Last August, I got my first taste of professional soccer when my dad and I went to the U.S. Open Cup match between FC Dallas and Philadelphia, which saw the Union advance on penalty kicks.
But this past Saturday I attended my first MLS match with all the bells and whistles the FC Dallas game operations people put on for the game. And, while the win certainly helped a lot, it was another incredibly fun experience… again.
First off, I must say that if you’ve never been to an MLS match, you must find a way to get to one. I know many people find the sport boring, which even I admit can happen at times in certain matches, but being at a game is so much better than watching it on television.
What makes the games so much fun in person is just the atmosphere of the game. Most professional sports games don’t really feature that much organized chants. I mean sure, there’s the “De-fense” chant in basketball and football and baseball has the “charge” thing, but those are isolated moments inside the game. With soccer the entire game is an entire chant, particularly if you sit in the supporter groups’ sections, which I hope to be able to do one day.
As I, along with my brother and dad, saw at around the midfield line, I kept looking to the north end of the stadium where the Dallas Beer Guardians were sitting and watching them sing and bounce up and down to the beat of the drum line in front of them. It was quite entertaining and it’s what separates the atmosphere at a soccer game from basically every other pro sport.
The best way really to describe it is like a college football game, since everyone at the game is emotionally invested in the game and the team.
Saturday night’s game was another great match both on and off the field. The game itself was an absolute battle and very physical, which sort of seems to be FC Dallas’ style. I feel like no matter how many times I watch forward Fabian Castillo play in person, which is now up to four times, he always surprises me with his speed. He used it to get the third goal, which was a beauty.
But the moment of the match by far came in the 77th minute when Sporting Kansas City was awarded a penalty down 3-1. Dom Dwyer took the PK, but FC Dallas keeper Chris Seitz saved it easily, sending the crowd at Toyota Stadium into an absolute frenzy en route to a 3-1 win to put the Hoops at the top of MLS for the time being.
In the end, Saturday night was an incredible night with an amazing atmosphere for a great match. And depending on how my summer shapes up to be, I hope to be spending more time up in Frisco.