Saturday was an embarrassing display for the team on field, and I am not going to try to justify the performance. Our fans came down in droves to watch a good soccer match, but were left disappointed not because of a loss, but because we quite frankly shit the bed and gave up five goals.
Some people will try to blame it on the red card or the refs, but that’s not the reason we lost. We arguably played better after the red card than before it. We were on our heels for the first 36 minutes of the game, and I’m surprised we didn’t give up more goals in the that time. We didn’t just have 0 shots on goal in the first half, we had 0 shots in the first half. For whatever reason, the team on the field were not ready to play. Was it nerves about Tuesday? Was it a mixture of new players not working well together? You’ll have to ask them. That’s all I’ll say about the on-field performance.
Off the field, there were other “issues”. To get a grasp of what happened, let’s go back to July 15, to the last Dirty River Derby match at Slugger Field.
Leading Into the Match
In that matchup, we came away with a 3-2 victory over LCFC (which would have been 3-1 if not for an own goal in the closing minutes). The roles were very much reversed on the field. We, as fans, definitely came in and ruffled some feathers off the field as well during that match. A couple of fans brought in smoke that was ignited after our first goal. Regardless of how you feel about the prohibition of smoke for visiting supporters, FCC has the same restriction at Nippert Stadium, and our team does expect people to follow that. The July 15 match immediately followed the matches against the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire in the US Open Cup. In these two matches, visiting supporters lit off smoke during the match (despite not actually scoring any goals). There may have been a desire by some fans to do the same thing they did, and light off smoke at a big game (ie. Louisville). We didn’t organize this as an SG, and discourage anyone from using smoke when not explicitly permitted.
After the July match, the two front offices had a phone call and discussed rules for the next match. Despite having no issues in the stands between supporters of opposing teams (that we have been made aware of, at least), they imposed new rules on us. They required us to enter the northwest gate (left field) and not enter the main gate like we had done at all previous games so that we wouldn’t pass the home supporters. They required a representative from FCC to come to the game and watch us, or something. Not sure exactly what he was supposed to be doing, but they required that. They wanted to make sure we didn’t chant anything that had swearing. And they, understandably reiterated the smoke policy.
We followed all of the rules they stated for us. We didn’t bring smoke into the game and made sure everyone was aware that smoke was not allowed. We entered the correct entrance. We even changed a word in one of our songs so we wouldn’t say “shit” and instead said “poo”.
After an unintentionally hilarious tweet by one of the LCFC fans complaining about how we are “going overboard” because a few streamers ended up on the warning track in front of our section, we decided to double down on streamers – after all, we were never told not to bring streamers. The FCC fans started calling the event from July streamergate, and supporter groups decided to unleash as many streamers as possible into the air at kickoff for the August 12th match as a funny nod to the overreaction. We handed out an obscene number of streamers while tailgating to launch into the air at kickoff.
Apparently the LCFC front office decided to try to ban streamers a couple of hours before the match, but the message was not communicated to us. This is all from word of mouth, and they never tried to reach out to us directly. Streamers had been handed out and tossed before almost anyone knew the front office had said anything.