The U.S. National Team defeated Turkey on Sunday at Red Bull Arena, and while the victory was impressive for the Americans on some levels, it was the performance by the American fans at the stadium that really drew plenty of deserved praise.
The weekend in the New York City area was filled with events tied in with the U.S. team’s visit to the area, and fans from all across the Northeast converged on Red Bull Arena to cheer on their team in person for the last time before the World Cup.
I spoke with fans before Sunday’s match to get a sense of how they feel about the team heading into the World Cup. As you might expect, there were some comments about Landon Donovan’s exclusion, but more excitement about the team and its prospects of doing well at the World Cup. Players such as Julian Green and Aron Johannsson have lots of fans excited to see them on the world’s biggest stage, while Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey are the players many fans believe will be the keys to a strong World Cup showing.
The U.S. team next travels to Jacksonville to take on Nigeria in the final match of the World Cup send-off series, against Nigeria. The Nigerians are the only World Cup opponent the U.S. will face before heading to Brazil, and should provide the toughest test of the tour.
The city of Jacksonville will be hosting its second U.S. game in two years, having provided an excellent atmosphere for a 5-1 U.S. victory against Scotland on May 26, 2012. The fan turnout should be even greater considering the building buzz for the World Cup.
While Jacksonville should be able to provide an excellent atmosphere, fans in Florida will have to step it up to top the performance pulled off by fans at Red Bull Arena last Sunday.