After watching a half empty stadium last night in Chicago as the Fire got blown out by the Red Bulls in the first round of the MLS playoffs, I came to a conclusion. Sometimes as a writer you have to be a fan. Sometimes you find yourself attending a home game at a brand new location sitting in the supporter’s section, talking with some Scottish guy behind you who is constantly updating you on the scores from the other matches. Sometimes on days like that you have to smile, take it in, and enjoy being a fan.
Sunday was one of those days. All the games in MLS started at the same time and there were major shifts in playoff standings on the line. New York City came into the game sitting in second place but could fall as far as fifth depending on the results of the day. NYCFC was playing for the first time at Citifield in Queens and not at Yankee Stadium. The 20,000 or so fans that showed up knew it was a big day for the team. You could feel it in the air. The weather was perfect. The pitch was green and both teams came to play. Columbus took an early lead and things looked bleak. David Villa proved why he is a front runner for MVP when he scored the next two goals and put NYCFC back on top. Then Columbus tied the game and things got really interesting.
Toronto was losing to Atlanta and int he final minuted of both games anything could happen. fans in the supporters section were screaming out scores to each other and celebrated when Toronto tied the game up. David Villa had a chance to end all the drama in the 90th minute but Zach Steffen made a wonderful save on Villa’s penalty kick to keep everyone on edge. Steffen had made another amazing save against Villa moment earlier and seemed determined to not allow any more goals on the day.
When the game finally ended in a draw and Toronto held off Atlanta for the same it was time for the fans to reflect on a good season. It was time to admire David Villa for all that he accomplished on this year and to congratulate Alexander Callens for playing every minute of every match for NYCFC. It was a time for the team to use that first week bye to get rested and healthy. It was a time for fans to smile. So on the fifth of November, no matter who the opponent is, the fans should fill Yankee Stadium to support their home team. The season has been a good one and there is no reason not to have more games that end in smiles ahead.