The players and coaches from both D.C. United and New York have weighed in on the venue switch for the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but what about the D.C. fans? After all, they did their part to help DCU earn home field advantage.
When the news came down on Wednesday, the mood was a little dark. Now, though, with kickoff looming and the tailgate flying, the tone has changed a bit. We talked to a few Black-and-Red clad fans in the parking lot to get their take on the Sandy Switch. Quotes below.
"Initially, I was pretty upset. It definitely hurts giving up the home field for the second leg, but when you look at the giant picture of things you see it's not just some minor even that happened up there, you know? It's the right thing to do, ultimately. I'm not happy about it, but it's the right thing to do, and I think D.C.'s the better team and it's going to matter in the end, anyway." - Brian, Rockville, MD
"I was super excited. I go to school and I work during the week, Wednesday would have been impossible. Yeah, we lost home field advantage, but our squad is strong. We'll be alright. You can't sleep on us." - Oscar, Chantilly, VA
"I think it works to our advantage. If we get a lead today it gives us an opportunity to go there and play for a tie. We just need to win today, and win it big." - John, Stafford, VA
"I mean, it is what it is. You're either going to win or you're going to lose. Shouldn't matter that much." - Eric, Stafford, VA
"I was actually stoked, I was excited because we couldn't come on Wednesday. Sunday, we'll have a huge crowd and it'll turn out for the better. As long as we get a 3-0 lead right now. I understand the frustration, we're part of the Barra Brava, we were doing a lot to get fans up to the game in New York. I think it's extenuating circumstances, it's what you have to do, and the fact that the League is paying for buses and for people to go up for free, that makes up for it." - Josh, Washington, D.C.
We weren't exactly planning on a trip down to DC this weekend, but with the conditions from Sandy taking their toll on game ops are Red Bull Arena, we're here.
To borrow a favored phrase from pretty much all MLS head coaches at one point or another: It is what it is. And it ain't that bad. It's freezing, but we have no complaints.
Neither, it seems, do the two sides contesting tomorrow's match. We arrived early enough to catch the end of D.C.'s training which, while closed off to public and press alike, still featured plenty of levity during the team's cooldown period and subsequent media session.
— MLS Insider (@MLS_Insider) November 2, 2012
They might not admit it, but this is a confident group facing New York at home, having put it to their Atlantic Cup rivals here once already this season. And even though it will be hosting a match in November weather on just three days notice, word is that RFK is inching closer and closer to max capacity.DCU assistant Josh Wolff remarked that he worries for some of his kid's soccer-playing friends who's parents haven't finalized their tickets yet.
Sell-out on Saturday or not, many will no doubt be in attendance thanks to the club's marketing push this fall. It's obviously working.
— MLS Insider (@MLS_Insider) November 2, 2012
By early afternoon the temperature had dropped considerably (It was really cold) and a big ol' bus arrived to drop off 30-odd dudes in navy adidas gear outside the D.C. United training ground.
— MLS Insider (@MLS_Insider) November 2, 2012
As we've come to find out over time, the Red Bulls have a certain someone who revels in training ground shenanigans, and today was no different: Thierry Henry was on song.
Joking and jabbing, poking and prodding, no one was safe. For someone who's portrayed as quite closed-off away from the pitch and a cold-blooded killer on it, it was a refreshing sight.
So after a week of worry, everything is ready for tomorrow. The players are ready to get going, you can see it. The venue switch might be gnawing at the minds of a few in each respective camp, but outwardly everyone seems to share the same attitude.
It is what it is. And it ain't that bad.
We're getting close to kickoff between Chicago and Houston. Like, really, really close.
The opening whistle will blow, and the 2012 edition of the MLS Cup Playoffs will be off and running.
With everything else going on, it'll be really nice to actually, you know, watch the matches play out.
Not like we needed any extra help getting hype, but the NBC Sports Network just dropped the spot below for good measure. Enjoy.
Yep, the other Lalas jumped on a Google+ Hangout to talk tonight's match, and he brought props. Watch the video below to find out what Alexi is wearing for a costume on the broadcast tonight.
Greg's not done hanging out today, either. You can catch him this afternoon, rapping with fans before #CHIvHOU officially kicks off. A man of the people, that guy.
Not a whole lot going on in Manhattan these days.
Power's out, subways are down, cell service is non-existant in my neighborhood, the offices are closed. As you might imagine, @MLS_Insider has been kinda quiet. Apologies for that.
Still, we managed to surpass 200,000 followers today. It's been great talking (wait, tweeting) with all of you this season.
Here's to more of the same starting tomorrow night. Coming for you, Bieber.
Chris Wondolowski equaled Roy Lassiter's single-season goalscoring record on Saturday night. Lots of people were watching, which meant lots of people were tweeting about it.
Below you'll find a few of our favorites from before, during and after. 27 goals, that's a lot.
— Scott Riddell (@3dimes) October 27, 2012
If u r a fan of MLS, u should b hoping Wondo breaks the goalscoring record tonight. Would cap off 1 of the greatest individual seasons ever.
— Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11) October 27, 2012
My wife is mad at me for tweeting about Wondo. Says I'm putting too much pressure/jinx on him. I say Goonies never get jinxed!!
— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) October 27, 2012
— Jay DeMerit (@D6MERIT) October 28, 2012
— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) October 27, 2012
— Darren Huckerby (@hucks6dh6) October 28, 2012
@chriswondo congrats bro, reppin dynamo reserve squad 2006 ha ha!! You da man chief!!!
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) October 28, 2012
So blessed to be apart of this special team. Thank you to everyone who has been apart of my life so grateful for the friends along the way
— Chris Wondolowski (@ChrisWondo) October 28, 2012
Kind of a wild week, right? We had a stadium groundbreaking, the end of the regular season is upcoming, Wondo's circus is building up on the west coast and--of course--Heath Pearce did shopping around lower Manhattan.
We also got some big news from the broadcast business. Presenting some of the top tweets this week, starting with this bombshell on EPL TV rights from Sports Business Journal media reporter John Ourand:
SBD: NBC emerges as the front-runner for the EPL's US rights. Here's a link to the story. sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Closing-…
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) October 26, 2012
Heath Pearce has good style. He's also in the process of gearing up for his first New York winter, if you couldn't tell from the image below.
— Heath Pearce (@HeathGPearce) October 25, 2012
Everyone has a take on Wondo's ridiculous 2012 season, but Grant Wahl gave us an interesting nugget on the striker's stretch over the last three years. Silly numbers.
Most goals over 3 straight MLS seasons: Wondolowski 60, Díaz Arce 56, Lassiter 55, Ruiz 50, Twellman 47, Ángel 45, S. John 44
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) October 24, 2012
The regular season concludes on Sunday, crazy. Thank goodness for this whole "playoffs" thing.
One last thought b4 bed: If the playoffs are half as compelling and entertaining as the regular season has been, November's gonna be awesome
— Matthew Doyle (@MLS_Analyst) October 22, 2012
Wondo might have the 'Quakes firmly entrenched in the minds of MLS fans heading into this weekend, but San Jose made big news on Sunday for an entirely different reason.
SUM president Kathy Carter was on hand to see the groundbreaking of San Jose's new stadium, and snap a pic of two dudes that did a ton to make it happen.
— Kathy Carter (@soccerkcarter) October 21, 2012
Whatever happens tomorrow night at JELD-WEN Field, Chris Wondolowski's 2012 MLS regular season will still go down as one of the best in League history. Still, you must be rooting for the guy to grab two more, right? All class, all the time.
Check out the video above, and get your goosebumps ready.
It's a good time to be Luis Robles. The 28-year-old goalkeeper is starting for a team about to begin a playoff run, after all.
Perhaps more importantly, though, Robles is back to earning a steady paycheck.
In a phenomenally-candid interview on the Seeing Red! podcast over at Empire of Soccer, Robles reveals that the whole "steady paycheck" thing wasn't looking too good a few months ago. At least not as a soccer player.
Forget the Red Bulls, Robles was in the real estate game for a little bit. Seriously.
Listen to the full interview here, fascinating story.
That's how many were on hand to lend a hand in San Jose yesterday as the Earthquakes celebrated (and executed) the groundbreaking of their new building.
The goal was to get at least 4,533 fans, players, coaches, owners and staff digging simultaneously to break the previous mark for the largest groundbreaking ceremony, and they smashed it.
6,256. Well done.