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You will have to excuse me for a little self-indulgence today (though I will offer a slightly broader justification for posting this video in a minute).
The following video highlights of New England’s torment during their 4-0 destruction at the hands of my Chicago Fire last Thursday, set to Bocelli’s “Con Te Partiro”, was made by a friend of mine in Chicago’s Section 8 and warms the cockles of my heart. The New England players’ reactions mostly stemmed from the seventh minute dismissal of Jeff Larentowicz for a “tackle” on Chicago’s Brandon Prideaux. Enjoy.
Beyond its aesthetic brilliance, I think this kind of supporter-made video is important for MLS. We need to make people realise there are rivalries — such as the increasingly bitter one between the Fire and the Revolution — in American soccer that cut close to as deep for the organisations and hardcore fans as Liverpool-Manchester United. I’m not joking about this: I have friends in Section 8 who have taken the thousand mile trip to New England’s home, Foxboro, for three consecutive years in the playoffs and watched the Fire lose. I seriously fear for their mental health should it happen a fourth time. One could even say the same about rivalry in the USL for a Timbers fan with regard to Seattle (let’s hope that rivalry is resurrected in MLS some day).
As well as understanding the supporters’ passion, what we need is more focus on getting to know the players both on and off the field as characters. I’m glad the Fire have Blanco almost as much for his ability to piss opposing players and fans off as for his wondrous ability on the ball.
I dislike the soap opera that the English Premier League has become now — but all the same, it’s important for MLS players to be known and loved and hated outside the hardcore few. Unfortunately, the mainstream soccer media here does little to help. That’s why blogs like The Offside Rules, with their witty interviews of MLS players and focus on their lives off the field, really help.
And who are Section 8, you ask? Here we are during the New England game:
(See more photos here.)
Oh, and for the New England fans out there still complaining about the dismissal, please explain how this is not a red card:
How’s this post for stoking a rivalry?
Video courtesy of Section 8 Chicago.