Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Bohemians 1905 0 Banik Ostrava 1
Bright and mild - very pleasant weather to watch a late Monday afternoon game between Bohemians and joint league leaders Banik.
7,500 fans packed this atmospheric inner city ground, including around 600 from Ostrava. Some locals watched from the overlooking apartments.
Banik were somewhat disappointing, especially for a leading team, and the home side were cautious.
So it wasn't a great game.
Adam Varadi scored the winner from a left wing cross late in the second half and the visitors generally did enough not to look troubled.
The home fans and their coach complained bitterly about the referee - plus ça change.
After a 15 minute delay to let the away fans disperse a friend and I strolled towards the centre, ate a nice meal and took the tram.
more pics at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/368462130
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Philadelphia Union 3 DC United 2
10th April 2010
It was bright and a sunny 17 degrees on this Saturday afternoon which helped to swell the crowd of locals coming to see the first MLS home game for Union.
As their own purpose built soccer stadium was not quite ready this game was played at the Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Eagles)
The advantage of starting at a much larger venue (capacity over 68,000) was that it allowed more people to see the opening game & it was also easy to get to, via the subway, from central Phillie.
DC also had brought decent support with around 1,000 fans located behind one of the goals.
In the end a total of nearly 35,000 fans attended though many were delayed entering the stadium due to the extra security conected with the visit of Vice-President Joe Biden.
Union are sure to sell more tickets in future following this initial win which was inspired by a hat-trick from French striker Sebastien Le Toux.
They have a relatively young, inexperienced team and it did look like DC would spoil the party after the visitors came back from 2-0 down to equalise from a goalie error.
But with ten minutes remaining Jakovic was sent off for holding back A Moreno and Le Toux scored from the resulting free kick.
Earlier Le Toux had headed in a right wing cross to open the scoring - right in front of the Union fan group.
So Union held out OK, the fans waved their free towels, and they went home happy accompanied by some fireworks.
Because of his links with those involved in the Polish plane crash coach Peter Nowak was not on the sideline, assistant John Hackworth took his place.
My feeling is that Union should get good support in the coming season though they will probably have to battle hard to make the playoffs.
Generally with more soccer-specific stadiums MLS teams should, gradually, continue to develop reasonable fan bases especially helped by the interest from younger (and hispanic) supporters.
As well as this MLS fixture I saw two baseball games :-
Washington Nationals 6 Philadelphia Phillies 5
The Nationals managed to finish off this closely fought game before the thunderstorms started.
It was a rare losing game for the Phillies and the first win for the Nationals.
New York Mets 8 Washington Nationals 2
The Mets used to play (like the Beatles) at Shea Stadium, now, typically, turned into car parking space next to Citi Field. Nearby you can buy a muffler (exhaust) system for your car but not much else.
So you got to McFaddens for a beer and to warm up before the game.
Which was won comfortably enough by the Mets including four home runs - two each by Barajas and Francoeur.
I had to forgo by $11 upper seat to try to find somewhere to watch the proceedings out of the swirling wind.
more pics at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/359576450