Away Days - (D.C. & New York)
Duel in the District
As part of a continued commitment to experience the game in different places across the country this season, I hit the road on May 18th with my brother and Chicago Fire’s supporter groups Sector Latino / Section 8 to experience the “wonders” of R.F.K Stadium in our nations' Capitol.
Formerly the home of the Washington Redskins (problematic name) R.F.K. is now a deteriorating cathedral of the beautiful game. D.C. United has since green-lit plans to create a brand new stadium, and with the development now in full swing, the opportunity to experience MLS within these confines are now numbered. This trip was meant to check D.C. off the bucket list for soccer stadiums.
It’s always special when you get to experience the game with close family, and being able to take the trip with my big brother was a meaningful moment. He’s contributed so much to my growth and progress as a DJ, and it was particularly memorable to be able to get him one of our brand new gray away kits, and then hit the stadium for the match.
D.C. United, who historically has fielded very strong sides in MLS, have struggled for most of this season, and on this day, the Fire took advantage, sealing a 1-0 victory off a David Accam breakaway goal.
In what many would describe as a physical match-up (36 fouls given throughout), there were also glimmers of skill during the 90 minutes of competition. Bastian Schweinsteiger, who I will admit looked really fatigued for the vast majority of the match – produced a bit of magic facing multiple DC defenders.
We capped the successful trip off with a celebration in Arlington, Virginia at Don Tito, where I DJ’d a special set for our DMV area friends. Super shout to their entire crew for having me out and giving me the keys to the dancefloor for the evening. I came back to Chicago feeling excited about the team’s performance and re-energized for the rest of May.
No Good News in New York
The following month, I got the chance to venture east for another away match in the big apple vs. NYCFC. Being originally from the East Coast, it’s always a pleasant feeling to return close to home, and away days in New York are no different. Unfortunately that pleasant feeling didn’t necessarily apply to the matchday experience, however the trip itself was an incredible few days in New York.
Growing up in Southern New England, my first big sports experience was going to Yankee games with my Dad. A fan of the super-duo Mantle & Maris in the 60’s, my dad transferred his love of the Bronx Bombers to my brother and me at a young age. We would take day trips south to see games, and now that I was returning to see a soccer team play in Yankee Stadium, it felt a bit like a time machine back to my childhood.
So for this trip, I was joined by my dad, brother, sister-in-law, and 3 family friends, all excited to see a competitive match between two eastern division contenders. We got a bit different story than we expected.
Chicago got a big break, when NYCFC were forced to 10 men after Herrera’s ejection, however they failed to capitalize on the advantage. New York showed a lot of fight, and led by David Villa – they put up two goals that the Fire could not recover from. The final score was 2-1 in New York City.
While everyone would argue this was a huge missed opportunity for the men in red, I really believe that playing in baseball stadium outfield presents a huge advantage for NYCFC no matter whom they play. The Fire struggled to find the final ball into the attacking third, and at times seemed lost on the peculiar dimensions of Yankee Stadium.
Even though it may seem like a disappointing result, I was still really thankful to get out east and have my family experience an away game with me. It’s moments like these that you remember during an away trip for soccer, not necessarily the final score.