Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Best Fan Atmosphere

The U.S. national team match – domestic or abroad – that had the best fan atmosphere in 2007 will earn this award. This is the game where you bragged to say you were there or are still kicking yourself for not laying down the dough for tickets.


U.S. MNT vs. Mexico – Feb. 7 @ University of Phoenix Stadium
At just two years of age, the University of Phoenix Stadiuim had never even hosted a professional soccer game, let alone witnessed the fervor surrounding the U.S.-Mexico rivalry. Talk about getting thrown into the deep end, the game between the two CONCACAF rivals was one of the most heated atmospheres in recent memory, and set the record for attendance at soccer game in Arizona. In all likelihood, this match probably also set the record for noise level in the stadium, though that statistic is still forthcoming…

U.S. WNT vs. Brazil / U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Chile - June 23 @ Giants Stadium
In their first meeting since the 2004 Olympic final, the USA shut down Brazil for a 2-0 victory behind a boisterous crowd. Kristine Lilly got things going early with a first minute free kick and fan-favorite Abby Wambach followed it up by scoring a signature header. In the first game, U.S. fans drowned out a small but vocal contingent rooting for Chile as the U-20s headed to the World Cup with a 2-1 win.

U.S. MNT vs. Mexico – June 24 @ Soldier Field
Though perhaps not as loud as the previous edition of this rivalry, nothing beats the Gold Cup Final in terms of pure intensity. The fact that both teams were playing for silverware was obvious from the get go, and this game was tops for edge of your seat moments. The feeling of relief and jubilation when the ref blew the final whistle will not be soon forgotten by anyone who saw this match.

U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Brazil – July 6 @ Frank Clair Stadium
A packed house of almost 27,000 piled in for a double-header at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Eventual-champion Argentina beat North Korea in the night's first match, and stuck around to celebrate the USA clinching the Group of Death vs. Brazil. American and Argentinian fans joined forces, erupting after each of Josmer Altidore's two goals and sticking around long after the match to dance and cheer with team USA.

U.S. MNT vs. Brazil – Sept. 9 @ Soldier Field
With the fabled Seleção coming to town, it was only fitting that a Carnaval-like atmosphere overtook Chicago’s Soldier Field when the U.S. met Brazil. With drums and dancing from the first whistle to the last, both American and Brazilian fans alike turned this friendly into one of the most memorable U.S. soccer spectacles in recent years.

U.S. WNT vs. Norway – Sept. 30 @ Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium
The sell-out crowd of 34,000 witnessed a complete and entertaining performance from the U.S. team in its 4-1 victory over Norway, even though the crowd started cheering for the Europeans when they were down 4-0.