MLS put the video below on its website to highlight the travel and passion that visiting fans are willing to do in order to see their hometown team play as the rivals.
In a harsh setting, in which everybody else is rooting on the other team, it can be a lonely experience. These fans, though, are only getting positive vibes.
They seem to be in a good mood, whether the team is winning or losing. It looks like a treasure of fun for them. Nothing will spoil their good time, even a loss.
But in the end, when Real Salt Lake surprises Portland in extra time to steal a road victory, the small band of brothers/sisters get the ultimate treat as visiting fans. They go home with a rare story of seeing their team comeback with late game heroics live on the road. Indeed, they saw a thriller.
MLS claims this is the kind of passion that is driving more fans to see what all the fuss is about. The video makes their case. Soccer is a lot of fun to watch in a sold-out stadium, especially if the teams are skilled and the action is fast-paced.
But, this kind of publicity has not reached a level nationally for which typical sports fans understand. Not enough people know of these Soccer fan experiences.
There are a number of MLS teams now that can provide an atmosphere that satisfies a deep thirst for sports drama. The biggest issues are that too many of the games don’t have dramatic finishes or enough highlights and goal-scoring.
The frenzied crowds create the fever, but sometimes the games don’t deliver.
That’s why this video was picked over any other for the MLS site. It captures the essence of being a visiting team and at the same time, also grabs a victory just in time from the clutches of defeat.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com