The Earthquakes defeated the Chicago Fire 2-1 in the third game of their 2015 season on Sunday.
Home At Last!
What a joy it was to pull into the Avaya Stadium parking lot. FINALLY! After years of zoning meetings and construction delays, the day was finally here, and what a day it was.
The joy in everyone’s faces -- from the players, to long-time fans, to folks attending their first match -- was palpable. Even Frank Yallop -- the visiting team’s coach -- had goosebumps coming out of the tunnel to the field. He was the coach for the first five seasons of the Earthquakes' return to San Jose and the significance of the event was not lost on him in spite of the odd circumstances of his departure less than two years ago.
If you had Fatai Alashe or Ty Harden as your pick for scoring a goal today, you should either beware of lightning strikes or declare yourself the smartest prognosticator on the planet. Alashe, the rookie from Michigan State scored the historic first goal at Avaya Stadium on a corner kick that touched three different Earthquakes heads before finding the back of the net less than five minutes into the match.
To cap off the weekend, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft received his first callup for U23 national team duty. Pretty heady stuff.
On the other end of the spectrum, Ty Harden scored the first goal of his 100-match, eight-year MLS career. It proved to be the game winner. It was great to see a veteran that fired up, as it was a gutsy play to finish as he did.
Some quick notes on the stadium:
- Arrive early and park near the parking lot exits if you can.
- The lines for the bathrooms in the enclosed end of the stadium are much shorter than those by the main entrance and the bar.
- Bring a postgame snack for the parking lot after the match, as it takes some time to get 17,000 people out on to Coleman Avenue.
Supporters Group Zaniness
There seemed to be three different supporters groups that all reside in the west end zone. The Ultras are the largest and they occupy the upper section. They produce the large scale TIFO (which was pretty spectacular), bang drums, sing songs, start chants, and take off their shirts after the first Earthquakes goal. The approach of some of their membership in the past has been to want to steal opponent’s fans scarves instead of trading.
On the field level on one side of the goal is the Faultline. This is where I got my tickets and am a member. Their approach is to support the Earthquakes and be social with fans of the other teams, trade scarves instead of stealing them. Having a beer with instead of fighting the other team’s supporters is its preference.
On the press box side of the field level is a Spanish speaking supporters group El Empirico Seismico who has their own set of drums, chants and cheers. Being in the middle of all of that was a great experience, but it would be nice if the three groups could get together and take turns on their chants, or work together. From what I understand though, there are years and years of angst and a resolution may not come any time soon, if ever. Regardless, I do recommend taking a shift behind the goal and enjoying the atmosphere at field level. It’s General Admission so any ticket will get you into the section as long as there is room. There are no seats, but you won’t want one when you see how close to the game you are.
Next Up -– At New England
The Earthquakes travel across country to take on New England this weekend where you can watch the game at noon on CSN Bay Area.
New England has struggled early after making it to the MLS Cup Final last year. It will be interesting to see if San Jose can build on its momentum from its last two wins.
Alashe, who has started and played 90 minutes the last two weeks, will be out. Look for Jean Baptiste Pierazzi to take his place.
It will be interesting to see who starts at center back. Do you go with Victor Bernardez back from red card suspension, Ty Harden who scored his first career goal, or Clarence Goodsen, who mostly looked good in only his second match since being left off the US Men’s National Team last year in June?