbers of away supporters turned up for both clubs. Portland and New York are 2,500 miles apart. It is a great idea to put teams in smaller markets like Portland, where there is only one other professional team to support (in this case, basketball). But it does create logistical nightmares for getting away supporters to games. Flights and hotels could be cheap (and hotels are not cheap in New York unless your hotel also serves as a brothel), but three-hour time differences and two six-hour flights don’t sound too appealing for a second month MLS match.
Timbers and Seattle Sounders fans are known to be among the loudest and most loyal in the league. They have a fierce rivalry and are only 175 miles away. When talking to Timbers Army after the match, there was the same sentiment: “beat the Sounders,” our next home opponent on 03 May, or as I like to call it, the next team we can give points to as a way of saying, “Thanks for making the trip.” NYCFC and Union supporters would echo similar sentiments to one another regarding Red Bulls had our matches been scheduled closer, though there is already a lot of online and verbal preparation from NYCFC fans going into our Mother’s Day matchup in New Jersey.
The Sounders and Timbers also have the league’s best attendance by number drawn and percentage respectively. The Sounders draw an astounding 43,000 per game, and the Timbers have sold out every home game in their history. Go you guys. But can more than 500-1000 travel to NYC for a match? No. And that sucks.