FC Dallas continued their fine form this year with another win at home against Toronto FC. They controlled the match for much of the game and never really looked like losing. Their control of possession was impressive and in the second half, they felt like a team that was confidently in control of the situation, dispatching the troops from BMO with aplomb.
I found the whole match to be positive, and another example of the difference between this and the last year's team. Last year, I think this was one of those games that would have ended 1-1, with a sense that more could have been done to win. The pace would have been tepid and the players hesitant and happy to escape. The fans would have been quiet, reserved and ready to put their kids to bed.
This year though, the atmosphere was loud and anxious, which, I believe, spurred the players on. They felt that energy from all over the field being exuded from the very pores of the fans. It felt like the stadium was alive with sound. The aluminum bleachers took on a personality of their own, squeaking out their excitement with each new chant bellowed by their incumbents. This was an atmosphere that a team could be proud of. Oscar Pareja stated, "They (the fans) are playing with us," while Blas Perez gushed, "As long as I have been here, this is the best the fans have been." Take pride in that Hoops fans, and continue being awesome.
The Beer Garden this year has been fuller than it ever has been before, with it selling out before the season even began. It has been loud and full every match and I have begun to notice a few stereotypes in the type of people who make up the ranks on the North End.
The 5 People You Meet in the Beer Garden
The Hardcore: One will find this person dressed from head to toe in FC Dallas gear, proving their love for the team through wearing the full kit or as close of an approximation to it as he (or she) can, and limited edition scarf. He knows the lineup sooner than the team does, and has done extensive research into how the opposing team defends set pieces. He knows the first, middle and last names of all the players and has a breadth of knowledge regarding each player's style of play that would surpass any scout in the Western Hemisphere. He (or she) knows every chant and song that has ever been heard at an FC Dallas match (even that terrible Bowling for Soup song) and more than likely came up with at least a handful of the chants in the current rotation. He (or she) gets there early and stays late, congratulating each player after wins and consoling them after defeats. The players know him (or her), and look to this person with respect, and a need for his or her approval like a surrogate father figure. He (or she) will follow this team until the day they die, potentially to the detriment of all other things.
Where you will find him (or her): Middle of the stand, first row.
Favorite Player: Matt Hedges
The Hipsters: The hipsters will be distinguishable by their wispy beard or mustache for a male and by their short, somewhat manic haircut for a female. They will want to show that they are cultured and like sports, but not the typical sports like baseball or football. Focusing more on their Instagram feed than the actual match, they will refresh the page continuously; smirking each time another person likes their picture. They are the best at picking the right filter for the right situation. Their friends crowd around them, all very similar looking, and more like they should be going to a War on Drugs concert than watching a soccer match. They understand the basics of the game of soccer, but only fleetingly so, and will enjoy the match, but not too much for fear of being seen as having intense feelings about something.
Where you will find them: In the smoking area, rolling their own cigarettes.
Favorite Player: Oh, you wouldn't know him he's pretty underground.
The Drunk: Slurring his words and sweating profusely, he wanders from section to section, "schooking flor my friensh." He lives in his own world, oblivious to the game unless something very loud happens. He is a few seconds behind in the chants and songs, and forgets the middle parts, but happily makes up for it by finishing each with gusto. He took tailgating far too seriously, acting as if the keg was a bus careening around the city and he was Keanu Reeves tasked with finishing it before Dennis Hopper could blow it up. He is now stuck in the confusing, temporal world of swirling colors and sounds that is the hazy, cloud-world of drunkenness. He flouts from person to person like a man trying to find a light switch in the dark. Friends with everyone, and happy as can be, but in dangerous need of water and for the world to stop spinning, you only hope that he finds his friends soon.
Where you will find him: With the DBG at first, but anywhere and everywhere as the game goes on.
Favorite Player: Adam Moffatt (because he looks like he can discern a pale ale from a pilsner)
The Significant Other: This person loves their husband (or wife) and because of this love, they go to every match with them, getting there early, and staying late. They like the games, but enjoy them less and less as the summer gets hotter. They listen intently while their partner excitedly discusses the future of Castillo, and politely agree with them as they talk about the best formation for the team. They understand that their loved one is passionate about FC Dallas, and that when they married, the betrothal was not just between man and woman, but man, woman and soccer team. During the season, Saturdays are reserved for watching the team play, or if heaven-forbid, they miss the match due to unforeseen circumstances, Sundays will be used to watch the recording. The Significant Other may sit more in the beer garden than others, and he or she may not get as excited about each goal scored, or as down about each goal conceded, but they will be there for support, and as a designated driver for after the game.
Where you will find him or her: Generally next to a Hardcore.
Favorite Player: Zach Loyd
The Old Guy or Gal: In a section dominated by a young, mostly male demographic, there will be a few of this type of supporter sprinkled in amongst the other types of people. The Old Guy or Gal(not said to denigrate, but to appreciate) will have been coming to matches since the beginning. They will have seen many iterations of the supporters group through the years, and seen the team play in a variety of locals. However, whether it be in the Cotton Bowl, Dragon Stadium, or Toyota Stadium, this man or woman will have experienced every sort of emotion at the games. He or she has a wizened look to them, and is not surprised by any downturn or upswing of fortune. He or she doesn't miss the forest for the trees, and takes each game in stride, hoping that this year will be the year that we climb the summit, but not surprised if the ultimate victory alludes us yet again. He or she may not yell the whole game, but knows exactly when the team needs a little extra pep. He or she can also be counted on to deliver the best zingers at the opposing goalkeeper, having learned that less is more when trying to get inside the head of enemy.
Where you will find him or her: The same spot they are always in. It doesn't change.
Favorite Player: Oscar Pareja (still remembered more as a player than a coach)
Obviously, these are not the only stereotypes that we see in the beer garden. What do you all see? Do you agree or disagree with any of these?
Cheers from your man in the beer garden.