Soccer (known as football outside of the U.S.) is a sport I usually follow only during the Olympics and the World Cup. Yesterday my son convinced me to attend my first MLS (Major League Soccer) game. He was visiting from Cincinnati, Ohio and Charlotte FC was playing FC Cincinnati at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
It was a nice spring day with late-afternoon temperatures around 63°F (17°C) and gusty winds. This is Charlotte’s first year in the MLS and 4th match of the season. The crowd of just over 30,000 was enthusiastic but not rowdy by any means.
We bought general admission tickets (for about $70 per, yikes). The general admission seating area seemed to have the most die-hard soccer fans. People stood for most of the game.
Charlotte FC posted it’s first “clean sheet” (I believe is the term) shutting out the visitors from Cincinnati 2-0 behind a pair of goals from Polish striker Karol Swiderski. Alex was rooting for his hometown team but we both had a great time.
The highlight of the match was Swiderski’s second goal. It came on a free kick from just outside the penalty box. He took advantage of a strong tailwind to blast a shot through the defenders and past the helpless FC Cincinnati keeper. I managed to snap a photo with my cell phone as ball came off his foot.
Beer flew everywhere after that goal. I hadn’t anticipated that.
I’m not a soccer aficionado like my son, but we both enjoyed the game. The steep ticket and concession prices and potential beer dousing will limit my attendance to maybe a couple of matches per year. Still, it is great that Charlotte is now represented in the MLS. Judging by the crowd, there are many knowledgeable football fanatics here who agree.
I’ll say one thing about soccer — you have a very good idea of how long a regulation game will last.
Thanks for sharing in this American’s introduction to professional soccer. Please enjoy your day or evening.