Isolated Dodger Stadium parking lot tragedies aside, sports enmity isn’t nearly as virulent here as it is across the pond. Face-to-face fan confrontations, even good-natured ones, are as foreign to us as tailgating is for them. Maybe it’s because we’re conditioned to be subservient to the insipid canned noise blasted by our stadium’s scoreboards. But you take the bad with the good; like our ability to drink beer in our seats, which is a joy unknown to Premier League patrons.
No doubt, many hoisted $13 pints in jubilation, or sorrow, over what they saw on the pristine pitch. Newcomer Ander Herrera impressed early, forgotten man Ashley Young had a scorcher, and 20-year old Reece James shined late.
It was a rotten Galaxy homecoming. They played at the Rose Bowl from their inception in 1996 through 2002. In fairness, the home side is in the middle of their season, and had played just four days ago in Kansas City. Manager Bruce Arena chose to not use Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane together while making liberal use of his substitutions. His counterpart Louis Van Gaal also dipped deep into his ample bench, but much to the vocal consternation of many in the crowd, couldn’t field Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
The defending was poor throughout and United could pleasurably ping the ball around without pressure. The hardest tackle of the night was reserved for a post-match pitch invader. An athletic security guard timed the idiot’s half-hearted evasive steps and then absolutely leveled him off his feet and onto the grass in a Jadeveon Clowney-worthy move.
Once the coast was clear, a series of suited corporate dignitaries took to the pitch for post-match congratulations. Thousands of us then shuffled for the exits, taking our cue from the words “regional branding director” braying over the P.A. Louis Van Gaal may be angry with United’s arduous pre-season touring schedule, but the corporate sponsors must be ecstatic over this cash cow of a night. Outside, the surreptitious street vendors even made sure to emblazon their knock-off merchandise with the official sponsor logos.
Sated by the seven goals and lingering BBQ smoke haloing the grounds, we happily made our way past them on our long climb back to our cars and into the blessedly traffic-free night. All the sports radio talk on the way back was of an NFL season a month-and-a-half away but boisterous nights like this one will soon become too commonplace to ignore.