Ok, so it was more like Hil vs Construction Season. More on that later.
This past Sunday I went to my first Chicago Red Stars soccer game in Naperville. For those not in the know the women’s pro soccer league folded this spring after three seasons. Well, it was in zombie “suspended” mode but most knew the likely outcome. A victim of a poor economy, bad business model, and an internal lawsuit. Take your pick. She’s dead, Jim.
Out of the ashes of that failure the two preexisting semi-pro leagues have gotten more notice. I’ve picked two teams to follow. Hope Solo’s Seattle Sounders Women of the w-league and Lori Chalupny’s Chicago Red Stars who play in the WPSL-Elite. I can only watch the Sounders play on livestream, but the Red Stars aren’t that far away so I thought I’d catch a game. It helps that favorites Chalupny and soon to return from France Ella Masar play for them.
First off, I’d like to log a complaint against the construction season. I was told to avoid 88 because it was down to one lane and a mess (When isn’t it a mess? I think it has been under construction my entire life!) and I heard rumblings of 64 being under construction too but between the two I’d rather not pay tolls for a bad road, y’know? So I took 64…and hit a long detour where I discovered a huge horse stable out in the middle of nowhere (I cannot stress how huge or how nowhere it was.) and a whole lot of roads I was not familiar with. After getting off on the wrong foot there we spent hours driving. Wish I were kidding. Let’s just say getting to North Central would be a breeze if 88 were clear. Maybe I’ll try 88 next time.
Once we finally reached the college it was easy enough getting around. Parking was free and wherever as it was a Sunday. You can bring your own snacks. Which is great since I am gluten free. I had preordered preferred seating though at this venue it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. They are playing in a few different locations since their normal field is being resurfaced. It was at the football field. With all of the colleges with soccer specific fields (cough-Wheaton-cough) I’m not sure why they have to play with football and lacrosse lines at a place like this. Nothing puts me off more than lines going everywhere. Goes back to my volleyball days and perhaps dyslexia and being in design. I hate clutter.
The teams were evenly matched. Both the Red Stars and Boston Breakers started the game undefeated though the Breakers had more games in. The Breakers had just played Indiana as well so they were dealing with travel and tired legs. Full write up of the game can be found at their site. I’d say the Red Stars were the aggressor throughout and had many opportunities that could have ended better. Boston cracked one off the woodwork, but otherwise were handled well by our defense. The 1-0 final score felt right.
I had a good time doing commentary for my plus one but perhaps had a better time listening into what everyone around me was talking about. I’m not very used to being around “the fandom” outside of the internet so it was like being in an open chat. Some guys were talking league gossip so I was listening in of course. Ready to drop some knowledge on anyone saying anything bad about Hope.
Fortunately, while it didn’t sound like they were big fans of hers at least they spoke well of the Sounders and the fan response in Seattle and even admitted Hope is the number one goalkeeper and deserves the attention. I guess I’ll let them live another day. They were even talking about some of the lesser known players on the Sounders. I wanted to jump in as I do know a lot about that stuff, but it didn’t seem appropriate. I was sporting a bad gluten rash and wasn’t up for a meet and greet to be honest. I can deal with being rashed in public as long as I feel like I am blending and and being ignored. I’m sure people were listening in on me too since I was yappy the whole time. On that count I probably sounded like “Hope, blah blah blah blah (breath) Hope blah blah blah.” Nah. I wasn’t that bad I don’t think. :)
I took pictures but my camera is crap and the “Pets and Kids” setting only managed so well. Leave that to the professionals or at least don’t bother taking pictures of the far side. Isn’t going to turn out anyway. We ended up not staying for autographs and I didn’t see any scarves for sale so I came out of it with my wallet intact. I didn’t care to fight through the kiddos and it had turned into a long day and we still had to find our way back home. Final verdict? I’d like to go again, but construction really was a pain if you are coming in from the west. I’ll probably try to make one more game when Masar is back from France/papers have cleared. Maaaybe take 88.