Fans' View

Fans’ View: Club vs. Country

I bought tickets to the Gold Cup final on March 13.

I was sure that the US would be there. The final was scheduled to be played on my wedding anniversary and I could think of no better way to spend the day then at a soccer match cheering the US to victory.

All of those happy thoughts were gone when the US lost 2-1 to Jamaica last Wednesday. I gave my tickets for the final to my son’s coach.

I realize now I asked too much of the soccer gods because, obviously, I used up all of my soccer gods’ karma when the Union defeated NYRB to reach the US Open Cup semis. My prayers from Red Bull Arena last Tuesday at the Union Open Cup match?

“Please soccer gods, let us score.”

“Please soccer gods, don’t let them score.”

“Please soccer gods let McCarthy be really, really big in goal.”

“Please soccer gods, let Nando make the PK.”

The soccer gods weren’t listening to my prayers when the US lost the Gold Cup semifinal the next day.

So, club before country? Sitting here on the roof deck of our shore house, I can’t help but wonder did I do the right thing?

At this moment in my soccer life, I have to say, yes, I would chose the same outcome again if given the choice. Am I happy I spent $120 on tickets that I didn’t use? No. But it means I get to see my boys in blue play for a chance to win some hardware this year.

Around the 80th minute of the Open Cup game at RBA, I felt this calm come over me. While I fully expected Red Bulls to score and send the game to added time, I knew we had this. For the first time in a long, long time, I had faith that my boys would pull it out in the end.

For the first time ever I watched PKs. Normally, I’m too chicken, I can’t handle the stress and hide. (Case in point: the Rochester Rhinos game. I celebrated the win in the parking lot.) I can’t explain why I was so confident in my Union and why, at the same point in the game on Wednesday, I was not so confident in my USMNT.

Before the US lost the semifinal, a friend on Twitter mentioned the Union would be playing in DC just before we thought the US would be playing in the final. Club before country? He said yes.

I have to agree.

Now in hindsight, maybe I should have kept those Gold Cup tickets. Watching the Union blow a two-goal lead in a dive bar in NJ was not my first choice on how to spend my anniversary. Not only that, I got to the bar late and didn’t even see the two Union goals as they happened.

All of that said: Even after the loss, of course I will support the USMNT.

But when forced to choose between club or country? Union til I die.

21 Comments

  1. Two different sets of supporters…………

  2. DarthLos117 says:

    I too fully expected the USA to be in the final pre-tourney…but as the tourney went on expectations changed…and I too bought tickets to final and I couldn’t be more happy to have gone…the energy at the linc was refreshing…I haven’t had soo much fun at a game in a long time.
    .
    Also…thanks to espn go app…I was able to watch Union blow lead against DC in the parking lot…final helped me forget how horrid the U really are…for a little bit.
    .
    (Meaningful) USMNT>Union>(Friendly)USMNT…if on same day at same time

    • I totally agree. Staci, I respect your choice but you missed something pretty special. I too was expecting the USA to be in the final. I wasn’t, however, going to waste the tickets that I’d bought and I’m very glad I went. My wife, daughter, and I had a great time. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro Mexican but the Jamaican fans were vocal too. Everyone got along and when our section found out we were USMNT fans, the 2 sides started vying for our support. I got to wear a sombrero for a good part of the first half and was draped in a Jamaican flag when they scored their only goal. It really was just an enjoyable spectacle even though we had no real rooting interest. When we left the house, the U was up 2-1 and we all agreed that if we were gamblers, we’d bet on them blowing it. So we weren’t surprised when my daughter looked up the final on her phone. Thanks to the fun time at the Gold Cup Final, I wasn’t as dejected as I would have been had I stayed home to watch. Would I have been more hyped for a USA vs Mexico final? Sure but the atmosphere in the Linc was awesome and I think ultimately, what I chose was the beautiful game itself over club; and for that one night…I’m okay with my choice.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Since I started to follow the Union, I’ve found it harder to root for the US, especially for players that are in MLS since I root against them every time they play the Union.

    • I think this is what happens in England. The team gets so much crap from fans – I think because it’s so hard to go from hating Wayne Rooney one week, to cheering for him the next. Maybe it’s a good sign that we’re starting to feel the same way about our own national team.

    • Not harder to root for the National Team, but certainly individual players.
      .
      Still having trouble rooting for Dempsey after his smug celebration in the Open Cup Final…

    • That’s interesting. I have no trouble rooting for players when they wear US White and then rooting against them when the play the Union.

  4. My want to support this club wains by every month/week/year(it’s a year+ now) they haven’t hired a G.M. or technical director. At this point, it’s becoming more of a habit than anything else. I want to be proud of my local MLS team. I want there to be a future. Not just some murky, clouded image of some half-baked idea that is just designed to keep this team running. Make no mistake, without Chivas in the league anymore, this team IS the laughing stock of MLS.
    .
    Even if the Union end up winning the Open Cup, what affect will that have? Yes, it will make the supporters happy. But the organization will tout is as proof they are doing right. They will hold it up as a shinning example of how great all things Union are. I can just here Sak now…”Hey, maybe you heard of this little tournament in the America’s that we’re in…” My skin is crawling. If the Union don’t have a roster that can compete in MLS, how will they do it in Champions league?
    .
    For something that should be as rewarding as winning the Open Cup, it seems nothing but detrimental to the development of the Union. It needs to get bad, really bad before good positive change will come. The owners are in denial. They are delusional. These great spin masters of ours would take an Open Cup win and turn it into a tale the likes has never been seen. This cannot be the outcome.
    .
    So, with this particular club, I have to say Country first.

    • Excellent points, All4U. I, too, am rapidly losing interest in supporting the Union, as neither the coaches, management, nor ownership of this team seem capable of assembling and directing a competitive squad in the years ahead.
      .
      It would be one thing if the Union were struggling this summer due to an influx of young players building experience for the future, but that’s not what’s happening down in Chester. If there’s a plan in place for the future success of this club, I’m not seeing it.
      .
      Unfortunately, if I had to decide today on whether or not to renew our family’s season tickets for 2016, the answer would probably be “no”.

  5. IMO- If you’re not a Clint Dempsey fan something is wrong. The dude is brash, tricky as shit and the closest thing to a world class field player we have. Not one person in this country plays the game the way he does and that means something.
    .
    When he plays for Seattle against Philly I could give a shit about him…otherwise the dude is tops. Tops.

    • I find it interesting that, for all the talk in recent years about college soccer stunting the development of American players, it’s a guy who played three years at Furman University who is the most creative and productive field player on the US team.

    • +1. Though I did lose some respect for him after he blew a gasket in the US Open match against Portland.

      • Lost his mind for sure which says something about how
        poorly the game must have been officiated… Dempsey’s played at all levels and has never approached something as wacked as ripping the book up.

      • I know that what he did was very wrong, but everyone who has ever dealt with a terrible referee has wanted to do the same exact thing

    • +1 – He can play on my team any day.

      It’s funny that personality-wise, he’s more like the earlier generation of USMNT players (Wynalda, Lalas, Balboa, Vermes, etc.) who knew that they had to be strong characters in order to get any respect. I miss that.

  6. james Lockerbie says:

    I was at rfk stadium “sh** hole. Went down to the vendors for snacks and drinks for the family by the time I got back to my seats both goals had been scored

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