I watched the U.S. Open Cup final last night on a stream that had neither scoreboard graphics nor commentary. The game was televised, but only by GolTV; I’ve lamented the Open Cup’s lack of television coverage before. The Sounders beat the Union and won their fourth cup in six years, with many people watching the same illegal stream. For a lot of us, it had been a while.
“The game floats on an ocean of nostalgia, sentimentality, tradition and myth in which its historicity is constantly invoked and celebrated.” – David Winner, Those Feet
There are very few soccer stadiums in this country that have serious history. The vast majority of MLS teams play in stadiums built since the league emerged in the late 1990s. Both venues hosted teams in the original NASL. Providence Park was the site of Pele’s last official game, and RFK has hosted the USMNT more often than any other stadium.
England, as described by Winner above, has more history than it knows what to do with. Several clubs still play in the same stadiums as they did in the 19th century. Anfield, White Hart Lane, St. James’ Park: these are historic venues where generations of fans have come to support their teams. Fathers take their sons to the same ground their fathers took them to. And of course they look vastly different now, filled with seats instead of terraces, luxury boxes inserted where possible, but the ghosts of years past, and the stories are still there. But just as DC United want out of RFK, so too do English clubs pine for new stadiums.