USA World Cup Qualifying Match, Snow Bowl

On Friday, we went to the USA mens World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Denver, with our friends Laura and Jared and Ronnie who came down from Montana for the weekend. When we first got the tickets, I had visions of enjoying a relaxing warm Spring night at the soccer park. Well, as it got closer and closer to Match day, I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to happen, as the venue was in the direct path of a big Spring storm. We geared up anyways and had fun grilling some hamburgers before the game. Shortly before the game started, the storm rolled in, complete with blowing wind, snow, and cold. As the game went on, the weather just kept on declining toward blizzard conditions. Despite this, it was still a sell-out and everyone stood the whole game. It made for a pretty wild atmosphere and I think there was a lot of adrenaline in the stadium keeping players and fans going. The US ended up wining 1 nil, although now Costa Rica is protesting the game. The grounds crewed tried their hardest to keep the sidelines and goal lines cleared during the game, but they could have used a lot more equipment. It was pretty hard to keep up.

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At the start of the game, conditions were still somewhat “reasonable” and both teams looked primed to play.

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The shoveling crews were pretty entertaining to watch. During one episode, while they were clearing the goal lines, the ball direction quickly flipped causing them to bail and run like mad to get off the field and out the way. The result was a big pile of snow left in the goalies way. After mustering up the courage a little while later, they cleaned it up with a big applause from the crowd.

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In the 2nd half, the snow really hampered ball movement, and it looked like they were playing on sand. At the end of the game one US player had to help push a worker off the field because he was pushing so much snow he could barely move. That also brought a nice applause from the crowd. I guess the players signed some shovels for the workers after the game.

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It was neat to see the players stay on the field a few minutes longer after the game and show appreciation for the fans. I was impressed too that the fans still showed up in force and didn’t let up intensity the whole game.

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