Like all Red Bulls fans, I have excellent taste in sporting events and a discerning eye for value. So when I received an e-mail offer for free tickets to the USL Saturday afternoon match against Toronto II at Red Bull Arena, I jumped at the chance to attend a game for the reasonable price of no dollars.
But how does a Red Bulls II match stack up to a full-fledged Red Bulls I match? The answer is: very, very well. Because while Red Bulls I matches have the charms of top-level soccer, a raucous stadium, and Dax McCarty's luminous mane of hair shimmering like a dazzling fire opal from the midfield, the Red Bulls II experience has something a packed stadium of fans cannot provide: Everyone feels like a VIP.
To start, there is ample room for parking available at the arena! (Not pictured: Yet more parking space.)
Short lines into the stadium, leaving more time to get to know your friendly Gate B frisker. Ah, sweet, sweet human contact!
Beautiful front-row seating. You're much closer to the action and thus far better equipped to call the game than this ref was. (CONNOR LADE WAS FOULED, YOU MONSTER.)
Cup holders at your seat! It's an invention which hasn't reached the second deck yet, but maybe, someday the exorbitant cost of plastic will go down and we can afford this luxury for all sections.
Some of the usual Red Bull Arena concessions fare is available for purchase, but because there are shorter lines, the experience is moderately less soul-sucking than normal! However, none of the food stands were open, so nacho fans were left disappointed and less fat.
Everybody in the stadium sits together and can mingle with each other. (Pictured here: A pigeon discusses promotion/relegation with some human fans.)
So overall, a fantastic experience. Low ticket prices, great seats, same up-tempo playing style: What more could you ask for? Besides nachos, of course. But you'll see me there at next week's match against Wilmington Hammerheads FC. And be sure to bring your own nachos!
(I'm now being told that you should not -- I repeat DO NOT -- bring your own nachos.)
(All photos courtesy of JasonRBNY.)