MLS All-Star Game: Electric Atmosphere at Red Bull Arena

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.

21 thoughts on “MLS All-Star Game: Electric Atmosphere at Red Bull Arena”

  1. Dan,
    Did you ever explain why you think a photo of a black man is inherently racist?

    Congrats on not throwing around any unfounded accusations of racism in this article.

    1. To Dave C: I’m not going to mix apples and oranges with that story to this this one. It’s not fair to the readers who are interested in MLS All-Star coverage to discuss about that article here.

      If you want to send The Gaffer your e-mail, and tell him this question is for me I will send him a response so he can return it to you.


      1. No, I won’t take that approach, for two reasons:

        (1) You publicly stated that the Umbro pic was racist, and several people questioned you on it. Therefore, I think you should explain yourself in an equally public manner (not hiding via personal email correspondence). If you cared about “being fair to the readers”, you would have already responded to the many people who asked you this question on the Cosmos Blackout thread, rather than ducking the question like this.

        (2) MLS Talk already has my email address (as it does for everyone who submits their email as part of the comment-posting process). Therefore, if you were willing to explain to me your accusation of racism, even behind the veil of personal e-mail correspondence, you could have done so already. Asking me to contact the Gaffer to direct a question to you is simply an attempt to set up an uncessary hoop for me to jump through before having any kind of dialogue on this issue.

        Personally I think unfounded accusations, especially of racism, are a pretty quick way to ruin any credibility you might have, and to really derail an otherwise sensible conversation (the Cosmos Blackout discussion could have been interesting in its own right, without throwing accusations of racism around). I think it’s bad enough to publish comments from other people who make wild accusations, but actual writers for a site should aspire to set a higher standard.

        And I think ducking the issue when you’ve obviously been called out on it diminishes any credibility you have even more.

        1. To Dave C: Then fine. I will explain it. That picture of the African American is intentionally looking to start trouble in the streets of New York. Before 9-11 happened, this blackout of 1977 had people looting, destroying some businesses and burning down buildings.

          It is a disgrace to associate a clothing line during a horrible moment in the city’s history and many I have talked to are completely disgusted by both of those pictures. Just like it would be a disgrace to make a clothing line on what happened to those Liverpool supporters during that FA Cup Semi-Final where 98 people died during a human crush.

          But if tragedys are what helps sells football shirts, then any form of decency has truely been lost. Promoting Hooliganisium is not what’s needed.

          Aren’t we suppose to stop Racisium & Hooliganisium from hurting the game? Even to revive a former famous name in US Club Soccer History and associating it with a tragedy. It could’ve been done differently, but if this is the sort of thing that sells football shirts, then good in football as well as decency in human beings is lost.

          1. Whether or not you think linking a clothing line to a blackout is irrelevant to the question, so everything from the second paragraph of your response onward is irrelevant.

            But even if I just look at your first paragraph, it doesn’t make sense. There were two photos – one of a black man, and one of a white man. Even if you accept that both photos were intended to portray an element of hooliganism (which is debatable, since the black guy was not shown to be wearing a mask, carrying a weapon, shouting, throwing things, or anything else that would suggest hooliganism), it would not be racist, since it is not singling out black people as being “the face” of hooliganism/street violence etc. It shows both blacks and whites equally.

            In fact, if anything, the pictures could be construed as being racist against whites. The white man is portrayed as wearing a mask (suggesting he’s a criminal) while the black man is not. Why is it representing a white man as a criminal, eh? What are Umbro trying to say about white people?

            By the way, the blackout was nothing like either Hillsborough or 9/11. People were killed in both of those events. The blackout might have brought a temporary rise in crime (in an already high-crime era) , but no-one died directly as result of the blackout (unless you can have evidence to suggest otherwise). I think linking this issue to any of those two genuine tragedies is much more offensive than you claim this advertizing campaign to be.

            In short, I don’t think there’s anything racist here. Even if you accept that both images are supposed to be suggestive of street violence, the campaign is certainly not over-representing black people, or claiming that black people are disproportionately responsible for any street violence (either as part of the blackout, or football-related, or any other kind).

            I could claim that perhaps you are the racist one for seeing a photo of a black man and assuming that it is indicative of thuggery.

          2. DaveC,

            How can you tell the masked looter is “white”? Lots of people have found the whole thing a bit of “blaxploitation.”

            How can you say the “black guy” isn’t shown to be doing anything “that would suggest hooliganism”? That’s f’ing ridiculous and you know it. He’s not depicted as a witness or innocent bystander.

            Why are you trying to cyberbully the author, attacking his credibility on this piece over his opinion in another? LOTS of readers agree with Feuerstein, so there’s clearly something to his argument.

            Looks like you’re just a Borough Boy playing the “internet tough guy” role, as you guys call it, attacking anyone who disagrees with what you want, as if an opinion article can somehow provide an obstacle over whether or not NY2 happens. The attacks on people make you guys look like a bunch of trouble making jerks.

          3. Capo,
            You’re mistaken on a few things:

            (1) Firstly, I’m not a Borough Boy. I barely even know what that means. I have no vested in interest in the Cosmos at all.

            (2) I’m not interested in “cyberbullying” anyone. I just think that if a writer makes a slanderous accusation without any apparent justification, he should explain it (especially something as touchy as accusing someone of racism).

            I’m obviously not the only one who felt this way, since many other people on the Blackout thread asked the same question. On the other hand, not a single person on that thread tried to justify the opinion that the photo in question is racist. So I’m not sure if you’re right in saying “Lots of readers agree with Feuerstein.” If that was the case, how come not a single one said so?

            (3)”How can you tell the masked looter is “white”?
            Personally, I can’t tell he is white. That would be my guess, but given that the shot is in dim lighting and most of the man’s face is covered, it’s impossible to say. I’m just going with Daniel Feuerstein’s own judgment on the thread in question. He specifically said “The African American picture is racist, while the photo with the white man wearing a bandana over his face glorifies hooliganism”

            Anyway, this is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand. Whether the guy in the masked photo is white, black, asian or martian doesn’t matter. What is being discussed is whether the other picture, the one that is clearly of a black man, whether that picture is racist. Dan F said it was, and that’s what I (and many others) have questioned.

            (4) “How can you say the “black guy” isn’t shown to be doing anything “that would suggest hooliganism”?
            For the reasons I’ve stated – his face isn’t contorted in angry shout, he’s not wearing a mask or gang paraphernalia, he’s not making hand gestures, we can’t see any clenched fists, he isn’t holding a weapon, throwing an object, or engaging in any other activity (other than standing).

            In short, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything suggestive of hooliganism. If you think otherwise, please point out what he is doing that is indicative of hooliganism.

            (5) “attacking anyone who disagrees with what you want, as if an opinion article can somehow provide an obstacle over whether or not NY2 happens.

            I’m not attacking anyone. Just asking for an explanation of a fairly wild accusation. If I made some crazy accusation about you (perhaps if I said “Capo beats his wife, Capo killed JFK etc”) and you asked me to explain why I believe those things, that would not be an attack on me. Likewise, asking Dan F for an explanation of his accusations is not an attack on Dan F.

            I’m certainly not “attacking him because he doesn’t want what I want (presumably a NYC2/Cosmos MLS Franchise). I’m just questioning an accusation, that’s all. I don’t even know Dan F’s opinion on whether or not there should be a Cosmos MLS franchise, so I certainly couldn’t attack him on that front.

            The issue of whether or not Dan F’s article, or any other article, can be “an obstacle” to NY2/Cosmos gaining an MLS franchise is irrelevant. I didn’t suggest it would be. Again, the issue of whether or not the Cosmos could/should get an MLS franchise, or whether I want them to, or whether Dan F wants them to, is irrelevant. My only issue was to question why Dan F thought the photo of a black man was racist. So far, he hasn’t answered it.

            If you think I’m a jerk for expecting people to not throw around accusations of racism lightly, then so be it.

  2. What a stupis stupid game…why does MLS have to model itself after NBA/MLB and hold these meaningless “allstar” games?
    Next time, bring in Fulham or Bolton, to make sure the mediocrity of the league is not exposed in such a blatant way. Manure won the game w/ barely breaking a sweat…it was embarassing. Cancel this MLS Allstar circus!

    1. It’s not being modeled after the NBA or MLB. They want to make this an American thing. Mexico and the other Central American Countries have playoffs as well.

      1. Yea but their playoffs makes sense, ours focuses so much on parity the best team never wins the cup. Don’t get me wrong I think parity in small amounts is great but we have pointless conferences that totally throw off our points, njrb a favorite to win is in 8 th place overall. Being number one in regular season is not rewarded in fact it hurts you because draft picks and allocation money is ranked from the bottom up. 10 teams are invited and only when the playoffs start do teams actually play. Mls in every way shape and form is messed up, and even though the asg is pointless its a reflection of mls and well its sucks

        1. It does suck Alex. I’ve been against it for a good while now. But the only reason I’ve somewhat decided to get back on the bandwagon for a little bit. It’s because we have to show the world that these new stadiums like Red Bull Arena, PPL Park, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the new Earthquakes Stadium being built and the new Dynamo stadium being built is that we do care about the game.

          But once again, I comepletly agree. This All-Star Game has to go. It interferes with the CONCACAF Champions League’s Qualifying Round First leg matches. Those important and meaningful games.

    2. The MLS wants to brand itself as an “American league”, not an obscure foreign league. Adding ‘FC’ to the name of each team and going with a single table league will isolate soccer in this country more than it already is.

      My only problem with the All-Star game is that they have only two days of training and it occurs mid-season. The team showed good potential in the first half, but the chemistry wasn’t fully there. If I was the coach, I would’ve liked for them to have at least a month of training.

  3. “This All-Star Game has to go. It interferes with the CONCACAF Champions League’s Qualifying Round First leg matches. Those important and meaningful games.”

    Yep, so important that San Francisco FC filled their stadium with 700 muttering fans for the match against the Sounders…..

    as for the All-Star game, they wouldn’t get exposure on ESPN if they were plays East vs. West, the match up against a club like Man. U makes sense from that standpoint. The All-Star game is an American convention, and when MLS is far more ingrained into the landscape, then switch to a East vs. West format…

    1. Hey their loss if only had 700 there. Hopefully if they could not afford to go they could watch on TV.
      There will be way more than 700 fans for the return game. Going to buy my tickets on the way home today.

      I disagree with you on the exposure part. The problem with that “type” of exposure is it doesn’t go after the fans you want for long term. Use Seattle as your model. 67,000 fans go to the Manchester game and 37,000 go to the real games.

      The difference 30,000 very casual fans that will show up for what they deem to be a big game. Those fans will be there no matter what. IF Seattle makes the semi finals of the playoffs they get the 67,000 guarenteed. They have already done it, when no one even knew what soccer was, I was there in 1982, up in the 300 level against the Ft Lauderdale Strikers.

      The key is to get NY to have 25k every game instead of 17k, etc. They need to get real fans of the team. That will NOT, 100% NOT come from converting the Man U tools ( aka casual fans ) to follow MLS on a regular basis.
      You will NOT convert a front runner to a soccer fan.

  4. The all-star game is an ok nod to Americana, and fun for the host city. Our sport is world wide, so we don,t have to do east-verse-west. If they could avoid the champions league qualifiers that would be better, but maybe that’s not possible. ManU has been good, but time for someone else next year.

  5. I was surprised how bad the MLS all stars played. I remember a while back the MLS all stars beat manchester untited, but they need to change the format around and give 3 days off beofre this match and 1 day after before players return to their respective teams, get in at least 2 training sessions and 1 final day or scrimmage morning or afternoon before the game. And also let’s try to nget someone else besides manchester united. How about Real Madrid which is a great huge city, great team with great players, or Chelsea from London also a great huge city that’s a great team with great players or Barcelona another great huge city that’s a great team with great players. manchester is a dump of a city, and it’s not that big, the MLS actually has a chance to bring in people that might not be soccer fans yet they play manchester, heck at least manchester city is becoming a bigger team and brand internationally now. People from all across the world wanna travel to London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Lisbon, Munich, Marseille but you don’t here of random people wanting to travel to manchester with a population of 450,000 thats a broken down industial city. Come on MLS, do a better job globally of marketing your soccer and the fans will follow and maybe you’ll convert some non soccer fans along the way.

    1. Michaol,
      I know this is a pretty dormant thread, but seriously, what does the size of the city of Manchester have to do with anything? The MLS All-Star game isn’t supposed to be some tourist-board advert to encourage people to visit Manchester (or any other city). It’s simply a game between MLS All-Stars and a leading European team.

      Sure, try and get Real/Barca/Chelsea to play as an alternative to Man Utd (who have played in the last two seasons). But given that previous opponents have been West Ham, Fulham and Everton, you have to conclude that the MLS All-Star game is not high on the priority list for the most glamorous teams.

      1. Ahh. You forgetting Chelsea losing to the all stars in 2006 1-0. So yes the all stars have gotten the big clubs and and they actually went over and played at the Bernaubau vs Real Madrid and lost back in 2004??? maybe. I do think MLS needs to get a lower level club next season although I feel like the result of this game isn’t as important as the hype and showing off how great the sport can be so teams like Man U make a lot of sense even with the lopsided scoreline.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *