Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena for the 2011 MLS All-Star Game, the electricity was floating in the air and you could feel it, sense it and smell it.
Before the game, the streets near Red Bull Arena were filled with games. Hardest shot contest, Soccer tennis, playing X-Box with FIFA 2011, writing signs for your favorite players and of course a picture next to the Philip Anschutz trophy (MLS Cup) so you could have a keepsake.
I hung out with some of the supporters in the South Ward and had a few conversations with them as we discussed this interesting day. But when it was time to head back to Red Bull Arena I was surprised to find out that I would not be at my regular seat. I was upgraded (and when I mean upgraded I’m talking several floors up) to the roof of the skyboxes, where the media was assembled.
But I have to say that the view of the field from that high up was wonderful. Not the ninth floor at the former Giants Stadium where the players looked like ants, but it was nice to see the game from a different angle. The stadium filled up with tons of Manchester United Supporters, but MLS had their fair share of devoted fans as well.
You saw from the jumbotron a signal from the Red Bull Skydiving team as they brought the match ball from high above the arena. When they entered thru the open roof and swung around inside the stadium, a big collective gasp came from the crowd. Once the entrance theme music began to play, the two teams entered the Arena.
Some thought this game was going to be a big blowout or that Man United was going to get the first goal early on. That was not the case as the All-Stars looked comfortable and played well, but on this night you could tell that their problems were going to be the final third of the field. One session of training was not going to help this side make any dent against this Manchester United squad.
You can tell that Manchester United has already been through a lot of training sessions with each other and they are a cohesive side that already looks to be in mid-season form. Even if the second string keeper got a chance to show what he’s got, it looks like Premier League title #20 is going to come.
This is the second time I have seen Manchester United live but the first time as a member of the media. There is always something about Ferguson that tells me he knows what he is doing and what he can bring out from a player such as Eric Cantona to David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and now Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United and those fans should be very proud and lucky to have a fantastic football man in Fergie. Whatever deals he’s able to pull off and how to set up his squad for victory is truly worth its weight in gold.