Wednesday night’s match had almost the same feel as the 2011 friendly between Manchester United again Barcelona game that was played at the home of the Washington Redskins. There were more fans outside trying to buy tickets rather than sell. There was tailgating galore and lots of singing and music.
More than 67,000 fans turned out for a nice evening of soccer. On the way in, there were many activities happening such as a kids soccer pen to play a little street ball, trivia contests and — best yet — free autographs and photos with Ben Olson, former USMNT player and coach of DC United, as well as retired USMNT goalkeeper Tony Meola.
FedEx Field was nearly split in half by those behind both teams and everybody seemed to have a good time.
The game itself started off a bit slowly as both sides felt each other out but Brazil struck early on a questionable handball call which resulted in a goal from a penalty kick by Neymar.
The fans were disappointed but not out of it as we kept on cheering our team on. As of today, I’ve lost my voice, as our side and the Brazil fans went back and forth. Although the scoreline said otherwise, the US team did their best to stay in the game and tried to out muscle Brazil. But in my opinion, we just couldn’t keep up with a side who was very creative and found ways to get past our defense and make the most of their chances.
The US side wasn’t without effort but Rafael just found ways to shut down any chances we may have had, including two brilliant back-to-back saves late in the game.
The second half, of course, started off with the Brazilian side picking up where they left off with Marcelo scoring in the 52nd minute and Clint Dempsey made his appearance around the 56th minute to a thunderous applause in hopes that we could get some traction in this match.
As they say, the rest was history. Regardless, it’s more or less of what I expected from this match. Win or lose, I enjoyed it and had a wonderful time, made more new friends and even my wife (her 1st live professional match) came with me and enjoyed herself as well.
Next up, Liverpool v Tottenham and DC United v Juventus on July 28th.