27 August 2014

Sporting Park, four years later

After calling the Aug. 23 NWSL semifinal in Kansas City (more on that later) during the day, I got to take in an MLS game as a fan that night.

I'd been to the completed Sporting Park twice before, both when working for the Houston Dynamo, and both times the emotions of the game (a 3-0 Houston loss and a Houston win in the conference championship) overshadowed anything the stadium provided as far as takeaways.

So on this visit I spent the first half just watching the game from a press box-level seat, then spent the second half moving around to sit in several different seats (the south end zone, the top row of the 'G' in 'SPORTING' on the far sideline, and seats just behind the KC bench).

There's a lot to like about the stadium. The noise was great (at least until D.C. United took the game over with three goals in the first half), and I liked that the concourse is, at least for half the stadium, still in sight of the field. Very different from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and Red Bull Arena in New Jersey (at RBA, they won't even let you stand at the top of a section). Both shades of blue were everywhere, the crowd consisted of a good mix of people,and the place had a great energy level.

More than anything else, it was cool to see the finished product. On a Dynamo road trip to Kansas City in September 2010, I got a tour of the in-progress stadium, and here's a look at how things looked then and now (and a comparison of how much better cell-phone cameras have gotten!)

Sept. 2010Aug. 2014

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