Sunday, June 27, 2010

There is nothing like a road trip for soccer

Yakima Reds 1
Tacoma Tide FC 7
Marquette Stadium - Yakima, WA
June 26, 2010
PDL Northwest Division Regular Season

There are three words fans of anything love to say - words applying to sporting events, political rallies, nights out, and random happenings - and those words are, "I was there." When I look at my soccer fan experiences I get to use those words an awful lot. I had hoped and started planning to get to use them here in 2010. But, alas it was not to be.

This is not what I had hoped for many years ago when I had pencilled out my trip to Cape Town to go to the World Cup. But, in the spirit of adventure that is the road trip, the next best - and financially viable - thing was to head over the mountains on a day trip to Yakima. Really.

Yakima seemed perfect for this. I never go there. Well, in March 1985 I attended the DECA State Conference there and think that was the route home Lance drove on our Spring Break day trip to Pullman and the Tri-Cities a month later. So, I had not been there in 25 plus years, there is a soccer team there playing a game during the World Cup, and it is a viable day trip I would not otherwise have taken. For the purposes of creating an artificial South Africa, Yakima it had to be.

We picked a beautiful day that got started much later than had originally been planned due to the combined success of the USMNT by making the Round of 16 and the disappointment of the 2-1 loss to Ghana. We headed out anyway. It seemed necessary, perhaps even more necessary.

The Yakima Reds play in the Premier Development League of the USL, which is technically Division 4 in the US Soccer Pyramid - or the equivalent of a Liverpool supporter taking a road trip to go and see Wycombe Wanderers Football Club in England in lieu of a trip to La Copa Mundial in France in 1998. According to my ridiculous soccer lists I have actually never seen the Reds play in regional action, which is weird as I do go to matches of this kind ... or did more in the past to be perfectly honest. But, checking those lists brought up a grand total of zero Reds games. MLS is spoiling me more than I realized when it came time to write this.

I do not currently have a lower division team I am supporting as teams like the Everett Bigfoot, Seattle Hibernian Saints, and the Spokane Shadow have vanished. Yakima it is. Go Reds! Especially since the Tacoma team would not shut up. There was a very small crowd so we could hear all the talking on the field and Tacoma should be re-branded as the Whiners. There were a couple of early goals by Tacoma that really took all of the drama out of the contest. Tacoma were up 6-1 in the 82nd and arguing corner kick calls. I will agree that the reffing was not very good and white 24 committed at least 3 bookable offenses and should have been sent off for the goalie challenge around the 65th minute, but please shut up and play. Shut. Up. And. Play. Hate to see how Tacoma would be if things weren't going their way.

Oh, and for the record. The Big Miner Burger at Miner's in Yakima is worth the drive in and of itself. When a place not only gives you the option of onions, but of those onions being fresh or grilled, they really do know what they are doing. Add the cheddar too, it is worth it. This is one huge burger and it is not a good idea to try and eat it on the road in your car. Take the time to eat in like we did or expect a serious mess.