So that’s it then, the announcement we all knew was coming has been made official. Instead of looking east towards the soccer hotbeds of Harrisburg and Wilmington, we instead turn our attention in the same manner of Lewis and Clark and look forward to the Pacific ocean.
What exactly does that entail? For us fans it will mean a more mixed bag I think, less 6pm kick offs and more waiting up until 9pm for California kick offs. However, there is potential for more away trips and frankly, nicer destinations.
I still think we’ll keep the away trip with Louisville, and Cincinnati will be added to the mix as another “regional rivalry”. Until the schedule is released I can’t be sure but I think the extra games in the schedule will again maintain our three closest teams in Swope Park Rangers Sporting Kansas City Wizards, Louisville and Cincinatti who are going to get 40,000 average attendance.
Also Oklahoma will be visited again as we defend our Oklahoma state championship which we won in fantastic style last year. So there is six (and maybe more) potential away trips right off the bat, (SPR x2, Louisville, Cincy, Tulsa, OKC Energy)
Also, I imagine there will be more away trips which combine multiple games, more Wednesday / Saturday combinations. You have to think that OC Blues and Los Dos will be a double game trip, just as a Vancouver / Portland / Seattle trip will be played with the least amount travel costs incurred.
Losing the away trip to Charleston, which was a fantastic destination will be more than made up for by western locations. I can look at the schedule and say to my wife, “Hey honey, fancy a weekend in the mountains and catch the Colorado Springs game?” It is a lot more appealing that saying, “Hey honey, we are away at Bethlehem this weekend, fancy a trip to Allentown PA?” So with that, let’s run down the teams we’ll face with a handy dandy guide to the western conference.
This time last year, I was initially impressed and a little envious of LFR members in the USL group who spoke from experience of having been in the league and knew the ropes. Their supporters group seemed to have their heads on right and were moving to a more sustainable ground for last season. However, let’s be honest also, if we have a second season like theirs then it will by ugly here. They were complete basketcase on the field and off it. They took so long to release their kit, that the USL got tired of waiting and just released it for them. I like their fans and their setup somewhat, but on the field they were a mess.
Flooded [I wrote this in December…. karma eh?]
Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Steve Trittschuh put together a hell of a team. Hopefully they will have a supporters group and plenty of fans to appreciate it this year. I quite enjoyed watching the Switchbacks last year (on mute obviously because the announcer spoke at 300 words a second) As you never knew what you were going to get… Be it blizzard or monsoon, or a swamp for a pitch. Either way Luke Vercollone was the standout guy at mid thirties and still scored 14 goals from attacking midfield. What we could have done with a producer like that. The only team from the west that beat us last year.
League runners up. Can’t say I watched much of their games except the last one.
Portland Timbers 2, Seattle 2, Vancouver 2, Real Monarchs.
Whatever. Real Monarchs played spoiler at the end and Seattle 2 won their last match to stop Tulsa having a post season. However I thought we were honestly better than all these teams last season.
Orange County Blues
Fantastic achievement last season to win the western conference regular season. I watched a few OCB games (seemed like I was only one, both online and at stadium) Everything seemed “on a shoestring budget” and I was impressed with what they did because of it and having the goliath Galaxy in their market. Denzel Slager for me was their main man last season and could cane a ball in from 30 yards at will it seemed. They still get changed in tents?
Shaun, Landon and I had fun down there for the friendly. I daresay Derek and family did too when we won 2 weeks later. They improved a lot as the season went on, mainly because of Chad Bond obviously, we’ll tell them how well he’s doing. Good little supporters group, good fans. Team is wank and should never got a sniff of the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Energy
I don’t suppose we could get one of those Danni Konig fellas? Any team that almost wins the league after you’ve taken 4 points off them has to leave us optimistic for the upcoming season.
Oh aren’t they great? aren’t they special? You can’t do anything good in the eyes of the league without one of their smug fans chirping up “But what about Sacramento? we get 11,000 fans”
They’re #BuiltForMLS don’t you know?
Rio Grand Valley
I don’t know much about them, other than a mass Louligan away trip down to Mexico, and a Hunger Games style “hope everyone makes it back over the border for the game” sounds so much fun.
They’re going to get MLS next week.
Swope Park Rangers
We just have to beat these rubes. Shush Zusi……. ssshhhhhhhhhhhh