Fans' View

Fans’ View: I believe

Photo: 215pix


Saturday night against Atlanta, the Union played one of the most electric, passionate, and memorable games I’ve ever been privileged to witness on Seaport Drive. After going down to the top team in the East after what felt like an inevitable goal from Josef Martínez, something rare happened that night in Chester. While their goal stung for sure, notably absent in the stands was the typical sense of dread and resignation to a loss. You could feel it in the late summer air. It was belief.

“I believe…”

Belief in a group of players who despite the supposed lack of superstar power, possess instead a special brand of camaraderie that compels them to fight for each. Belief in a back line of exciting young talent who play with composure beyond their years. A deep-lying playmaker whose left peg is capable dropping pennies from heaven onto the exuberant feet of burners on the wings. A netminder capable of making saves that are simply superhuman.

“I believe that…”

Belief in a killer magician whose “sub” moniker belies his ability to rise above the level of every wrong-footed defender who dares to take the ball from him. A striker with the strength of an ox and the finishing precision of a surgeon. A captain and a coach whose fire and ice personalities couldn’t be further apart, but whose hearts beat with the same bravery both on and off the field. And belief in an organization whose long-term vision is starting to bear fruit like a local boy who made Brad Guzan take a seat in futility as the ball went past him for the second time this season.

“I believe that we…”

It is also belief from a small group of misfits in the River End who knew that they could get half the stadium to join in their party. Belief that if I stood up and joined in singing “Tralala” that others would stand up with me. Belief that our positivity and energy would imbue our players with that extra breath in their lungs, extra spring in their legs, and extra bravery that allowed one who has been criticized as a disappointment this season to know that he could beat his defender on the left wing and laser a pass into an iron chisel that would find the back of the net.

“I believe that we will…”

And we all knew it would happen. The subsequent celebration was a mosh pit of catharsis; of spilled beer, trampled hotdogs, and tangled strangers’ embraces that we all knew we deserved that night. In March, I wrote that “I choose optimism.” I’d be lying if I said that at that point I knew we would be the best team in the East for the majority of the summer. But I had a belief that staying positive in soccer is essential and that it can contribute to on-field results; that the belief of the faithful would be rewarded. And I know that as we head into this playoff run, I will be thinking one thing:

“I believe that we will win.”


  1. First off – very well written, and I agree with the sentiment. I do believe in this team. They’ve retired “that’s so Union” from our active vocabulary, which may be the best feeling. I expect them to attack, to compete, to fight back. On the road. At home against the defending champs. Let’s keep it rolling

    • This.
      One of the brightest moments last week was hearing Jim say that he was not going to hold back against Atlanta, that the Union weren’t going to bunker in, and that the Union were going to play front foot offense – which he followed up with the starting lineup, and those subs!!
      Let’s keep the pedal to the metal!!!

  2. In 10 days they’ll have an opportunity to do something they’ve never done before and that is to have at least 1 regular season win against every other team in the league. A week ago, Atlanta and LAFC were the only 2 they hadn’t beaten. Now it’s one more hill to climb…

    • I didn’t realize that! I expect Talen to be bursting at the seams for that match. Hopefully the players can feed off all that energy without losing their heads. Can’t wait for it!

  3. Nicely written Spugger! Its been a fun ride this season. Can’t remember feeling this good about our chances week in and week out. Come on the U!!!

  4. a critic of Curtin’s early contract renewal, he’s proven me wrong. showing more flexibility, adjustment and getting the most out of the lean [by league and our own perception] lineup. i still believe we haven’t realized our full potential. Santos is a reminder we have another gear. Przybylko’s warning to LAFC — i like it. i want to stare at that matchup the same way with Atlanta: believe we learned from earlier missteps going against titans and deserve the win.
    the Galaxy v Timbers match showcased a halftime “i believe” from John Strong and Stu Holden… not glowingly, but any press that doesn’t dismiss or lump us into eventual hurdles for Atlanta and NYC helps. We deserve attention and Stu felt like they’ve transcended the predictability — “that’s so union” — fizzle out/back in to the playoffs of last season.

    as for the Tralala: infectious and engaging. it’s only going to get better.

  5. Love your enthusiasm and your style, Scott. I had thought the Skillsinho v. NYRB game was the best game I’ve ever seen at TES, but Saturday night was the first time I’ve gone home with a sore throat.

    I claim no superpowers, but the moment Santos got up I told my son that he is the one person with the most to prove on either team, I just felt his kinetic energy and I said keep a sharp eye on him. OK – Jim made the unexpected sub and Sergio put foot to ball, but I’m just sayin…

  6. Scott, you’ve fallen on the more positive side of things over the years. I, being usually on the other side, gave you stick for it, and thought it crazy you could be so positive. Then this year came along. I don’t know why, but something made me buy in early this year. Even more unusual, I stayed there. It’s been a hell of a ride so far and I can’t wait to see how it ends, but it’s far from over. Kudos to you Scott for sticking with it, and I’m glad to have finally joined you. I hope to never go back.
    I believe that we will win.

    • Wow, you almost made me tear up a little there. I always enjoy your balance in the force, and it makes sense after the track record of this club. Of course with high expectations you are now making yourself vulnerable to the crushing pain of disappointment, but to me, that’s living life! Welcome to team positive.

      • I’ll be honest, writing that, thinking about the last ten years, thinking about this year, and about what’s to come, I really did tear up. If I am so blessed as to see the day when this club wins that cup, oh we want that cup, it will simultaneously be the most joyous and embarrassing day in my life. I will be happy sobbing uncontrollably. Please no pictures.

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