A wander to my closest local club in the US second tier
Game: Minnesota United 0:2 Tampa Bay Rowdies
Competition: North American Soccer League (NASL)
Date: Saturday 28 May 2016
Stadium: National Sports Center
Ticket Price: $22
Programme (+ price): N/A
A trip not far from home into the second tier of football in the United States, the North American Soccer League (NASL). Going up to Blaine, a suburb north of Minneapolis and St Paul in Minnesota, and the National Sports Center for a game between Minnesota United and Tampa Bay Rowdies. Minnesota United, known as the Loons, come in to this game unbeaten in their last 13 home games and still in contention for the spring championship.
The National Sports Center is a collection of 40 soccer pitches, 2 indoor ice rinks and velodrome that hosts numerous sporting tournaments throughout the year. The main soccer venue where Minnesota United play was originally a track and field facility so it has permanent stands on one side of the field with the other side taken up by temporary bleachers sitting on the track to be closer to the pitch.
I was sat in the main supporters group, the Dark Clouds, who are located in one of the corners. They were fairly good, especially for the US and in the second tier. But I do have one complaint, and it’s a huge one. No scarfs available to purchase. A soccer game without a scarf is like being a medieval king without a pack of dwarves willing to wrestle for your entertainment. It’s wrong in so many ways. They say they will be ready for an upcoming friendly, also known as more than half way through the season. I was massively disappointed to not add another scarf to my ever increasing collection.
Rant over, and now onto the game. This was not a game for smooth passing moves, and had the same effect on me as eating a large turkey dinner, with codeine stuffing and washing it down with a warm glass of NyQuil. MNUFC struggled to build up any play, with TB defending well and controlling the play. The Loons were reduced to playing hoof and hope. Both of Tampa Bay’s goals came through simple wide play, with the first scored by former England international Joe Cole.
This was a poor game and not a great facility. The Loons will soon be stepping up to the MLS with a new stadium so I’m hopeful that they’ll play better football as this was a rough one to sit through.
On Twitter: @RangeRooney