The home opener for New York’s newly renamed soccer team was tonight. I still can’t decide whether it’s heartening or appalling that the Austrian makers of a cough-syrupy energy drink have bought and remade the local team in their image. It’s definitely hard to get nostalgic about the name New York/New Jersey MetroStars, though. The New York Cosmos would be another matter.
The Red Bull people definitely put on a good show. Former Cosmos Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and Giorgio Chinaglia were all on hand for a pregame ceremony that also featured a trained bald eagle and three skydivers (one of whom is pictured at left). “Awesome!” the Boy said upon sighting either the eagle or the skydivers or maybe both. He seemed pretty interested in the first half action on field, too (no scoring, but some close calls). But with Wyclef Jean and Shakira making lots of noise on stage at half time, he asked, “When will it stop?” then fell asleep.
Attendance was reported at 35,793, which is huge for an MLS game, but still doesn’t seem like much at Giants Stadium. I pine for the cozy little soccer stadium that they’re going to build in Harrison, N.J. Somehow I think going there will be like heading out to Upton Park in London for a West Ham game — albeit without the jellied eels. And why would that be such a good thing? I don’t know, exactly. Maybe that it would give some sense of connection to the soccer-playing world? Or maybe just that a nice, short soccer game (unlike baseball and football, the whole thing almost never lasts more than two hours) in a nice little stadium would be a nice little thing.
Oh, the final score was 0-0. And rookie defender Marvell Wynne was the best thing about Red Bulls.