HARRISON, N.J. (March 29, 2010)– While the New York MetroStars, no, my bad, New York Red Bull has yet to live up to its winning and legendary predecessors, the New York Cosmos, their new stadium is certainly a big time winner. Red Bull Arena is living up to, perhaps even exceeding expectations from fans, players and other observers.
Tri-State area fans watched and enjoyed the intimate and genuine soccer experience of Red Bull Arena as the Red Bulls played a friendly against Brazil’s Santos and competed in their first MLS game in the gorgeous soccer-specific venue. Many observers say that Red Bull Arena was exactly what they wanted.
The feedback I received from friends and family who attended the match was overwhelmingly positive. News reports and fans commentary on the web has also been positive (No, I have not yet personally watched a match at the stadium).
Comments about the proximity of the stands, how the roof captures the generated noise, the intricate Red Bull logos painted across the seats and sprinkled throughout the catacombs, the location of the Empire Supporters Club and the emphasis on public transportation, all speak of the attention to detail and the effort to foster a bond between the club and its supporters.
As Commissioner Don Garber likes to claim, Red Bull Arena could in fact be the country's best soccer stadium.
Nothing in life is perfect. There were some negative comments about the clumpy pitch and the traffic jams, but those are minor details that will surely work themselves out as time progresses and certainly do not detract from the clear conclusion: Red Bull Arena is a golazo!
The stadium is a sure winner with fans, players and other stakeholders. Now, the focus for the team has to be to become consistent winners on the field of play.
So far so good. Two matches at home. Two wins (3-1 over Santos of Brazil, and 1-0 over the Chicago Fire).
New York Red Bull’s fan favorite Mike Petke, the team's unofficial goodwill ambassador and most sought after spokesperson. Mike is thrilled with the new venue. “It's unbelievable,” Petke said. “It's the way a sporting event should be. If we keep winning, hopefully, it continues like this.”
New York coach Hans Backe believes that now playing at home really does provide a genuine advantage. “This stadium should sell itself away with the atmosphere and the noise,” Backe said. “It's so loud. Every time you have these kind of fans behind you, it's worth six or seven points a season.”
Colombian international Juan Pablo Angel is still around, and he continues to provide impeccable professionalism, enthusiasm, and that special ability to score goals. Angel continues to be “El Angel del Gol,” the goal angel. He is still playing at a high level, watching his exploits is well worth the price of admission.
“We want to have the people keep coming and keep supporting us,” Angel said. “Hopefully, we'll get the job done.”
So far, Red Bull are getting the job done, as Angel hopes. But can they keep it up?
Keep it up and who knows, maybe this is the year Red Bull finally wins the MLS Cup! That would certainly make 2010 a memorable year for long-suffering New York/New Jersey soccer fans. Winning the cup would be a powerful sign that perhaps Red Bull will be able to once and for all destroy the “Curse of the Cosmos.”
Make sure to check out Red Bull Arena this season. The arena experience, itself, is worth the ticket price. Plus the team seems to be very competitive this year. This all makes for quality and fairly priced family entertainment.