Posts Tagged ‘ MLS ’

Northeast

Researching a trip to visit both New York City teams at one time sent me down a rabbit hole and the result is a trip in which you can knock out all four teams in the Northeast in one week. Here we go.

NE trip

The journey starts in New England. On Saturday, April 11, the Revolution host FC Cincinnati at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough at 7:30 pm ET. The next day you’ll need to get up early and hustle down to the Bronx as NYCFC takes on the Chicago Fire at Yankee Stadium at 12:30 pm ET. From there you can head to Philadelphia and see the Union take on the LA Galaxy at Talen Energy Stadium at 7:30pm ET on Wednesday, April 15. The last stop is Harrison, NJ at Red Bull Arena for the game between New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution at 1pm ET on Saturday, April 18. Four venues, one week. Amazing!!

There are tons of options for getting between these great cities. I found a website called Trip Savvy, which lays out options between Boston and New York and New York and Philadelphia.

Please know that had I done the research for this trip before committing to other trips, I probably would have done this for 2020. This is a true groundhop and looking forward to seeing if anyone can pull this off.

Team Information

New England Revolution

NYCFC

New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia Union

Lower League Teams

There are tons of from the lower leagues of American soccer in between Boston and Philadelphia, if you wanted to squeeze an extra game or two. Check out my map of US and Canadian teams to find a team.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Here to help. Comment below or email me at austinlong1974@gmail.com.

Good luck and safe travels!!

Groundhopping Goals!!

orl

ATL UTD at Orlando City, Exploria Stadium, May 2018

Soccer has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Started playing as a child and still play when healthy, which is more and more infrequent. I’ve coached and managed teams, plus started this blog and hosted a podcast. Recently I was President and Board Member of an Major League Soccer (MLS) Supporters Group.

Now my focus has turned to groundhopping. I went to my first MLS game in 1998 at Soldier Field. I hit Columbus in 1999 and saw the occasional college game in central Michigan over the next several years.

seattle

Century Link Field, Seattle, WA in 2012

In 2012 I decided to start engaging MLS. Started reading articles, watching games, listening to podcasts. I had not been to an MLS game in years so decided to plan a trip. First up was the Pacific Northwest. I had family in the area and heard a lot about their match day experience. With a successful trip out there, I set a goal to to see a game in every MLS city. Every year I get to about 50% but with expansion I can never get over the hump. So far I’ve been to the following cities:

  • Atlanta 
  • Chicago 
  • Columbus
  • Washington D.C. 
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Denver
  • Dallas
  • Houston 
  • Portland 
  • Seattle 
  • Kansas City

Hoping to knock out Nashville and Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2020.

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First ever Birmingham Hammers game, Sicard Hollow Sports Complex in 2016

I also love seeing teams in the lower leagues of the United States and have put together a map that shows most of the teams in United States and Canada, and all of the places I’ve been over the last 20 years or so.

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RFK Stadium, Washington, DC in 2016

Now my goal is to see a soccer game in the lower 48 states and the District of Columbia. I’m about a third of the way there:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • District of Columbia

Looking to check off Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky this year.

Let me know where you have been in the US and Canada. Best venue? Worst venue? Give me a shout on twitter @austinlong1974 or via email austinlong1974@gmail.com.

Cascadia

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Cascadia is where this whole adventure really took off for me. I hit Seattle and Portland back in 2012 and had an amazing time. I still haven’t been to Vancouver but hopefully one day!!

I took a look at the 2020 MLS schedule to see if you could hit all three cities in a relatively short period of time, and I came up with two options.

The first option would be around the July 4th holiday. The Timbers host the Crew at Providence Park on Wednesday, July 1 at 7:30pm PT. From there you could get to Vancouver as the Whitecaps take on FC Cincinnati on Saturday, July 4 at 7pm PT at BC Place. The next day, get back down to Seattle for the Sounders against Minnesota United at Centurylink Field on July 5, at 6pm PT. Fly back to your homebase the next day. 

It’s not logistically the best but again, it is possible. An early morning flight from Portland to Vancouver was around $130 or you could save $20-$30 if you fly out first thing on July 4th. The drive from Portland to Vancouver is about 5 and a half hours. There’s a morning flight for about $150 from Vancouver to Seattle on July 5th. Drive is about 2 and a half hours.

Atlanta United fan Robert Swick knocked this trip out a couple of years ago and suggested the following:

Stay in Portland 7/1 and 7/2 before taking the trek up to Vancouver on the 3rd. Watch the game on the 4th, then drive down to Seattle for the 5th, hang out on the 6th, then fly back on the 7th.  That would give someone basically 2 days in each city and also allows the potential to fly into/out of SEA/TAC versus two one-way’s.  

The second option is in September. Start in Vancouver at BC Place for Vancouver hosting Minnesota United on Sunday, September 13 at 6pm PT. On Wednesday, September 16, the Earthquakes visit Seattle at 7:30pm PT. The last stop is at Providence Park in Portland on Saturday, September 19 for the Timbers against Toronto FC at 6pm PT. 

I like this option the best because you have time to enjoy each city. If you can get a week off from work, family, life, then make it happen!

Things to do

All three cities are amazing so there’s plenty to do. Each city’s site has some suggestions to get you started:

Match Day

I loved my experiences at Providence Park and Century Link. Make sure to get to the venues early and soak everything in. Each team’s website has a ton of information regarding activities, transportation and more.

Stadium Tours

Each venue hosts a tour. Check out the information and see if you can squeeze one in.

Lower League Teams

There are tons of from the lower leagues of American soccer, if you wanted to squeeze an extra game or two. Plus there’s Pacific FC in the Canadian Premier League. Check out my map of US and Canadian teams to find a team.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Here to help. Comment below or email me at austinlong1974@gmail.com.

Good luck and safe travels!!

Canada (Toronto and Montreal)

TOR-v-MTL

If you want to visit the two Canadian teams in the Eastern Conference in the same weekend, there are two possibilities. I’ll be posting options for Vancouver in a Cascadia post.

In May, Toronto FC host expansion team Inter Miami on Saturday, May 30 at 6pm ET at BMO Field. The following day, the Montreal Impact welcome the Colorado Rapids on May 31 at 1pm ET. This will be a quick turnaround so plan accordingly.

NYCFC travel to Stade Saputo to take on the Impact on Friday, September 11 at 7pm ET. Atlanta United are away to TFC on September 12 at 7:30pm ET. 

Flights between the two cities looked to be around $100 at the time of research. Train service through Via Rail Canada is an option although make sure to check departure and arrival times to make sure you give yourself enough time. A car ride is about 5 hours if you wanted to rent a car.

bmo

BMO Field, Toronto, Canada

Toronto FC

stade saputo

Stade Saputo, Montreal, Canada

Montreal Impact

Venue Information

Looks like neither venue offers tours. Found some great infoFootballTripper.com regarding BMO and Stade Saputo. Note, information is a little outdated but gives you some ideas for your visit.

Lower League Teams

Two Canadian Premier League teams are near Toronto, Forge FC in Hamilton and York 9 FC in Toronto, so take a look at their schedules to see if you can get in some extra games.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Here to help. Comment below or email me at austinlong1974@gmail.com.

Good luck and safe travels!!

Los Angeles (Galaxy and LAFC)

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In reviewing the 2020 MLS schedule, I found several opportunities to see both LA teams in one weekend (and even on the same day!!!). I haven’t been to either venue but I am looking forward to checking them out in the future.

March 7/8

On March 7 LA Galaxy host the Vancouver Whitecaps at 7pm PT. The following day (March 8) the Philadelphia Union come to Banc of California Stadium at 7:30pm PT to take on Los Angeles FC.

March 22

Orlando City visit Dignity Health Sports Park at 3pm PT and, if you hurry, you can get over to Banc of California Stadium for LAFC against Portland at 6pm PT.

The two venues are about 12 miles apart. I’ve never experienced LA traffic but I’ve heard it’s a nightmare. 

May 30/31

Houston Dynamo travel to LA to play LAFC on May 30 at 5pm PT. The following day LA Galaxy host Minnesota United on May 31 at 7pm PT.

August 2

Another chance for both venues on the same day, and this one is a little more manageable. Defending MLS champion Seattle Sounders come to Banc of California Stadium to play LAFC at 12:30pm PT. Then LA Galaxy host Portland at 7pm PT. Better option if you want to do both games in the same day.

September 19/20

Colorado Rapids are away to LA Galaxy on September 19 for a 7:30pm PT kickoff. LAFC host DC United on September 20 at 4pm PT.

 

stub-hub

Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA

LA Galaxy 

Tickets

Matchday

Supporters

u/DodgersGalaxyKings on reddit posted some tips and suggestions:

Pre Game – You are an Uber ride away from Carson to Torrance, tons of breweries to visit before the match or after. Tailgating is also encouraged at the stadium, depending on the team you support you may or may not be allowed into any of the supporters groups tailgate areas.

Feel free to explore the stadium, tons of things to do and see inside on the concourse between the the soccer stadium and tennis stadium. The concourse is where you will find various food and beer options and there are tons of different stalls all over the stadium though.

Hotels – their are two hotels down the street from the stadium if you are looking to stay closer to the stadium (Hampton Inn and Extended Stays America), and these hotels are all within walking distance.

Parking is $20 at the stadium. This can be avoided by pre-paying online saving you about $5 to park. Better yet you can park for free at one of the metro bus stations at the Del Almo Station or Harbor Gateway Transit Center, and the Galaxy express bus will shuttle you to and from the game for free.

Plus I found this post on Football Tripper.com. Little outdated but gives you some ideas for your visit.

BoCS

Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, CA

LAFC

Tickets

Matchday 

Supporters

u/markrevival shared this info for LAFC

Come early. The party out front has lots of food and cheap booze. There’s a lot to do and see around the stadium. Check out the science center and the space shuttle! Go to the Free Play after party. 

The stadium is right off the expo line so you can stay anywhere downtown, Santa Monica, Hollywood close to the red line, or Ktown off the purple. Or you can stay in Pasadena and take the gold line! But downtown is the best for sure. Just stay away from skid row.

If you have extra time and want to catch games from the lower leagues of American soccer, there are several teams in the LA metro area. Check out my map of US and Canadian teams to find a team.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Here to help. Comment below or email me at austinlong1974@gmail.com.

Good luck and safe travels!!

Kansas City

Kansas City is a great city and I barely scratched the surface on my visit there in 2017 to see Atlanta United take on Sporting Kansas City. MLS content creator and all around good guy Jay Riddle put together an awesome trip and here are some of the highlights.

big rip

Our group at Big Rip

We flew out early on Saturday and joined the brewery crawl in progress. We hit up several great breweries in the area including Big Rip and Stockyards. Here’s a map of possible places to hit. Note that McCoy’s Public House is now closed.

In KC you have to try the BBQ, so for dinner we met at Arthur Bryant’s. The restaurant was awesome and set up a huge dinner for us, which was amazing.

yardhouse

For Match Day, we went to the Yardhouse and hung out before the match. Great food, lots of beers on tap, attentive service. Plus there is shopping and another brewery, Granite City, in the complex. We met some SKC supporters at the Yardhouse and talked to them about the season and the upcoming match.

skc group

Ahead of kickoff, the group headed over to the Kansas City Cauldron tailgate. It was a little bit of a hike but the SKC supporters were super welcoming. We swapped scarves, chipped in for some beer and had a great time. 

cmp 3

Children’s Mercy Park is a fantastic venue. Away support sits in section 124, which is tucked in the corner of the stadium. Still very close to the field and you can see and hear the Cauldron as well as the South Stand Supporters Club

cmp 2

Everything you need to do about the club and the stadium is at the team’s website. The club also offers tours of Children’s Mercy Park, so that may be an option as well.

 

Things to do

Visit KC has a lot of suggestions including restaurants, art museums, free activities and more. Our group walked around the Power and Light District before flying back to Atlanta. Looked amazing and I need to get back there to watch a US game with the Outlaws. 

Jay Riddle provided these options for the group:

 

Hotel and getting around

Booked a hotel right by the stadium. Awesome for matchday, not ideal for seeing stuff downtown as the stadium is about a twenty minute drive west from downtown. Kansas City International Airport is about twenty minutes north of downtown. I ended up renting a car to get around.

 

Lower League Teams

Kansas City would serve as a good base of operations if you wanted to hit lower league games in Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma or Missouri. Teams are anywhere from 3 to 5 hours away but depending on how the schedules fall, you might be able to hit a couple before heading back to KC. Check out my map of US and Canadian teams to look at possible options.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Here to help. Comment below or email me at austinlong1974@gmail.com.

Texas (Dallas and Houston)

bbva 2

BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX

toyota 2

Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX

I found three opportunities to knock out Dallas and Houston on back to back days. I was able to visit both grounds back in 2014 and you can read about my adventures here.

FC Dallas host Chicago Fire on May 2 at Toyota Stadium at 7:30pm CT. The following day Houston Dynamo entertain the San Jose Earthquakes at 3pm CT.

Fourth of July weekend is also a chance to see both Texas teams. New England Revolution travel to Houston on Friday, July 3, at 7:30pm CT. On July 4, San Jose Earthquakes are at FC Dallas. Kickoff is at 7pm CT.

Final chance for 2020 is at the end of September. Vancouver Whitecaps are away to FC Dallas on September 26 at 8pm CT. Houston Dynamo host Sporting Kansas City on September 27 at 6pm CT.                         

Buses run between the two cities or you can rent a car. Travel time is between 4 and 5 hours.

Info for the teams:

Houston Dynamo

Suggest hitting a tailgate before the match and then Lucky’s and Little Woodrow’s afterwards.

FC Dallas

Plenty going on in and around the stadium. British Lion Pub is a short walk from the stadium and is a great place before or after the game.

Special mention for the United States Soccer Hall of Fame. When you’re in Frisco for the FCD game, please visit this facility, which is attached to Toyota Stadium. Memorabilia, videos, games, kits, scarves, displays, and more. I went in 2019 and definitely worth the time and money.

 

If you have extra time and want to catch games from the lower leagues of American soccer, there are several teams in each city. Check out my map of US and Canadian teams to find a team.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Here to help. Comment below or email me at austinlong1974@gmail.com.