In the fiftieth minute, a guttural roar went up in unison with the flares lighting up the Harlem End of the stadium. Numerous individual wildfires up and down the stands came together in an instant, the darkness dissipated, the noise and the smoke and the bright bright lights enraptured the Chicago Fire supporters packed into Section 8.
One wonders what Piotr Nowak thought. In town for the day, the former Fire captain (now coach of the Philadelphia Union) would have remembered the burst of European ultras culture Fire supporters brought to MLS in the club’s inaugural, double-winning year, 1998. On this night, a large two pole banner bearing Nowak’s image shone in Section 8, backlit beautifully by the flares.