With the exception of the World Cup, I find soccer to be a ridiculously boring sport to watch. The field is too big so I feel like I’m just watching people running after a ball. Then, when I finally get excited someone might score, a random guy comes out of nowhere and kicks the ball away. That’s always a buzz-kill considering no one will get close for another 10 minutes.
One of my friends, Michelle, is an avid soccer fan so she obviously did not understand my frustration at watching the sport. She wanted to go to a Galaxy game but because none of her friends really like soccer she had to come to terms with the fact she would be going alone. I saved her from that embarrassment when I found out that USC Recreational Sports was organizing a trip to the LA Galaxy versus the Portland Timbers game. When David Beckham and Landon Donovan are the guys chasing after a ball, I’m ok with watching the game.
My other friend, Sasha, does not really know anything about soccer, but she is always up for anything so she came along too. I warned her that it would get boring really quickly, but she wanted to go. It probably had something to do with Beckham… Apparently all the girls like him.
So for $30 Michelle, Sasha, and I, along with about 200 other USC students, took a bus to the Home Depot stadium in Carson, got a hot dog and a drink, and sat behind one of the goals to watch the Galaxy take on the Timbers. It was a pretty good deal.
Even though I don’t like watching soccer that much I have always admired soccer players. Obviously they have unbelievable stamina, great coordination, and are incredibly quick, but what’s most impressive about them is how perseverant they are. I mean, come on, you run like crazy just to get to the ball and then someone kicks it away? And not only do they kick it away, the little thing goes halfway across the field! If I saw the soccer ball that had just moments before been at my feet soaring in the opposite direction, I would be a little heartbroken.
Clearly that was not a problem for Barrett, who scored within the first four minutes of the game. Then that goal was quickly followed by Donovan’s goal off a penalty kick in the eighth minute of play. All the scoring confused me. This was soccer…people don’t score that often and I’m at a game where there are two goals in eight minutes? It was strangely exciting.
It’s the MLS, so I was not expecting a packed stadium, but there was a big crowd and everyone was cheering. We started the wave and it actually managed to make it around the stadium a few times, there was always some section chanting, and everyone was into the game. Even I was into it! I didn’t know what people were screaming, but I did catch on to one cheer where one end of the stadium yelled “LA” and our side of the stadium replied “Galaxy!”
At one point the announcers told the crowd that if the Timber remained scoreless, everyone in attendance was going to get free Pollo Campero. The crowd got really loud after hearing that.
The half-time show was one of the highlights of the game. All these kids ran out onto the field to play against each other. The best one was a game of 5-year olds because all they did was run in a clump. You couldn’t even see the ball, it was just mass of people moving as one but they were so cute! On the sidelines there was a team of guys entertaining the crowd with their juggling skills. They were incredible using their arms, chests, heads, backs, faces, and just every part of their body. One of the guys was break dancing while juggling the soccer ball. I still don’t really understand how that works, but he did it.
The Galaxy ended up winning 3-0 and we all went home with Pollo Campero vouchers, a packet of flower seeds that expired in 2008 (clearly they just wanted to get rid of them), and I got a free first aid kit somehow.
As we were leaving the stadium I ran into my cousin who lives in San Diego, which was really random. It was nice to see him, but he kind of pales in comparison to seeing Donovan and Beckham.