Fans' View

Fan’s view: A trip to Texas

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

On Wednesday, August 17, my dad and I made the three-hour flight down to Frisco, Texas to support our boys in blue as they took on FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.

Every MLS season, my dad and I try to attend at least one away Philadelphia Union game. In previous years, we have seen the Union play at Yankee Stadium, Red Bull Arena, RFK Stadium, and Audi Field. All of these arenas are relatively local, and all of these teams are in the Eastern Conference. Travelling to Dallas was our first experience seeing a cross-conference Union game.

Earlier this year, when I was looking at the Union’s schedule, the Dallas game caught my eye not only because it did not conflict with the school year, but also because it was a rare game in the Western Conference. Additionally, I was super excited to go to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, connected to Toyota Stadium.

Fast forward six months and I was still thrilled to go to the game, even after stepping off the plane and feeling the 100-degree heat. When we arrived at our hotel, we put on our Union jerseys and drove to the stadium. The game was scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but we arrived around 4:30 p.m. so that we could visit the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Upon entering, I was blown away just by the entrance, which was lined with a collection of American soccer scarves from many of the American soccer teams, past and present.

We created facial recognition accounts that allowed us to participate in virtual reality programs like juggling with Cobi Jones, saving penalties with Tim Howard, and, my personal favorite, creating a “best eleven” team pulled from all current and former USMNT players. As a major USMNT and MLS fan, the Hall of Fame was heaven for me. Memorabilia on display included a signed Pele New York Cosmos jersey, an ancient pair of shin guards, and an opening day 1996 ticket to the first ever MLS match, along with many other rare collectibles.

After taking many photos along the way, we made our way to the shop. I was again blown away, because they had hats and jerseys from every MLS team, something that I have never seen. Despite wanting everything in the store, I decided to add the rarest items I could find to my soccer collection: a retro Dallas Burn scarf and a North Texas MLS Next Pro hat, while my dad purchased a retro 1957-1958 Dallas Tornado shirt.

After enduring the oppressive heat for the one hour after we were finished in the store and before the stadium gates opened, we then entered Toyota Stadium. We were pleasantly surprised to see many other Union fans, who also made the long trip, near our seats. We all had the same idea in sitting behind the Union bench.

While I was not expecting anything great because the stadium was built in 2005, it was still underwhelming. It looked like a large crater, and all the food stands seemed to sell the same thing. Nothing was special about this arena. I also found it quite shocking that the FC Dallas team store does not sell their team’s away jersey and that the Dallas supporter section was positioned in a corner of the stadium.

The traditions in Toyota Stadium are different compared to the Union’s. Before the game, a local celebrity pushes a button to light the massive FC Dallas crest on fire. In this case, it happened to be MLS legend, Kenny Cooper. When making substitutions, the overhead sound is almost like airport pager. That was not the only strange thing. During the game, a diehard Dallas fan wearing a Where’s Waldo-like costume blew his vuvuzela whenever he was not yelling at Jim Curtin to stay in his coaching box.

Even though we were in away territory, this was the first year that I thought the Union could win on the road. However, the Union played terribly. Like they say in Texas, “the stars at night are big and bright,” as USMNT star forward Jesus Ferreira blasted the ball home in the first half to give FC Dallas the 1-0 win.

While the Union lost, the trip down south was definitely worth it. For one thing, I got to have this great adventure with my father. For another, Toyota Stadium made me appreciate how much better Subaru Park is.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Peter. Very cool that you could do this with your father. Mine turned 80 this year, so every opportunity to be together is precious to me.

    • To be clear, the thanks should go to Ben — when I uploaded his piece this morning, I forgot to change the author name. Fixed now!
      Of course, I did attend the Union’s first-ever home game with my dad when I was in high school — a day I will never forget!

      • Andy Muenz says:

        That makes more sense since I thought you’d been to several west coast games and don’t seem all that concerned with the school year…

  2. Thanks Ben, nice post. What food was on offer? If I had flown to Texas to watch a match, I would have been looking forward to some Texas barbecue.

    • Ben Brecher says:

      Wouuld you believe it, but they did not have barbecue? I had to settle for the classic chicken tenders and fries!

  3. Great article! Thank you for putting it together and posting! Hoping when the kids get older we can also do some roadtrips. Would love to go to Portland!

  4. Hey Ben, great read! Nice to get to do some of these things with your Dad. My poor Dad sat through a million little league games and then my short lived soccer career in high school. I later repaid him with Phillies games at the Vet. I have since emulated that with my own children. As a parent you support your kids in whatever way you can! I’m hoping to do some road trip games in the coming years. They will be destination games to visit with the kids and some family/friends as well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the stadium as well.

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