Watching the New England Revolution play in front of a big crowd isn’t a common sight, but last Friday it was. The Brazil-Venezuela friendly being played after the Revs match against FC Dallas meant there would be just a few more eyes watching (and just a bit more traffic and drama to deal with outside the stadium).
What those eyes watched was the Revs take a step toward to the top of the Eastern Conference as they posted an other win. Those fans also saw the coach-less Hoops of FC Dallas struggle to record a result yet again. It was a good night, unless you were rooting for the team from Texas (and Brazil for that matter).
SBI correspondent Andrew Karl was at the match and gives us his take on an entertaining and frustrating night in Foxborough (FC Dallas correspondent Casey Corcoran is out of town).
A Gillette Stadium doubleheader to remember and forget
By ANDREW KARL
Thank God I get out of work at three on Fridays. Because if my progressive employer hadn’t graced its employees with early dismissal each Friday of the summer, I probably would have missed both Revolution goals on Friday night. In fact, I may have missed the entire game. A group of season ticket holders behind me, who were unable to leave work early and get a head start on the traffic, made the trip all the way from New Hampshire; albeit arriving 20 minutes into the first half of Brazil vs. Venezuela. The perils of New England traffic, or the consequences of a disconnected ownership and wayward front office?
When the Brazil – Venezuela match was announced, I was excited at the prospect of seeing arguably the world’s best squad in person. But as the reality of the potential traffic situation set in, I grew worried. By moving the New England – Dallas match from Sunday the 8th to Friday the 6th at 6.30 PM was perplexing. Understandably the New England front office wanted to expose thousands of international soccer fans to the MLS product, but the circumstances by which this game was setup made little sense.
Boston traffic is infuriating, relentless, and at times unpredictable. Asking Revolution fans to make it from work to home to the stadium by 6:30 on any weekday night is inconceivable, even without the added traffic caused by 50,000 Brazil fans. While the final whistle of Friday night’s first match was applauded by a nearly full stadium, the opening whistle was only heard by a spattering of fans spread throughout the gigantic arena. I had left my apartment in Brighton and was on the highway by 3:45, but the drive to the stadium, which usually takes a half hour and change, took a solid two hours. Whether you live in Boston or outside of it, it was simply impossible to make the start of the Revolution game without leaving work early.
Why did these games have to take place on a Friday night? Why couldn’t the originally scheduled Sunday fixture remained and the Brazil match be tacked on after the Revs? What was wrong with Saturday even? It just seems to me that pitting traffic for Brazil against normal Friday rush hour traffic is more lethal than a giant man-eating rat from the fire swamp…The Princess Bride is on AMC as I write this.
The difficulties to make the start of the Revolution game, difficulties placed on the fans by the front office’s scheduling decision strikes a chord with me and I’m sure many faithful Revolution fans agree. While I’m grateful for the opportunity to see Brazil, the scheduling of this game just seems disloyal to the true Revolution fan. While the season ticket holder is being ‘rewarded’ by the presence of the Brazilian team, the fan is forced to compromise. That compromise: get to see Brazil but miss some, if not all, of the New England game. That’s a compromise that I don’t like and I’m not sure I’d accept it if given a choice. Would you?
Am I Bitter? Most definitely. But trust because I have good reason to be so. My friends and I decided to have a bit of a post-match tailgate instead of waiting in hours of traffic leaving the stadium. At one o’clock in the morning, when Route 1 traffic finally cleared up, we piled into Tosha’s beat-up Nissan Sentra to find evidence of an attempted car jacking. During the game, someone had broken into the car, left all belongings alone, and tried to hot-wire it. They obviously didn’t succeed but the thing wasn’t starting and all our fiddling with the disconnected wires and plugs beneath the steering wheel were in vain. It took more than an hour to file a report and summon a tow truck. After all this, as my head hit the pillow early Saturday morning, I thought back to what all that traffic, hassle, and parking lot boredom had been for: A Revolution win and a Brazil loss.
The Revs put in solid performances all around, and Sainey Nyassi’s star continues to rise. It was a well earned three points, and a shame that more true fans weren’t able to see the games early goals. Later Venezuela stunned Brazil with a smart game plan and effective counter attacking. Two things happened that night, arguably the two most unlikely and unbelievable of possible scenarios: Adam Cristman scored and Brazil was shutout. While many can say that they’ve seen Brazil play in person, how many can say they’ve seen Brazil fail to score against an inferior opponent? Not many.