Now that the dust has settled slightly from last night’s game, here are some of my random thoughts on Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 victory over Arabe Unido.
Even though the behavior of Arabe Unido’s players feigning injury all game was absolutely embarrassing and a blatant example of why many Americans don’t like soccer, it served to unite the Rio Tinto Stadium fans like I’ve never seen before. The announced crowd of 10,606 was more passionate than any crowd I can recall, and even the players took notice.
Andy Williams posted the following on his twitter account, “Awesome, awesome, awesome atmosphere tonight, all you guys rocked tonight. I’ve never been in a game like that but whatever, on to Mexico.”
The atmosphere had a United States vs. Panama feel to it, and nothing brings out the passion of Americans more than cheering for the Stars and Stripes.
If the fans can continue to build on that passion, Rio Tinto Stadium could become an even more intimidating fortress. Then again, we’ll probably never see anything quite like what we saw on Wednesday with Arabe Unido’s flailing tactics.
Leaving the stadium last night, a handful of Rio Tinto Stadium personnel said I should take a peak into the visiting team’s locker room to see how Arabe Unido trashed it. Sure enough, there was trash strewn about all over. I didn’t notice any vandalism, but the team from Panama left the locker room a disaster zone with bottles, athletic tape and all sorts of garbage laying all over.
One Rio Tinto Stadium employee said, “they were definitely trying to disrespect us.”
It was only fitting because they disrespected the game of soccer in a desperate attempt to get a tie.
In his post game press conference Jason Kreis hinted that a way to prevent similar antics in the future is for refs to use their own discretion about player injuries. If a player is carried of the field multiple times, Kreis said the ref should make that player sit out for a few minutes instead of re-entering the game immediately.
With as slow as FIFA is toward pushing for change with instant replay, a change in the way refs deal with injuries will probably never be evaluated either.
What were some of your thoughts about Wednesday night’s thriller.