Let’s take a breath and step away from the Loons-Vikings legal beef about the potential games to be played at US Bank Stadium next year and focus on MN United’s official digs that they’ll call home for the majority of their 2017 season.
As the Loons transition away from the National Sports Center -- a complex that helped grow them and their culture into what it is today -- they’ll move onto TCF Bank Stadium for their inaugural MLS season. This presents a few things to be excited for and a handful of things to be concerned about. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick list of pros and cons for the Loons playing at TCF next season in order to give you a bit of an idea of what to expect.
Let’s start with the bad news. One of the biggest concerns for die-hard MN United fans at this point is TCF’s policy when it comes to what can and cannot enter the stadium. I’m not even talking about sneaking in that extra drink -- I’m talking about the fact that United fans will likely face a variety of issues regarding their typical get-up compared to the good ol’ days at Nessie.
As of this writing, TCF has made no indication that flags or noise-making devices will be allowed at MN United games. This is a big blow to seasoned supporters of the squad, as waving flags and causing a ruckus is a general best practice. The small caveat to this is that TCF says you can bring flags -- just not flags with a pole attached. So have fun lugging your flags to the stadium and using them as seat warmers, because -- oh yeah -- seat packs aren’t allowed either. For those of you standing, this won’t be much of an issue.
But for those with bags, you’re in for a world of hurt when it comes to TCF’s notoriously stingy policy on what it allows in the stadium and what it doesn’t. Unless you’re sporting a purse the size of your face, you best leave that bag at home.
The combination of all of this leads us to believe the supporters section might not have quite the oomph they have in years past, but there’s still hope. According to Fifty Five One, Jim Oliver, president of the Dark Clouds, claims he and his crew are in talks with MN United on gaining some leeway on TCF’s policies for the good of the MN United fandom.
Perhaps the biggest concern for players and personnel leading up to MN United’s MLS debut season is how the Loons’ schedule will conflict with Gopher football. The initial claim was that there would be no soccer matches on Sundays following Gopher home games on Saturdays. While TCF was able to handle dual tenants with the Vikings last year, it could be a bit tricky coordinating with a more irregular schedule like that of the Loons.
Another con that might sting a little more than expected is the (anticipated) absence of the Dethloon Express next season. I’m not sure there’s been any formal announcement at this point, but it’s not likely fans will pay to hop on a bus at the Nomad and troop it over less than two miles to TCF.
On the other hand, maybe the Dethloon Express gets replaced by a rowdy 1.5-mile march of the Loons from the Nomad to TCF next year. Hopefully this presents itself as an opportunity to amend a long-loved tradition.
For fans traveling into Minneapolis, public transportation is your best friend. The Green Line stops right outside of TCF, making for slick access for you suburbanites. TCF also has public bike parking for all you two-wheelers.
In terms of the field itself, although it is artificial, TCF’s new turf is without football-specific markings, making it a simpler process for switching back and forth between American football and soccer fields.
Another thing to consider is that by playing at TCF next season, the Loons are helping bring more money to a local university, in a roundabout sort of way. All college affiliations aside, there are much worse things that this money could be going toward.
But what is the biggest benefit that TCF Bank Stadium poses for MN United and its fans next season?
No selfie sticks. This is a good thing, people. Let’s take the wins they give us.
What are you looking forward to at TCF next season? What’s really grinding your gears? Let us know in the comments.