Walking around a little, it kind of felt surreal to an extent. I’ve followed a lot of these guys on Twitter and read their stuff or watched them on TV for a long time and there I was rubbing elbows with them. But when I was on the way to the bathroom, I happened to bump into Fernando Fiore. I wasn’t sure it was him at first, but then I saw the FOX Sports World Cup jacket. He’s a nice guy and seemed to be diligently taking notes during the game and asking good questions at the press conference after the game but the thing I noticed was that it’s amazing how different he is in person than he is when FOX Sports is making him play a cartoon character on TV.
As kickoff approached, just about everybody was in their seats (I guess it’s hard to be late for a game that kicks off at 8:15PM). What I did notice was that while most of the lower bowl was full, most of the club level seats and upper bowl seats across from the press box were empty (and I later discovered as I was walking the concourse at halftime that all of the club level seats and upper bowl seats above the press box were closed off).
Once the game got started, most of the mindless chatter in the press box died away and the focus changed to the field. One thing that the staff at Nissan Stadium did that I thought was nice was they turned all of the TVs on to the ESPN broadcast. The broadcast was about two minutes behind what was actually happening, so it gave everybody an opportunity to see it happen live and then check the TV to see if they missed something.
At halftime, just about everybody agreed how dull and quite frankly boring the game was. Just before the second half started, somebody sent word that the reason Weston McKennie had been subbed out early was because of a left knee injury and everybody rushed to post it to Twitter. Once the game picked up in the second half (right around the time of the Matt Miazga/Diego Lainez dust up), the press box became much more lively. Not in a cheering or homerish kind of way but in a “Thank God something finally happened in this game” kind of way. When Angel Zaldiver was sent off for serious foul play, there wasn’t a soul in the press box who disagreed with it. When the US scored their goal a few minutes later, the American Outlaws section behind the goal erupted. But aside from one or two people briefly clapping, there was hardly any reaction in the press box.