Sunday, September 23, 2012

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers (my first MLS game), Sept. 19, 2012

One of the peripheral effects of the NHL lockout is that I find myself looking at different sports other than hockey, baseball, and football (in that order).  This past week, Suzanne and I walked down the street from our new place to Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University to see the MLS San Jose Earthquakes take on the Portland Timbers.  I can't give a detailed analysis of the game, since it was my first time at a Quakes game (embarrassing as a San Jose native, I know), but here are the photos and my first impressions.

This was my first glimpse of the field, as we walked up and over to our seats.  It was a beautiful Wednesday night.

The supporters' section was the highlight of the night for me.  They were underneath this tarp, mocking Portland.

What I found absolutely amazing about this section (aside from its clever use of the Estonian flag - !) was its non-stop chanting.  It felt like a college football (er, American football) game in terms of atmosphere, although I presume they were more keen on imitating European / Latin American soccer culture (though I wouldn't exactly know).  

"San Jose Earthquakes, you are my team, until the day I die; and when that happens, I'll still be singing, for you up in the sky!"

Suz was enjoying herself.  Our seats were good, although thank heavens for the upcoming new stadium - the entirety of the current stadium is bleacher seating.

I began to make mental notes of  the players, including Mr. Blond Hairdo himself, Steven Lenhart.

Jon Busch is the Quakes' formidable goalie.

Alas, Danny Mwanga of the Timbers scored 45 minutes in to make it 1-0 Timbers.  Although I know little about soccer, I knew that this could already be a deep enough hole for San Jose.

Never say die, Quakes...

Danny Mwanga scored again 62 minutes in to make it 2-0.  Suz and I began to feel like good luck charms... for Portland.

The deficit only fired up the supporters' section more.  Take note, Sharks fans that get stone cold silent (or worse, start booing).

I was already a fan of the Estonian flag's color scheme from my time there in 2009, so seeing it used to bolster the crowd in my home town was an incredible sight.

Enter Chris Wondolowski, aka "Wondo."

Boom = Wondo cuts the deficit in half at the 73rd minute with help from Lenhart.

Suz and I felt relieved that San Jose wouldn't be shutout on our watch.

BOOM = Wondo strikes in stoppage time to tie the game, and runs into the supporters' section, who are going nuts!  Alas, I was too busy cheering to take a photo of that...

Although I did get a photo of him doing it on the scoreboard.

After the game, Wondo high-fived a good portion of attendees, including yours truly and Suzanne.

I have to say, it's fitting that he and fellow Polish-American / San Jose athlete Joe Pavelski both wear #8.

Gotta love the Lenhart wig.

Will I be coming back to see another Quakes game?

Give you one guess.  :-)

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