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A Lion Among Loons: A neutral fan visits MNUFC

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A staff writer from our fellow Orlando City blog paid a visit to the victory over RSL.

July 14, 2018 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United forward Darwin Quintero (25) is congratulated by Minnesota United midfielder Ibson (7) and Minnesota United forward Christian Ramirez (21) during the Minnesota United vs Real Salt Lake match at TCF Bank Stadium. 

(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)
July 14, 2018 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United forward Darwin Quintero (25) is congratulated by Minnesota United midfielder Ibson (7) and Minnesota United forward Christian Ramirez (21) during the Minnesota United vs Real Salt Lake match at TCF Bank Stadium. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Hey guys. I am Ethan Smith, a writer from The Mane Land, an Orlando City and Orlando Pride community on SB Nation. I am here for you guys to write about my experience as a neutral fan attending a Minnesota United match, the Real Salt Lake match in particular.

To say my experience wasn’t interesting would be the biggest insult I have ever made. TCF Bank Stadium is a beautiful stadium and was surprisingly suited well for soccer. I managed to sneak my way into the Supporters’ Section and watch the first half of the match from this beautiful angle.

Now here is where I show the dumb-side of myself that I tend to show at rare times. This is only the second soccer match I have ever attended in person, so I was not up-to-date on MLS policies. A leader from a Supporter Group, I cannot remember which group or the name of the gentleman, kindly asked me to either change out of my Orlando City gear or leave the section. Because of my fandom for the Lions, I chose the latter. I wanted to take this short bit to apologize for not realizing this rule. I wanted to also thank the gentleman for asking kindly that I leave instead of being more forceful or rude. I applaud the support from that section as well.

Among all this, I was allowed to ask a supporter by the name of Philip West, who is a member of True North Elite, about the atmosphere that people can expect when they come to a Minnesota United match.

“We absolutely LOVE the atmosphere at MNUFC games. The songs, chants, flags, etc all make the game incredibly exciting and you feel like it urges the boys on the pitch to give it just a little extra effort. Makes you feel like a PART of the game, not just a spectator. Football culture is strong and only growing stronger worldwide, in the U.S. and especially in the Midwest.”

The supporters as a whole were amazing, constantly loud and proud throughout the entire match. The match was a stalemate at 0-0 at halftime but the second half definitely ramped up early on. Ibson’s goal changed the entire atmosphere from an already upbeat tone to an almost ballistic uproar of cheers ranging from “Come On You Loons” or “M-N-UFC” and it seemed like the team just reacted accordingly. Darwin Quintero’s goal was one of the nicest I have seen and will be a memory I have of the whole crowd watch the replay and reacting with an appropriate “ooooooo”. Miguel Ibarra tacked on another and at that point the game was all but over despite Real Salt Lake making it interesting.

The experience was much like my only other in-game experience in Atlanta last July when Orlando City came to town when Atlanta played its last match in Georgia Tech’s college stadium. The college stadium atmosphere is not a bad approach for incoming teams building and waiting on new stadiums. I have witnessed it twice and enjoyed the atmosphere both times. TCF Bank to be quite honest had a much better feel and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The best moment came after the Loons’ victory when Oasis began to play. Interesting note about me, I love Oasis. The entire stadium seemed to just be captured in the moment after the victory and when they began to sing in unison, the feeling was spectacular. The entire game was felt with various emotions and among other things joy because of the victory.

This was my little mini story on my experience at TCF Bank Stadium and the experience I had interacting with Loons fans and the match itself. You guys seem like a class fanbase and personally I believe the club, team and supporters are going places. Thanks for inviting me, even when I was asked to leave, and best of luck to you guys for the rest of the season.