The Simpsons provided a hilarious example of fan treatment of athletes in the classic episode “Homer at the Bat.” Bart and Lisa are taunting Darryl Strawberry when Marge says to them, “Kids, that’s not very nice.” Lisa responds by saying “Mom, they’re professional athletes! They’re used to this. It rolls right off their back.” It then cuts to Strawberry on the field, wiping away a lone tear.
I’ve been to a fair number of New York Red Bulls games over the past two year. I have always been impressed by the South Ward and its rabid supporters. More often than not, I’ve found the arena to be empty with the exception of one massive four-section area to the right of my seat in press row. I have lauded their performances time and time again both in game on twitter and in every day conversation.
And yes, I laughed at “You Suck, A------“ the first few times I heard it.
For a moment, on a wet, cold, and blustery Memorial Saturday in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium became a soccer haven. For a moment, there were more international stars on the field than there are on the Yankees active roster. For a moment, two different shades of blue had priority over pinstripes and a diamond turned into a pitch (not referring to a thrown baseball). For a moment.
Major League Soccer has placed their chips in New York. As expected, the 20th member of America’s top tier of soccer will reside within the five boroughs, with many looking at Queens as a likely destination.
Ryan Meara saw no action this week after picking up a knock on his hip. Coach Backe said that the Fordham graduate could go, but the team did not want to risk further injuring the rookie keeper. Even though he missed the action, there’s still no doubt that he’s been very important to this club.
You wouldn’t expect the New York Red Bulls to have a commanding 3-2 victory over their opponents, having been scored upon 26 seconds into last Sunday’s game against the former conference leaders, D.C. United. But they did. However, before fans even had time to take a bite of their nachos, D.C. striker Chris Pontius headed the ball past a stunned Ryan Meara. A record crowd of 25,187 “D.C. Haters” had all of sudden lost their voice.
Team captain Thierry Henry finally returned last Wednesday, after a hamstring injury had him shelved for four games. However, the arrival of the Red Bulls’ leader would come to no avail. With their Henry back, and their recent defensive excellence, it’s fair to say the streaking Red Bulls side definitely anticipated a win at home.
Thierry Henry’s hamstring was starting to get in playable condition this week, but the notoriously poor turf at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium kept one of the game’s most prolific strikers sidelined yet again. Despite the Impact’s home turf advantage (keeping Henry off the pitch), the Red Bulls would not be denied as they stretched their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory.