Back inside, you wipe the sleep from your eyes and pull your Alamo FC jersey over your head. A quick look in the mirror confirms that you are, in fact, awake. You walk out of your building and grab a coffee from the shop on the corner.
Drinking in the first sip of invigorating morning caffeine, and burning your tongue in the process, you emerge back onto the pavement just in time to catch the River North Streetcar that climbs up Broadway. You hop on, give “the nod” to the dozen or so others in their Alamo FC garb and allow the morning breeze to further awaken your senses.
Once at your stop, you and the other supporters exit the streetcar and join the throngs of folks just like you making their way toward the pubs lining the northern edge of the Museum Reach of the Riverwalk. There is an electricity in the air as you find yourself knee-deep in the pulsing pre-match festivities.
Supporters from The Upper Room and Puro 33 gather at Vito’s Sports Bar, where the michelada flows and the smell of chorizo soaks the air. You and the Crocketteers gather in your traditional spot, filling the old tavern with singing, shouting, and Freetail brews. Bands play as the supporters prepare to give a full 90 minutes to the home side just a short walk away at Alamo Stadium.
Match-time approaches and you begin the trek with the other supporters towards the stadium. The spirit of revelry is thick amongst the group. You smile as some around you wave scarves in the Texas sun, blow on parade horns, and generally swim in the pool of anticipation that is an old-world match-day. You think to yourself, “This is why I love soccer. This is what I waited so long for…”
Alamo Stadium is particularly lively this afternoon, the glorious old bones of the stadium made new with the fresh renovation. ABC is here to televise the MLS Match of the Week. All eyes (and cameras) are trained on Thierry Henry, as he warms up in his first San Antonio appearance as a member of Red Bull New York.
You slide into Row 6 and greet the familiar faces around you as the chants of your fellow Alamo FC supporters echo off of the limestone walls of the historic venue. An overflow crowd of 26,000 buzzes while the teams take to the pitch, flashbulbs popping away. You look around and drink in the atmosphere, the revelry, the beautiful game. What a moment for San Antonio…
The referee’s whistle blows, the ball is played in. You take a deep breath and survey the surreal scene one last time before throwing yourself fully into the match. This is real. The MLS is home in San Antonio.
Reminder: MLS Watch Party at Freetail Brewing Co. tonight May 13, 2010 8:00 PM