Preface (written 5 days before the game):
On July 6, I will be attending my first LAFC game as they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at the Banc of California Stadium in downtown Los Angeles. My expectations are high - I’ve heard great things from both avid soccer fans and those who really had never sat down to watch a game before. I’ve only ever attended games in LA and Dallas and neither atmosphere was memorable. It sounds like the LAFC atmosphere is much better than the average MLS stadium so I am definitely excited about that. It also helps that they are the MLS’ best team and it’s a beautiful new stadium. Kicking some Canadian ass under the lights on a summer night in perfect LA weather? Sign me up.
After the Game:
My expectations were high, and they were still somehow exceeded. The stadium was beautiful and really should serve as a benchmark for non-NFL stadiums nationwide. The atmosphere was incredible with a fourth of the stadium dancing and chanting the entire night. It’s difficult to imagine many MLS teams being able to emulate that support. Finally, the game itself might’ve been a blowout, but that doesn’t take away from a great time. LAFC were very impressive and it’s very plausible that they will attract world-class talent for generations to come.
My biggest lasting impression of the game has to be the surroundings. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from a quality perspective on the pitch, but support-wise all I had to go off of was word of mouth. There’s a huge bar built right next to the stadium that looked like the perfect place before the game (we, unfortunately, didn’t discover it until walking to the stadium). Security/crowd control is nice because the stadium isn’t massive like an NFL or MLB game. In the crowd, there isn’t a bad seat in the stadium. We had what may be considered the worst seats there and our view was still great. The crowd was loud and engaged, and it didn’t feel like a BS environment where no one knows what they’re talking about. What takes the cake is “3252” - the named dubbed for LAFC’s supporter’s section. This group made it feel like I was at a European football match. Flares, drums, chants, singing, and jumping the entire game - their support really is contagious.
As for the game itself - it felt like watching Man City beat up on Huddersfield. Vancouver scored a flukey goal early, and LAFC dominated the rest of the game. It took them until about 35 minutes to equalize, but once they did the floodgates opened. The final was 6-1 and it really could’ve been worse. It was really hard to believe that these two teams played in the same league.
I cannot believe I am writing an entire paragraph about how awesome LAFC’s jerseys are, but it’s deserved. Their home kit is black with gold lettering and the colors complement each other perfectly. It’s a dominant home color and the gold is the perfect branding accent color. Their away kit is white with gray abstract stripes - to be honest I like this one even more. I am very picky when it comes to a good-looking uniform, and I’d put LAFC’s kits towards the top of my list of coolest jerseys of any world sport.
I couldn’t be any more excited about the future of the MLS in America. I know it is going to be a long and patient process, but the game on Saturday was a testament to me that the future is still very bright for soccer in this country. Allegiances are going to grow and grow with each generation, and I look forward to supporting LAFC for years to come.