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Fans’ View: C’mon you Boys in Blue (or black — your call, really)

Photo: Earl Gardner

Like a kid who can’t quite wait until Christmas morning to look at (or shake) their gifts, I snuck over to PPL Park the day before the opener. Philabundance is opening a not-for-profit supermarket a few blocks away (Yay on them), and after walking the space to bid my trade, I looked up and around to see the bridge on the horizon. The draw was too great. I took a few extra minutes on my drive back north to sneak a peak at my gift. At our gift. The PeoPLe’s Park.

I turned up Seaport and watched as a man on a high reach affixed the league’s flags around the perimeter. I doubled back to cruise by again and looked in at the waiting stands through the open portals. I slowed to a crawl to drag it out even though I knew I’d be back to enjoy it more fully the following day. I drove back up 95 knowing that the wait was almost over. I drove thinking about how I’d soon cross Lot B, enter those gates, grab a beer, maybe a pretzel, and take the seat I’ve held down for three years. I drove looking back on those years in fondness (mostly) and looking forward to this fourth year in hope (mostly).

I awoke Saturday ahead of the sun. Now, this had more to do with my son poking me in the shoulder demanding Fruity Cheerios than to my own anticipation levels, but I jumped up nonetheless, poured him a bowl, and got down to business. I pulled out the cooler. I triple checked my tickets and parking pass. I laid out my jersey and the many layers I’d squeeze in under it. I jumped on the computer to see what my fellow fans were doing to get ready and to share in the excitement as we talked up the game.

My shining fan-armor and rose-colored glasses took a small hit as I read that the Union were brand-mixing with Chick-Fil-A, and that after all the “Don’t Cross the Line” campaigning, dropping of the Boy Scouts, proud rainbow flag in the River End, and universal expressions of support for Robbie Rogers, the Union Front Office deemed Chick-Fil-A the proper arbiter of who should be “Family of the Game.” Not cool. I took great joy, however, in seeing the Union faithful taking them to task for it, shook it off, and got back to getting geeked up about the match.

While nervous about the season, I had a much better feeling this year than last. Hack would get a fresh start. Le Toux was home (and serenading us!). We were asked to sing the anthem without the clumsy reminder that this was “our tradition.” All good things.

Other parts of the day were far too familiar…

“Mind-bottling” starting lineup untested in preseason? Check.

Two holding midfielders and a lone striker in a home match? Check.

Torres safely bubble-wrapped on the bench instead of risking injury—or success—by pushing forward flanked by a matched set of Farfans? Check.

A tease of early success undone by poor finishing and a defensive collapse? Brian Carroll caught in possession? Trouble with set pieces in our own end? Check. Check. Check.

I suppose there is some comfort to be found in the familiar, but I hope as the season really gets rolling, the U can find their way past all this potential and surprise us a time or two. I’ll be there 19 more times to bear witness to it all either way.

5 Comments

  1. Andrew 'Calm' Down says:

    The opener was my first game that was cold, featured Le Toux, Parke, and black kits. I went to a lot of 2012 games, but this one was different. I know some people people claim we don’t have an ‘identity,’ but I think we’ll show them differently this year…Hopefully, the fans show up firstly.

  2. “My shining fan-armor and rose-colored glasses took a small hit as I read that the Union were brand-mixing with Chick-Fil-A, and that after all the “Don’t Cross the Line” campaigning, dropping of the Boy Scouts, proud rainbow flag in the River End, and universal expressions of support for Robbie Rogers, the Union Front Office deemed Chick-Fil-A the proper arbiter of who should be “Family of the Game.”

    Yep.

  3. Chick-Fil-A +2.

    My optimism is still in tact. I actually didn’t mind the lineup choices (although I’d still like to see Soumare in, Okugo moved up, and either BC or Lahoud out).

    My “fan story” for the day was the nearly fractured patella I received as I fell to my knees on Seba’s missed opportunity – bashing my knee into the cupholder in front of me. I was in tears for two reasons.

    C’Mon the U

  4. I wonder how the Union got so lucky to have 2 of the most talented Rudderows?

  5. I was very surprised not to see Soumare start alongside Parke in the first. I was in Orlando during preseason and he looked very good and confortable, he has a certain calmness that reminds me of Valdes. I heard through the grapevine that Soumare met with ownership this week and requested to be traded. I hope we get tom see him in a union uniform at some point.

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