MatchDay Memory–Texas Adventure Day 3 (FC Dallas v Colorado Rapids)

On day 3, I woke up, did some work on my blog, and checked twitter, facebook and email before grabbing a quick bite to eat and then headed to the Greyhound Station.  Because I was unfamiliar with the process, I went to the station early.  No need but got insight into a very disorganized environment.  I caught up on some podcasts and was mildly distracted by the Ann B. Davis Brady Bunch Marathon on TV Land.

The attendant called for the Dallas and there was a mad rush.  Confusion ensued as he told us to get in order from 1 to 40.  While he was trying to herd cats, other customers were asking him about which bus this was, where they needed to be and everything else.  Did not envy him.  We lined up for the bus, already 15 minutes late and pulled out of the station 45 minutes past the proposed departure time.  This of course created anxiety for me because I had to be at the British Beverage Company by 5:15 to catch the FCD Express.  If we only arrived 45 minutes late, I figured I would be ok.

Prepping for the game, I noticed that Dallas was driving the struggle bus heading into this fixture, winless in their last five, managing only two points in that time.  FCD was hanging on to the last playoff spot in the West but had played several more games than San Jose and LA who were right behind them.

When reviewing the roster, I did a double take when I saw the name Adam Moffat.  I saw him play for the Dynamo last year and knew that he was signed by Seattle at the end of the last season in the Sounders’ push for the playoffs.  Turns out he has played for Columbus, Portland, Houston, Seattle and now Dallas.  (Suspended for this match.)

The Rapids entered the game with goals to spare, scoring seven in their last two.  After a draw and two losses, these two wins saw Colorado climb to third in the Western Conference.  I recognized the names Marvell Wynne and Edson Buddle on the Colorado roster but not too many others.  Surprised that more players didn’t stick with me after seeing them in Seattle a couple of years ago.

I didn’t come across any players from either team being picked for the World Cup or any injury news, but one piece of news from the website grabbed my attention.  Colorado signed John Neeskens, who is the son of Dutch great Johan Neeskens.  The younger Neeskens made his MLS debut recently and I was hoping to see him play.  (Didn’t make the bench.)

Back to my bus stress. . .

After our one stop mid-trip I realized I was in trouble.   About 30 minutes outside Dallas I tweeted the FCD account letting them know about my situation.  They responded right away and I told them it would be close.  Then we hit traffic once in the city.  I was fidgeting and trying to figure out how much a cab from Dallas to Frisco would be.  The answer: a helluva lot.

In the end, the bus arrived in Dallas one hour late. So I jumped off the bus, ran the couple of blocks, checked into the hotel, changed clothes (had to rep Mid-Michigan shirt), and called for a cab. The driver zipped through town to the bar and arrived with just minutes to spare. I got my ticket from the FCD representative, slammed an Estrella Damm, got frustrated watching the USMNT for five minutes and hopped on the bus. Success.

The FCD Express not as dynamic as Chicago Party Bus, but I was decompressing so who can say?  Things picked up when the guys next to me streamed the Belmont Stakes.  Another year, another year without a Triple Crown winner.

Our bus was parked out in the boonies so I just headed into the stadium to grab a beer and taco and watch the end of the US game.  I managed to see the Nigeria PK and settled in for the Dallas/Colorado game.

MATCH NOTES

Toyota Stadium is nothing special but the complex is a little city unto itself with apartments and restaurants and medical facilities and tons of soccer fields.  The stands are not covered which I found odd.  Later I talked to a fan and he said it isn’t that big of a deal because most games are at night and you only have to put up with the sun for an hour.  They did have four covered sections, one in each corner which I learned were for sponsors.

I picked up my scarf and headed down to the Beer Garden, which was an excellent choice because my assigned seat was directly in the sun.  The beer was cheap (and easily accessible) and it was in the shade and I was right behind the goal, so I was in a great spot.

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Just before the game started, the club designates someone to put a scarf on a statue of Lamar Hunt, one of main contributors in the history of American soccer.  This is a really nice touch, reminding everyone of Hunt’s legacy and remembering where you came from and where you’re going.

This was my first MLS trip where I did not know anyone, so it took me awhile to settle in.  I had been trading messages with the Dallas Beer Guardians so just watched them to see what happened.  What support.  The section has the FC Drum Corps and between them and capos, there was tons of noise.  Some really good chants helped energize the team and the crowd.  A couple of Colorado fans sat in the Beer Guardian section, which was particularly brave.

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The game was pretty and open and entertaining.  FCD took the game to the Rapids but lacked cutting edge in the final third.  The Rapids soaked up the pressure and Dallas was vulnerable to the counter attack and were eventually punished with a very creative finish from Brown.  The hosts responded when Benitez scored a free kick that took a slight deflection to equalize.  FCD took the lead off another deflected goal. Castillo dribbled at the Colorado rearguard and the ball came back out to Loyd and his low hard shot was deflected, with the goalkeeper not able to keep it out.

Early in the second half, Jose Mari scored from a great header to equalize.  Again FCD asked most of the questions.  Shortly after the equalizer, Colorado subbed in Hairston and it was his poor giveaway in midfield that allowed Castillo to pick up the ball.  His surging run was capped off by a fine finish for the winner.

In the second half, I met a couple that went to the University of Michigan and chatted with them for a minute.  They provided me some of the details about the players and the stadium.  FCD fans were happy with the result, which will hopefully get the club off the slide.  I really enjoyed FCD’s attack, especially the wide players (Castillo and Escobar) but felt that Perez was too isolated in second half. Still can’t get used to these royal blue Colorado kits as I remember the Rapids in green and black at the beginning of the league and then their switch to silver and maroon.

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MLS recap with video highlights

The post game ride home was a blast.  We had the bus driver pull over at a gas station and one guy jumped out and bought a case for the bus.  Once we had our post game refreshment, we settled in for the ride back.  I was invited to play a drinking game which had something to do with the number seven.  Details are fuzzy to say the least.  Then we played “Categories”??  Anyway time flew by and we were back at the bar.  Quick walk through downtown Dallas got me back to the hotel and off to bed.

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