Where there's a wind, there's win.
And while ‘twas a chill wind that blew through San Jose's Saturday night match against Vancouver, the Quakes warmed up enough during the second half to slam home some shots on goal, with one rebound transforming into a Nyassi supershot that burned the Whitecaps' goalkeeper and fired the Blue and Black to a 1-0 victory.
So while the Quakes rocked the pitch, and the wind rocked the stadium, the fans reveled in the first night game "Under the Lights" in Avaya Stadium history:
--Leading up to the match, fans started to fill the stadium at 5:30 when gates opened two hours before the match, while supporter groups continued to tailgate from before the moment parking lots opened at 3:30.
A LOBINA media minion was able to trek out the long, dusty, canvas-walled corridor to the Gold Lot to revel with several supporter groups. The largest supporters group, the San Jose Ultras, tailgates in the Silver Lot, and LOBINA looks forward to visit them, /r/SJEarthquakes, and others at the next home stand to talk everything Quakes, Supporters, and sample their BBQ and beer (for quality journalistic purposes, of course).
In the Gold Lot, supporter groups Imperio Sismico, Casbah, and Faultline gathered together under canopies, around BBQs, with beers in hand, talking Quakes, passing around a ball or two, or all of the above.
Faultliner Heather shared the story of how these supporters groups started a new tradition at Avaya:
Why the Gold Lot? When we started organizing, it turned out that Casbah members already had Gold Lot parking permits, so Faultline joined in. What's crazy is that parking costs more than our supporter season tickets!
And we're here next to the south gate we wanted to be close to an access point, and until 20 minutes ago, this was the only one! They just opened that gate in the fence over there. Hopefully they'll take down the fences after they pave the lots, because having each lot fenced off creates a very isolated atmosphere.
We're all very family-friendly supporters groups. Back at Buck Shaw we were at the opposite side of the field from the Ultras, but now we're directly below them. Our goal is United Sound. It's very difficult to hear the Ultras above us, but when we hear them start a chant, we'll signal to our leaders and join in. Our signature, though, is leading all the children in an "I Believe" chant at 75'. Not just our kids in the Supporter sections, but all children in the stadium are invited to come and chant "I Believe" together.
Faultliner Crystal discussed working with the Quakes Front Office at the new stadium:
The Quakes have been great working with supporters groups in terms of logistics: there's dedicated storage for tifo and drums, available to anyone. Just need to tell the Quakes FO what you need to store and when you need it, and their people bring it out to you before the match. Our worst experience so far: Quakes said they brought our drums out, but when we got to the stands we couldn't find them! Turns out they were there, just a few feet away. So other than that "crisis," it's been a great supporters experience so far.
LOBINA applauds the beginning of building a BLUE WALL at the South end of the stadium (one day we'll match Dortmund's Yellow Wall as the premier standing supporters section!) and, given the incredible acoustics at Avaya, we encourage supporters in ALL seats to join in the singing. Even the LOBINA Ultras along the grass terraces can pull the pint away from their mouths (for a minute or two) to sing along and create SanJo Stereo Stadium Sound.
--Don't want to deal with security lines? Here's the gate an hour before the match:
--CSNBA crew set up next to LOBINA for the pre-match comments and found that the wind that rips around the gates plays hell with your hair:
Ok, only our fearless and intrepid soccer rocker Kate Scott had to deal with that wind tunnel, but cheers for the CSN team to provide quality coverage for our Quakes games.
It's an added bonus when our commentators are also die-hard fans and former players:
--We applaud the greater national TV coverage this year from Univision, ESPN and Fox, but we hear many people wish Our Crew could be front and center: people who focus on the Quakes and the match throughout rather than Klinsmann Krap or Ronaldo Rumors.
Note: Kate Scott, in addition to slipping soccer into mainstream radio, has been quietly rocking us with quality Quakes reports for years. Some of us might want a section of supporters stands named after her, or a "Kate Gate" through which to enter Avaya, but as the Longest Outdoor Bar In North America, I hope we're able to soon offer the "Great Kate Scott Shot": a highball glass of high-class whiskey offered only during her interviews at halftime and post-match. Keep asking those quality questions and reppin' the Quakes, Kate!
@LOBINA_QUAKES15 Ha! And 3 points to go with all of those pints! Cheers!— Kate Scott (@katetscott) April 12, 2015
--Speaking of media screens, LOBINA overheard much mumbling about the lack of match info displayed around the stadium. Being directly under it all, I have to crane many a bottle neck up to view the big-ass screen, but every time I do, there's just a little bit of time in the corner!
As the well-informed have commented:
We have a big screen & led's around the stadium, but I can't see what minute we're in, fouls, cards, subs or extra time minutes. #Quakes74— Dom (@lovsicfrs) April 13, 2015
At Buck Shaw the extra time wasn't displayed because they used the same 1964 scoreboard that stopped at 90, yes? Or halted by some myth that only TV's could display "possible" extra time on a screen? How hard can it be to roll extra time below the scoreline once 90 minutes are met?
Too much to ask the LOBINA screen to flash some stats like possession, pass completion, subs, cards, etc.? Fans want to focus on the pitch, not their phones!
SnapShot Section Spotlight: LOBINA Endline Terraces
Each home match, LOBINA listens to fans discuss other areas of Avaya Stadium and offers up the overheard for your edification.
This week: The grass terraces in front of LOBINA and behind the North Goal.
You saddle up to the grey-flecked white marble magnificence of LOBINA. While you wait to give your order, your eyes caress the cool blue seats of the stadium, the quivering blob of the Bouncy Houses, and the butts and bodies of studly and stacked supporters, to finally focus on the immaculate pitch on which the Quakes are quickly warming up. Once you finally get your drink (and, if your smart, those for 12 of your closest friends), where do you go?
You could start the trek up to your seat (which, even if at the very top of the section, still affords a view more kick-ass than TV), you could start a circuit around the stadium to take in all the action from 360 degrees, or... hey, you could just stay right here in front of the bar!
There are three rows of lawn-licked terraces between LOBINA and the single row of (rather expensive) "front row" seats that border the pitch behind the North Goal. The seats guarantee you a prime Bingham Butt viewing location—and, truly, this dude is going to be one of the great American goalkeepers through the 2026 World Cup cycle (you heard it here first!), so get behind him now!—but the terraces are amazingly relatively empty:
The rows of grass terraces allow fans of every ticket status to taste both quality beer and to join the LOBINA ULTRAS supporter section behind the goal. Possible motto: "Liver Let Die." Stay for a few minutes or the whole match! We'll work on creating our own songs, right after this round.
Quite a few Quakes supporters were excited, for different reasons, to rock the terraces. For one, the area around LOBINA gets very congested:
The @LOBINA_QUAKES15 is packed tonight folks! I'm talking about sardinessasssss— Dom (@lovsicfrs) April 12, 2015
Mainly in the 45 minutes before the match.
Thomas, plucked randomly from the passing pre-match packed throng in front of LOBINA, shared why he supported the Quakes:
A few years ago I moved from Georgia to the Bay Area. Atlanta might have an MLS team in a few years, but you have to support local. I'm rather new to live soccer: I went to Quakes games at Buck Shaw twice, which were fine, but this place is amazing. Avaya is a great walkaround, a proper stadium. I like the redwood.
Most breeze in, wait for a server, and then mosey on to their seats in the awesomely steep-raked sections around Avaya to cheer on the Quakes. Some grab a beer and walk round & round the stadium circuit while watching the match. Others eschew their seats for the stand-up experience of LOBINA Endline viewing.
Standing at one of the slim counters stretched across the endline, Amy and Jamie, Quakes fans for many years and whose children play premier club soccer in the East Bay, offered their thoughts on the SJ Earthquakes experience at the new stadium:
AMY: We have tickets for seats. They're up there [motions towards top of section near pressbox]. But this section in front of the bar is much better: the boys like it here because we're close to both the bar and the bathrooms—leftside under the away supporters is the best!—and our kids the tweens like playing at the bouncy house and the other activities just a few feet away. The Quakes staff at the activities are very nice and the kids really like playing there, while also watching the match.
JAMIE: The countertops along the endline are great and convenient—just wish there were step stools or a bar along the bottom so us shorter people could step up and watch the action on the pitch!
AMY: But this is much, much better than the bleacher-butt you got at Buck Shaw.--As the Quakes take the field before the Second Half, the heavy-metal Metallica invocation of "Enter Sandman" rocks and rolls around the steep-racked seated sections. The players step up to the ball, the ref blows the whistle, the music cuts out... and the whole LOBINA ULTRA section keeps on singing:
Take my hand—
We're off to Never Never Land!
Which, hopefully this year, will be a long playoff run and MLS cup!
Wanna rock more?
The supporter sections have drums, and they're not afraid to use them!
--Speaking of rocking out: Avaya still needs to find a more effective enema for the impacted parking-exit problem. Allowing the VIPs to land their helicopters in the actual Platinum / VIP lot instead of at the airport across Coleman would assist egress, as would an ACTUAL EXIT STRAGEGY, as well as the boots on the ground to accomplish it.
Until then, I suggest you take public transportation, such as the VTA / your feet to where you parked your car down Coleman, or leave a post-game cooler of drinks & snacks in the car (and Avaya having a drive-through open-container drink dump before hitting the public roads) and join our resident Quakes Bobblehead Nerdy Gales for a literary and enlightening experience across all cars:
Thinking of starting a post-game parking lot book club in the Platinum lot. Who's in?— Nerdy Gales (@NerdyGales) April 12, 2015
Personally (as a high bar seeped in the wisdom of those I serve), I suggest starting with Eduardo Galeano's Soccer in Sun and Shadow (Nation Books, Revised 2013). Not only in honor of the author who passed away this week at age 74, but because his lyric snap shots of the history of the Beautiful Game hits the heart has hard as the mind.
Other offerings for the SITPLBC (Stuck In The Parking Lot Book Club) include Nick Hornsby's Fever Pitch, Bill Buford's Among The Thugs, and local writer Gary Singh's written history of the Quakes "The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy."
--Given creative MLS scheduling and Montreal Impact advancing to the CCL final, we are left without a Quakes home game for FIVE WHOLE WEEKS!
While I sit here, unloved and unused, all by myself for FIVE WHOLE WEEKS, feel free to use the month-long away matches as opportunities to join Quakes watch parties all over the Bay Area.
I've overheard of groups meeting at Jack's Bar in San Jose, Stadium Pub in Walnut Creek, San Francisco Athletic Club on Divisadaro and others. I'll be sending my social media minions out to support your all and to rep "LOBINA at Large" so email in if you have a great Quakes viewing party location/group.
Until we get watch parties at Avaya, check footysf.com or http://www.reddit.com/r/SJEarthquakes/ for updates of the place to be to cheer on the Quakes! See you at Avaya for the USWNTvIRE match May 10, at the next Quakes match vs Columbus May 16, or at your local pub for a quality pint and SJ Quakes view party!