Week 5: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake
"Second verse: same as the first. A little bit louder, a little bit worse."
Easter Sunday was a sad-sky day, heavy with grey clouds, that saw the Quakes struggle to string positive passes through or around the midfield during a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, though with several flashes of potential final-third brilliance ending up as:
A bit harsh? Only if you have a nut allergy.
Even from my perfect position just off the end of the pitch, I could barely see Effective Wondo In Action, much less a string of quality passes from the entire team. But it could have been worse: it could have been raining.
Oh, wait: It did (a little), and that's a good thing.
However I, along with the 200-300 people lounging at LOBINA instead of their seats, was in prime viewing position to take in a full half of both quality Bingham Butt and his amazing saves: the dude punches balls until their Black and Blue!
Other cheers: MPG, when not getting Beckerman love-bumped onto his backside, continued to provide long-distance service both from free kicks and corners that was so good, I just might hire him to serve drinks to all the people stuck outside the gate in the security line. While we love Adam Jahn and hope Lenny can join the party soon, if Dom truly wants to shape the team (again) around a target forward, then it just happens minor deity Zlatan Ibrahimović's contract with PSG is up in 2016. AND a little birdie told me that he's just applied for a U.S. visa. If Avaya is the first cloud-enabled stadium, then Zlatan will be Zeus, raining thunderbolts down on our opponents. Make it so: #Zlatan2SJ.
Speaking of rain: that's 3-for-3 at Avaya that's included some kind of moisture falling from the sky during the match. But we're all good as long as it's natural and not the Blue Ice falling from passing planes landing at Mineta.
Which we collect to use in the Blue Margaritas.
Um, April Fools!
Speaking of bathrooms: There is a lack of diaper-changing stations at Avaya. There are TWO "Family Restrooms"—one on each side of the stadium. As @LloydD stated, after he waited serious halt- and game-time for one of the "Family Restrooms" only to find out that it was empty and needed to be opened by an Avaya employee:
.@QuakesPrez would it be so hard to put a baby changing station in the men's and women's room— Lloyd Danon (@LloydD) April 6, 2015
Avaya does a great job of selling itself to adults. But if we want kids to get excited about soccer, then parents need to be in their seats excited about the soccer on the pitch and not pissed off about standing in long lines for limited child-friendly bathroom facilities.
We want more kids and more parents. That means more diapers (for the kids, too). Which means more diaper changing stations.
LOBINA's Three Keys to Happy Parents (and Fans) at Avaya:
- Easy access to toilets
- Easy access to drinks
- Easy access to toilets (for the kids, too)
BONUS: Quakes win.
Speaking of limited access: Many people put out a desperate call of help/drinks from the depths of the security line:
As previously noted: Avaya has the stewards and security people to usher fans OUT of the stadium in scant seconds, so surely they can devote the resource to get people IN just a quickly.
(And would it kill us to keep the bar open 15-20 minutes after the final whistle? Or provide "Doggie Bag Drinks" to enjoy while sitting and waiting to get out of the parking lot?)
(Ok: that last is probably a bit problematic, but a bar can dream, can't it?).
I'm still trying to get my servers on roller skates, but it's a tough go through Legal.
(And over the grass).
Personally, I'd love to see all of you all as soon as the gates open 2 hours before the match. The area around LOBINA is a wonderful open forum for fans of all ages and backgrounds to meet and mingle: a time and place where Ultras still wear their shirts and a Silicon Valley tech CEO's authentic-original cigarette-stained George Best jersey blends in with all the others.
There's space for kids to run and booths of local community groups ready to engage. At last match, author Gary Singh was on hand to sign copies of his recent release The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy. And: THERE WAS A BOUNCY HOUSE! AND BOUNCY SLIDE!
The SF Giants at AT&T Park have a great kids area with slides and batting cages, all within view of the field so parents don't miss the game while their little'uns play on non-electronic game stuff, so kudos to the Quakes to ensuring that there's more entertainment at the stadium than soccer, beer, and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
Oh, but the waves of waivers! As @LloydD asked:
.@QuakesPrez and why do I have to wait in line to sign a release at every game and at every event for my daughter to go on a slide?— Lloyd Danon (@LloydD) April 6, 2015
The Quakes do a great job of Individual & Season Tickets, especially with reps having a personal connection to the fans and working with them to get the best tickets. Why not offer a Season Waiver?
Heck, print the signed waiver on a LOBINA cup and it's a win-win situation of refills of fun bouncy, boozy, and ballzy!
Apparently many game-goers experienced serious slow-down in terms of internet connection during the match, both Wi-Fi and with their own LTE/G-Wiz service. While even Scotty can't beam 18,000 lives into the same place at the same time, it would be nice if fans could send a photo within at least 5 minutes. My registers ring either way, but I'd like Quakes fans to get more internet bang for their buck.
SnapShot Section Spotlight: The Patio Suite
Each home match, LOBINA listens to fans discuss other areas of Avaya Stadium and offers up the overheard for your edification.
This week: the patio suites in the South-West corner.
One of my social media dudes was lucky enough to be invited to a viewing party at the 113 Patio Suite and reported back to LOBINA about the fan experience there.
Apparently, it's a great space for groups to gather: many tables for food and drink at the concourse-level common area (with great views of LOBINA across the grass), and a slim 3 rows of padded seating inches from the pitch.
What the Avaya Stadium 3D Map view doesn't include, however, are the Ad-boards along the end line that shelter the hordes of photogs (like Center Line Soccer's own wonderful Lyndsay Radnedge) behind the goal, the corner flag (obstruction!), or the group of potential Quakes subs who warm up in that corner during the second half.
While the first row provides a somewhat-obstructed view, the barstools around the Patio above the three rows of seats probably provide some of the best views in the stadium.
Except nobody could sit there because the same wind that rips along the north-west causeway up by the press box BATTERS through the corner gate and ROARS through the common patio area.
Taking one step down to the seats completely shelters the supporter.
Another example of Bay Area Microclimates.
I'm slowly gathering specific locations of both lovely and wind-swept spots, so please Tweet/email in where's the best place to be before, during & after a match!
(Make sure to define "Best" as well, by George!)
Back to Butts:
Much is made by TV pundits about empty seats. Yes, on screen there were empty seats during the past two "sellout" matches.
Next time anyone at Avaya mentions "empty seats" have the camera pan to the concourses and LOBINA! There are easily 500 to 1,000 people out of their seats, but still watching the match, at any time!
Supporters Sections! LOBINA! Bathrooms! BOUNCY HOUSE! (Family) Bathrooms! LOBINA! BOUNCY SLIDE! Bathrooms! Viewing balconies! LOBINA!
As stated last week, one of the great aspects of Avaya Stadium is being able to wander. Who needs a 3D map on a computer when you can walk around the entire pitch yourself (with your own 3D eyes) enjoying the match, talking with other supporters, and stopping every half-circuit—like Bill Murray swimming laps in The Razor's Edge—to pick up a pint at LOBINA or Beers of the World?!?
Hopefully both the Quakes and TV pundits will recognize the power of a people's stadium—where everyone is mingling while watching (and not fleeing the sun like at other South Bay stadiums)—because more and more people are getting hip to the standing ovation.
Overheard at LOBINA: "Next time we can just get supporter tickets and stand down here by the bar."
Given that the San Jose Ultras have created a positive, quality (and fairly family-friendly) supporters section above the South goal, I hope that family stands and supports in both locations!
LOBINA Ultras are everywhere!
At the core of every great Quakes experience, though, is the soccer itself.
New Stadium, new coach, new vibe, new season.
Now time to create our home through quality football.
Let's drink to us, and to the next match.
See you Saturday night, under the lights, all right!