It has been two weeks since I checked in, but I assure you, MLS Road Trip is still going strong. Our lack of recent posts haven't been due to the lack of games we attended, actually the opposite. We are currently in Columbus, Ohio, but in the last two weeks, we have been to four games in two countries!
"The Fort (the area where both supporters groups sit) capo, dressed in shorts and Tevas, constantly cracked jokes with the fans. French jokes (directed at the absent Thierry Henry), f-bombs and New Jersey jokes were all part of the agenda.
Grade-school children dressed in navy blue with mohawks start chants from the tenth row. New England flags are constantly waved.
The atmosphere is more like a college house party in which everyone knows each other than an English soccer game. The laughs are just as abundant as the songs.
At the end of the game, instead of leaving, the fans pile on top of each other near the field. Every player comes over and thanks them. Some even toss their jersey into the stands."
After this, we headed to Toronto for the craziest game of our trip. People talk about great moments in sports, when TFC played Vancouver, there were two moments that I will remember for the rest of my life. When Darren Mattocks equalized late with an awe-inspiring feat of athleticism, the air got sucked out of the entire stadium. Nearly 20,000 people couldn't believe (even though it's Toronto FC) what happened. Even more unbelievable, was that Toronto actually won the game with a header by a former Whitecap in the 95th minute. You go to sporting events in the hope that you will see a game like this one.
"Fans begin to leave the stadium. This draw is as disappointing as the rest. There will be no singing on the way home tonight. The air has been taken out of the crowd when Toronto wins a corner kick in the 94th minute. They won’t score. In their history, TFC has scored just two goals in stoppage time of a game.
Two-time World Cup veteran Torsten Frings trots over to take the corner. He swings a perfect ball in to the box. Terry Dunfield, a Whitecaps castoff leaps for the header.
What happens next is a blur; the fans can’t believe it. Several fans double-check the scoreboard to make sure that the 3-2 scoreline is correct. They have just won their third game in the season.
U-Sector marches out of the stadium ironically singing, “I just can’t get enough.” Their voices echo throughout the warm Toronto night. As they march under the train tracks to go home, not a single fan is quiet."
What's on tap (pun intended):
As MLS Road Trip enters added time, there are a few stories that we are behind on. For games that we have already been to, expect a second story from Toronto, as well as stories from both Philly and New York!
Saturday, 7/21 - MLS Road Trip will entrench ourselves in the Nordecke for the game against DC United! Here's hoping for a Frankie sighting.
Being that this beer was 8.5% ABV, my notes weren't extremely legible the next morning. This Somerville, MA beer actually reminded me a lot of 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon Wheat in a Can. I mentioned this to the Midnight Riders and they all made fun of me for liking what is apparently the lamest 21st Amendment beer. What I do remember is how smoothly this beer went down and how sweet it was. To me, this was a beer for a seafood lover, which makes sense given that its a New England Beer. Next time you're in any of the six New England states, try to order one with your lobster roll!
Three weeks into MLS Road Trip and we've driven over 7,000 miles, been to 20 different states, and been late on nearly every single story deadline (including this one). It turns out that every time I go to French Canada, I lose track of everything that matters. We came to Boston a day early because I thought the Revolution game was on Saturday, not Sunday. Quebec is crazy.
Last Saturday, the team and I hit up RFK stadium for the D.C. United vs. Impact de Montreal game. I went over to hang out with the District Ultras during the tailgate, where I found out how a supporters group makes tifo, and what happens if it doesn't go exactly as planned. Check it out along with my stay with them during the game. If you don't like profanity or hilarious songs...don't click on the link.
"The Ultras aren’t always punctual. They march through the stadium to their section. In the cavernous tunnels of RFK Stadium, their voices echo endlessly. Stadium employees and supposedly neutral security guards join in their chants. They get into their section after the game has started and start jumping around and dancing. The makeshift RFK stands bounce and bend. They feel like they could crumble beneath at any time. No one cares."
Meanwhile, Jake went to the Barra Brava tailgate, which was more like a giant water party.
"As far as supporters groups go, Barra Brava is one of the oldest groups and has been credited as the first real supporters group to bring in chants and different tifo to Major League Soccer.
When we entered the Barra Brava tailgate, it looked more like a summer beach party than people getting ready for a soccer match. People were throwing water balloons, chasing each other around with squirt guns and a few people even turned the bed of a red Toyota Tacoma into a pool.
A group of supporters from Richmond, Va. brought a pig to roast and some crab for everyone while making sure the table was always full of food for people to eat.
What was apparent when we looked around the Barra Brava tailgate was that everyone there was a part of a big family. Despite the large number of people, everyone still knew each other and interacted as if they were all brothers and sisters."
Check his report out along with the amazing video of one of the league's oldest support groups.
What's on tap (pun intended):
Sunday, 6/8 - MLS Road Trip is headed to Gillette Stadium for the Revolution vs. Red Bull New York game! Hopefully we will have stories for both Revolution support groups: the Midnight Riders, and the Rebellion. I expect them all to talk like Will Hunting.
Wednesday, 6/11 - During our last trip abroad, we're taking in a Canadian derby in Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Some TFC fans have been kind enough to "acquire" tickets in their section; we will have reports on as many supporters groups as possible!
Meet: my poorly lit picture of La Vache Folle Simcoe, a Quebecois Double IPA from Microbrasserie Charlevoix. Only found in Quebec, this beer is the most bitter and flavorful IPA I have ever tasted. During this trip I have developed a liking for bitter beers, and this one won't disappoint any lover of beer (even if you have to order it in French).
The MLS Road Trip is a journalism project geared towards exploring, understanding and sharing the soccer culture in the United States and Canada through daily pictures, video and writing in one 10,000 mile, 51-day trip.
Most of what we cover has to directly do with soccer fans and the soccer experience in our young but great league; however, we will also talk about the food, culture, landmarks or anything else cool that we see in the 12 major cities that we will be visiting. As our disclaimer on the left says, we are simply reporting what we see just as you would see it in the real world, uncensored. We hope that our experience inspires you to embark on your own soccer pilgrimage, become a fan of the beautiful game or at the very least just attend a game in person.
This website is not just for us — it is for you, the fans. The fans are the most important part of the game: without them, it couldn’t exist.
Good afternoon from upstate New York. MLS Road Trip just passed over the USA/Canada border for the second, but not last time, during this trip. I have two confessions about our visit to Montreal: 1. I'm in love with the city. 2. Because of how much fun we had, we didn't get a story at the game (we were actually slightly late to it). But fear not, next week we will be spending our nation's birthday at the Montreal-Kansas City game.
To summarize what happened at the Montreal game: Toronto dominated, Frings flipped off the Montreal Ultras who responded by throwing stuff on the field, and when the third TFC goal was scored, the fans started leaving en masse…except for the Ultras. We will have a story next week.
The stories that we did get were only from Chicago this week where Section 8 welcomed us with open arms. Communications director Dan Martin led us around the tailgate, introducing us to all the different groups. Section 8 is a large group compiled with a multitude of different smaller groups, both official and unofficial. Check out Jake Coburn's report on the tailgate where we were given a Polish drink that I'm not exactly sure is legal in the United States (judging from my hangover at halftime, it definitely shouldn't be).
Thankfully a Section 8 fan (who will remain anonymous) tipped us off that something would be going down during the game around the 75th minute, and it would definitely be illegal. One of Section 8's groups decided that they needed to take a stand against bigotry from members who weren't representative of the group. In order to make their point, they lit off flares in the stands. Check out Jake's report along with amazing pictures and video of the incident.
What's on tap (pun intended):
Saturday, 6/30 - MLS Road Trip will be in Washington D.C. to take in the D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact game. We will have reports on the District Ultras and likely one other supporters group.
Sunday, 7/1 - Spain vs. Italy. Depending on how good of a bar we find in the D.C. area, we are going to try to do a post and take some video of the celebrations when Spain wins its second straight Euro title.
Wednesday, 7/4 - No fireworks for us this year, though hopefully Montreal will throw us a bone, because we are going to be in Canada! We met with a member of the Montreal Ultras who will show us around before and during the game. I am going to attempt to write these posts in both French and English. Expect the French version to be a lot less complex.
Meet: Erdinger Weissbier -
While watching England-Italy at the Highbury Pub in Milwaukee, I ordered the only Hefeweizen on the menu, and was not disappointed. This was by far the smoothest beer that I have ever had. I didn't get to try it with food because the Highbury doesn't sell food, but I would imagine that this would go perfectly with a somewhat spicy steak and french fries. This beer was a perfect reward to the disappointing lack of goals in the Euro game; I would trade in not seeing goals for one of these beers any day.
Wow! What a crazy start to my journey. It is 2:41 a.m. CST and I am typing this 20 miles east of Bismarck, ND. Our photographer, Dan Perlea, has been driving for 17 hours straight so that we can make Chicago without wasting too much time. We are all hopped up on Golazos and Nature Valley Bars, but remain upbeat. Last week, we met some amazing people and did some crazy things that we would like to share:
Saturday 6/16 - We took in the Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake game with Black Army 1850, one of the Chivas USA supporters groups. Dan snapped an amazing shot of Black Army President Angel Mendoza showing his support for diversity by waving both the rainbow American Flag and colorless American Flag at the same time. Check out the Black Army tailgate, in-game experience, and how we got free Black Army scarves.
Friday 6/22 - SLEEP! Yes, technically I'm typing this on Friday. But I think for the first time this trip, we are actually going to try to get eight hours of sleep (at least) in a night.
Saturday 6/23 - We will attend the Section 8 tailgate and then the Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew game, hopefully it isn't going to rain like it has been in Chicago lately.
Monday 6/25 - A certain member of our team is having a certain birthday and we're celebrating by pub crawling in Chicago and then attending the Cubs vs. Mets game (where I will be wearing a soccer jersey).
Wednesday 6/27 - For my first voyage out of the country (ever!) MLS Road Trip will be taking in the Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC game at Stade Saputo in Montreal. Look for posts in both English et en Francais aussi!
Meet: Manny's Pale Ale
It was Wednesday and I still didn't have a beer review done, so I took the chance to order the beer of the day over brunch at the Pike Place Bar and Grill: Manny's Pale Ale. The first thing I noticed about this Georgetown (Seattle) Brewing Company beer was the color. The picture I took really doesn't do it justice; it was a beautiful golden orange, almost like honey. As I mentioned last week, I'm not a huge fan of bitterness in beers, and this beer is no exception. For a pale ale, it isn't that hoppy, and overall has a smoother taste, but less flavor. This beer went amazing with the salty, buttery flavors scampi that I enjoyed with it.
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed - 0 comments
50 days, 10,000 miles, and over a dozen Major League Soccer cites. Evan Ream is on a quest to document American soccer this summer. Follow along at "MLS Road Trip" and stop by the Free Beer Movement where each Friday will get an executive summary of Ream's last week, plus a quick look at one beer from wherever he happens to be.
Greetings from the small town bicycle capital of the world: Davis, California. Before moving to Oregon, I lived in Davis for 15 years, enjoying the bike paths, great schools and of course, the soccer. Davis is unique to the United States in that soccer is the most popular sport here. In Davis there are over 2,000 youth soccer players out of a population of just over 60,000. Jalil Anibaba of the Chicago Fire (we are meeting up with him later on the trip for a story) is the most famous youth alum in this part of the country.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to one of the coolest places in Davis: The Davis Beer Shoppe. The Davis Beer Shoppe has a large assortment of rare and exotic beers that will make any beer connoisseur happy. After missing all the Euro 2012 games during the day due to traveling, it was nice to sit down at a barrel and enjoy a cold one while taking in the highlights from the games on the TV. Speaking of which:
I don't usually drink a lot of dark beers, nor IPA's due to the heaviness and bitterness commonly found in both. I was looking for a local beer to drink and since the Shoppe was all out of Sudwerks, the most popular Davis beer, I decided to go with a Sacramento beer. I was pleasantly surprised at the beer the owner recommended for me. This beer is a lot smoother and less bitter than most other black IPA's, though it isn't as flavorful. I would recommend this as an alternative to anyone who prefers light beers over dark, though if you prefer dark beers, you might be better off trying something more flavorful.
We are stopping in Davis just for a few hours before we leave for Los Angeles, and by LA I mean my brother's apartment in Huntington Beach for our first action on MLS Road Trip. Before we leave though, we are going to be doing a few things which brings me to the first weekly edition of: What's on tap? What's on tap (pun intended) will be the Free Beer Movement's weekly guide to what MLS Road Trip is doing each week.
What's on tap?:
Friday 6/15 - Today is mostly going to be a driving day, but before we head off, we are going to hit up the Euro 2012 games at a bar. Soccer is really easy to find at bars in Davis, but for the best viewing experience we recommend the Davis Graduate. The Grad, for short, is a bar just outside of UC Davis campus that shows nearly every sporting event possible; if you want them to show it, they will. During the 2010 World Cup, the bar gained instant recognition after a video of USA fans reacting to Landon Donovan's late goal against Algeria from different parts of the country was compiled and put on Youtube. I can actually be seen in this video wearing a Clint Dempsey jersey, USA bandana and generally looking like a hobo. For as loud as the video showcased us, it was 10 times louder actually being there.
Saturday 6/16 - Saturday will finally be our first game of the trip and my first time as a credentialed member of the media. We will be at the Home Depot Center to watch Chivas USA take on Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. PST. Angel Mendoza, the president of the Black Army 1850 (profiled by FBM here) , has graciously invited us to their tailgate. Shortly after their tailgate, but before the game, there will be a "town hall meeting" where the Black Army is going to meet with team co-owner Antonio Cue. Apparently there will be some team-related announcements at this meeting.
Wednesday 6/20 - As our only day in Seattle on MLS Road Trip, we are going to try to pack in as much stuff as possible in this day. First, we are going to hit up the Public Market in Seattle and see if we can possibly try our hand at catching fish that are thrown at us (one can hope). After this, we will head over to Golazo Energy HQ, where we will talk to Jorge Perea in the marketing department as well as play some pick-up on their amazing indoor field. Finally, we will take in the Seattle Sounders FC vs. Sporting KC game at 7:00 p.m. PST. I believe we will be going to the Gorilla FC (profiled by FBM here) pregame and sit (stand) with them during the game.
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed - 0 comments
“Moreover, there remains only one single constant in the life of people particularly of men, and that is the soccer club and all the ties to it associated with being a fan. Marriages fail, relationships end, jobs disappear, anything can happen; only one real thread remains reliably through life: team loyalty.”
During the trip, we will be updating our website every day with writing, pictures and video of the fans, plus food and general culture of each city we visit. Each Friday I will be writing a recap of our last week for The Free Beer Movement that will include an exclusive-to-The-FBM beer review. But I invite you to follow the trip on our website as well.
Just like in a soccer game, fan participation is paramount. We want your help, your input and your ideas. We are trying to paint the best picture possible of each fan base, something that we cannot do without a plethora of help from the fans in each city. Do you have an idea, suggestion or cool soccer tattoo (http://mlsroadtrip.com/fan-tattoo-gallery/) that you would like showcase? Do you know a crazy fan? Do you know a cool place that is crucial to your cities’ soccer culture? Please email me, tweet me or comment on the website or Facebook page.
This project is as much yours as it is ours. We want the website to be a place that shows what MLS is really about. We want Euro-snobs to look at the website and decide that maybe they want to come to a game in this country. We want to create more MLS fans. Help us.
And, as always, since this is the Free Beer Movement, here is a beer review from the town I live in: Ashland, Ore.
Meet: Ashland Amber. Brewed locally at the Caldera Brewing Company, Ashland Amber is distributed to 13 different states, England, Japan and Puerto Rico. Southern Oregon is known for its delicious local brews, and Ashland Amber is no exception. Nearly every bar in Ashland serves it, as it is the most popular of Caldera’s beers. This beer is so popular that most of the black and tans in Ashland are actually made with Ashland Amber instead of Bass Pale Ale, improving the taste in my opinion. If you are ever in Oregon (or Japan), do yourself a favor and order an Ashland Amber.