I wasn't in Red Bull Arena when Dax McCarty headed home the game winner in stoppage time. I wasn't even in the State of New Jersey. I was at home in Brooklyn, effectively tearing up my living room in celebration. I feel like I should be depressed for having missed what is probably the MLS game of the year in person....but I'm not. Some wins are just as sweet, no matter where you watch them.
8:12AM: I'm awake and almost certain the L train has been re-routed through my apartment and running through my living room right now. Turns out, it's just the fan operating at normal volume. In my current state, any noises are going to sound like a Napalm Death concert....only not as entertaining but just as scary. Suffice to say, I enjoyed my Friday night a bit too much. Today is going to be a tough one.
10:00AM: Still laying in bed and staring at the ceiling, regretting my life. My stomach isn't feeling so hot. I wonder out loud if it's the late night sushi or the even later night pizza. The fiancee pokes her head into the room and tells me it's neither. She tells me it's because our Red Bulls are playing Real Salt Lake tonight. The league leaders, and a damn good soccer team. Today just got tougher.
11:15AM: I finally decide to be an actual human being, so I get out of bed and take a shower. Feeling slightly more refreshed, I check the usual online suspects in the hopes of finding some news in regards to RSL's already depleated lineup. No such luck. The Gold Cup is the only help New York is gonna get. That coupled with the idea of eating breakfast makes my stomach do a cartwheel.
12:00PM: In some cruel twist of fate, I actually have to leave the apartment and enter the real world. It seems I've agreed to take part in the filming of a web series I helped to write. While on the train heading to the set, I start to grow increasingly concerned with my ability to stand in front of a camera the way I'm feeling. It's not the hangover giving me pause, but the memory of last week's match against Toronto FC and the overwhelming sense of dread leading up to the night's match against Salt Lake. Did I mention that today is pretty tough?
12:20PM: Some guy outside the Morgan Street Station notices my Red Bulls jersey and gives me a thumbs up. "Give'um hell tonight" he yells at me. Just as I open my mouth to reply, I hear the screeching of tires. As I look to the sound, I see a black Jetta fly through an intersection and t-bone a passing Corolla, causing it to lose control and crash right into a BMW parked outside of a small organic food store (aw, Brooklyn!) No one is injured but the owner of the BMW comes flying out of the store in a full rage. I take this all as a very negative sign in regards to the game tonight.
12:40PM: I get to the set and immediately take flak from my friends for choosing to wear my jersey. "I don't know if we can just have a big Red Bull logo in every shot," they say. I tell them I'm sorry but I just can't take it off. I must wear it until the game is over or we'll lose. They seem to realize just how serious I am and drop the subject completely. If they pushed any harder, I would have resorted to insulting Dr. Who and then the entire shoot would be tense and uncomfortable. My friends are nerds.
4:00PM: The shoot is done for now, but I'll need to return once the match is over. I don't look forward to it one bit. I'm talking about the match...not the shoot. The normal pre-game panic starts to settle in nicely while I'm on the train heading home. I'm sweating more than anyone should while sitting in an air conditioned train. I would feel embarrassed if not for the guy who just got on the train wearing a Red Bulls jersey of his own. He's just as sweaty as I am....and I'd recognize that look of fear anywhere. We acknowledge each other with a slight nod of the head and I'm suddenly reminded of that scene in Saving Private Ryan, just before they drop the doors on the Higgins boat. I may have a problem.
4:32PM: I'm back at home and relaxing on the couch, trying not to hyperventilate before getting back on the train for Harrison. The fiancee suggests that maybe we just watch the game from home today. She says we'll be cutting it too close to get back in time for my shoot later that night, but really she understands that I'm in no shape emotionally to endure the ride there and back again should we lose. It's the best idea I've ever heard and I'm eternally grateful.
7:10PM: The game starts. I crack open a 60 Minute IPA and tell my fiancee that you can't have good soccer unless you drink good beer. Did you know that if someone rolls their eyes hard enough, it actually makes a sound?
7:55PM: It's half time and my voice is almost gone. I wish I knew another language just so that I could curse at this ref in new, creative ways. I'd have some choice words for Fabian Espindola as well. PK goal or no, he just gives the ball away too easily.
2:00AM: I come to while walking back to my apartment from the shoot. I guess I decided against taking the train. I don't remember anything from the past five hours except for an overwhelming feeling of delirious bliss. There are flashes of events that come in bursts before my eyes, but nothing more. Loyd Sam drawing two defenders. A ball flying off of Brandon Barklage's foot and then a brilliant streak of something so white it's hardly comprehensible to the human brain. (I would later learn that it was just Dax McCarty running around with his shirt off.)
2:14AM: Just outside of my apartment, I see a man walk by wearing a Red Bulls t-shirt. "We gave'um hell tonight." I say to him. As he's about to open his mouth in response, we hear the screeching of tires. We both look but there's nothing to see. It was a pretty easy day.