I knew from the moment we pulled up to Gillette Stadium, this game was going to be a lot different from the regular MLS games we had been to there in the past. Last weekend I was able to attend a triple header of soccer games. We were able to watch New England Revolution take on Kansas City, and CONCACAF Gold Cup games US vs Haiti and Honduras vs Grenada.
Whereas we normally park right next to Gillette Stadium, we were redirected to a parking lot down the street, as the parking lots were filling up. Entering the stadium we also discovered the entire lower section was open as well as part of the second balcony. At a typical Revs game only half of the lowest section is open, so right off the bat it was quadruple the crowd. At the beginning of the game there was still plenty of space in those sections, but as the US vs Haiti game went on, there was hardley an empty seat to be found. The stands were packed and the intensity was up.
I was surprised at the number of Haiti fans in the audience. It was probably a 60/40 split. With a only a slight majority in the favor of US. The # of Haiti fans could have been in reality smaller, but they were definetely making enough noise and excitment for 40%.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy watching and going to MLS games, but the two CONCACAF games were a level totally above all the MLS games I've seen. It was an absolute experience to watch US vs Haiti. The game play was much more enjoyable to watch. You could tell the talent and style of the players was a lot different than MLS. The play was a lot more technical, put-together, and intense. US started the game off with a clean goal that got everyone on their feet and into the game. Haiti fans went nuts after Haiti came back to tie.
The Haiti fans went especially crazy when Haiti put a second point on the board. US fans almost held their breadth the rest of the game, waiting to see if they could make up the deficite. The game became especially intense the last ten minutes as it was almost all in front of Haiti's goal. There were a lot of really close calls, but it seemed like no matter what US did, nothing would go in. 90 minutes came and the referree's attached around 4 extra minutes to the game due to stoppage. It seemed like all was lost for US. But around the 92nd minute US put in their long-sought-after goal to end the game at a tie 2-2.
Fantastic game and experience. The intensity from the players was there, the interest from the crowd was there and it was just an awesome experience all around. I'm really glad I was able to go.