- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 25, 2008
- 8 Comments
I was looking around the MLS/soccer/blogsphere today and came across an interesting article at Goal.com about where is the best place in America to watch a soccer game. And while I found that the list was interesting, I think I have to disagree with most of it.
They got it right with RFK being the top place to watch a soccer game in this country. For now, and until DC United can get their own park, RFK is a great place. Its a bit old but let me tell you, if you haven’t been to a game there you should really try. Its the one venue, thanks to its supporter groups, that is always loud and is very unique. Few teams in MLS have home field advantage and DC is one of those.
They listed a couple college venues, and while I can’t disagree with the ones they did (Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana; Joseph J. Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Connecticut; and Ludwig Field in College Park, Maryland) I must say it was surprising to me to not see the likes of some MLS stadiums on this list.
I’ve been to my share of stadiums over the years and even a good amount on their list. My list would look a little different though:
- RFK Stadium – Reasons listed above
- BMO Field – I will include Canada in this discussion because BMO Field has raised the bar in terms of atmosphere for a soccer game in MLS and for dedicated attendance.
- Crew Stadium – Ever watched US v. Mexico at Crew Stadium? That is reason alone to place this stadium near the top of the list. Its small but very nice. Sure the Crew don’t pack the place in MLS but when they do its a very tough venue.
- Home Depot Center – Chivas had the best home record there last year (if not one of the best in MLS history), LA Galaxy are always tough to play there. It truly is one of the toughest venues to play in for a visiting squad. How Goal.com didn’t list it is beyond me.
- PGE Park – I’ve never been to a Timbers game but from what I’ve seen on TV and in reports, its a hell of a venue for soccer. The Timbers average a nice crowd for USL games and have given lots of people a reason to believe they deserve a MLS expansion bid down the road.
- Toyota Park – I’ve really warmed up to this place in recent months. I have a feeling that the better the Fire get the harder this place will be to play in. Its cozy and very pleasant to see on TV.
- Memorial Coliseum – Goal.com got one right here on their list, though I don’t think it deserved to be that high (#3). Anytime you can pack 80,000 fans in this place it sure makes for a good environment. Thing is, that only happens when two Mexican teams play after the MLS teams.
- Pizza Hut Park – Very surprised to see it on Goal.com’s list but their reason was more so for the Dallas Cup, which is a very good reason indeed. I love this park because it is my home town stadium. I’ve seen it at it’s best and worst and even it’s worst is better than most in this country.
- Joseph J. Morrone Stadium – Being from the East, and after going to a BIG EAST school for college (WVU). I know that this place is extremely tough to play in. UCONN makes it an absolute fortress for their homeside on both the men’s and women’s ball. Not to mention a majority of their games are played in very cold temperatures.
- Blackbaud Stadium – Another stadium Goal.com got right. I love this USL venue in Charleston, South Carolina. Probably one of the most underrated facilities in America for soccer.
- Klöckner Stadium – Another college venue that is a must to go to I think. I’ve been to several games at this stadium over the years and it continues to impress me. Oh yeah and the UVA teams are always good there. A true home field advantage there.
Another quality stadium is Saputo Stadium in Montreal. Once it gets MLS-ready I think it will be a stellar venue.
Sure my list is a little MLS heavy but there is a reason who stadiums are in the big leagues and not just a local park. I think this list will continue to change over the next few years as some new stadium come into the mix. I have a feeling that Red Bull Park, the Sandy Stadium for RSL and the new Chester Stadium for Philly will all be great venues.
So, what stadiums did I miss that would be on your list?