While the result on the field, and some times in the stands was not the greatest last night, there are many more talking points about last night's game that need to be addressed. Specifically the opening of Livestrong Sporting Park. Seriously, the stadium is absolutely amazing. I'm not ashamed to say that for a while inside the Members' Club last night before the game I was tearing up and getting a little misty eyed. To think that this is our home, a place to "hang our hat" as it is, a place where we can say we are the primary tenant, we have first choice on dates (after NASCAR). The club is amazing inside, plenty of room even with a packed house to at least relax for a couple minutes in the air conditioning, which will do wonders when the August home stretch is going on. It was great to meet Ron Newman the team's original coach in the Members' Club pregame and have a conversation with Don Garber as well in the same of an hour.
You walk out and look at the rest of the stadium and it just feels so close and intimate. Seriously it almost has a little bit of a claustrophobic feel to it when you look around the stadium, especially when full. The steep raise of all the sections put you right on top of the action. I spent the first half on the east side of the Members' Stand and felt like I was right on top of Michael Harrington and Dominic Oduro in the first half. In the second half I moved behind the goal, and even though I was over half way up the section I still felt incredibly close to the field. This was something that up until this year was really only reserved for the field side reserve people. I've been to quite a few of the soccer specific stadiums in this country (HDC, Rio Tinto, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, PHP, Toyota Park, and Crew Stadium) and never felt this close to the action from that far away.
The pregame stuff for the game last night was fantastic as well, I loved the "retrospective of the team throughout the years (video below). It was classy to have both Robb Heineman and Lance Armstrong speak at the opening.
It just feels great to have a place of our own, a place that I know we'll come to for years to come knowing this is our house. Now all we need to do is avoid becoming the Royals, having a nice stadium, but having a stinker year in and year out on the field.
Enjoy the team retrospective and the well Matchday 360 from yesterday below.