My wife and I got interested in the other football (soccer) several years ago during the World Cup. We have watched a few MLS matches on Television and attended a friendly featuring the US Mens National team. Last night we attended the friendly between the Philadelphia Union and Montreal Impact at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, FL.
It was a chilly night (for Florida) and we misjudged that a little so we were huddled together shivering a little during the match, but nothing too uncomfortable. The crowd was good about 7.500 people which I understand is actually pretty good for a MLS exhibition. The crowd was good a little muted by the cold temperature but kids were running around blowing noisemakers and overall it was a friendly relaxed atmosphere.
I’m not a regular attendee of MLS matches though I have watched a few on television. I was struck by the differences in the match vs the high gloss, highly produced NFL games we attend each fall. Some of it undoubtedly is because it was a low key friendly in a non MLS city.
The hardest thing to get used to is the lack of video replay support. I found myself missing things because I was focused on one thing while something else was going on. Early in the first period there was an apparent goal by the Union that was ruled off sides. I missed the offside call and spend a little time wondering why the goal had been disallowed. I wasn’t sure until later when we read some accounts of the game afterwards. The game announcers in NFL Football are very chatty. By contrast the announcement at this match was almost non-existent. I have since researched that this is the practice only goals, cards, and substitutions are announced. Even then the announcer seemed to be several minutes behind action on the field. Listening to him announce substitutions and cards awarded 2-3 minutes after the fact was distracting. My personal preference would be for slightly more but I’m willing to wait until I’m more seasoned at watching these matches to make up my mind.
The game was lively, but ultimately scoreless. Still there was plenty of action including 4 yellow cards. I did find it a little interesting that late in the match Philadelphia substituted their own team. I assume this is an exhibition artifact and not something done often, I’ve never seen it done that way before.
Years ago Jacksonville had a team in the old NASL I went to a few Jacksonville Tea Men matches as a young boy. I could get used to going to MLS matches in Jacksonville. I might even get used to the lack of announcer involvement.