If you would have asked MLS Commissioner Don Garber in 2005 that he’d have one team moving from one “old” soccer stadium to a brand new one and that in another stadium a team would have Matthew McConaughey banging a drum as the top supporter and co-owner, he’d given his left arm for that kind of notoriety.
Well one day it came to pass, and Major League Soccer, a league that in 2001 was on the verge of closing its doors for good, added another impressive milestone to its short but incredible history of 26 years.
Week 8 of the 2021 season will go down in history for many reasons and Austin FC and the Columbus Crew were the standouts, while Inter Miami continues to fall flat on yet another tough week. Here is the best from Week 8 in MLS.
Out with the old in with the new for the Columbus Crew
In 1999 the Columbus Crew became the first team in MLS history to build and open a soccer specific stadium made exclusively for soccer. That blueprint has been what the league has used until this day to generate revenue and leave its footprint in the communities where teams are popping up. The game? What else? A Crew win, the defending champions made short work of the ailing Chicago Fire with a 2-0 victory with two goals from Gyasi Zardes. Ironically, the Crew close Crew Stadium with the same result they opened it with, a 2-0 win.
2-0 holds a special meaning in Crew Stadium, it is where the United States began its 2001- 2015 supremacy over Mexico. The legacy of the Crew will go without question, they became the first official team of MLS in 1994, and have gone on to win two MLS Cups, and narrowly survived being relocated by a fan movement that has revitalized the franchise. Now the Crew will soon open their second stadium made just for them, not bad for a team from an unknown market. Now if they can just get a decent logo!
Austin FC finally play a home game
Was there a better image than this in week 8? Matthew McConaughey in a bright green suit banging on a drum. Austin FC is going through the growing pains of an expansion franchise, still the result, a 0-0 draw with the often-shaky San Jose Earthquakes, was a positive one. The team is more than in the fight in the Western Conference standings.
Austin FC needs to get their 4-3-3 a bit in order, as the team gets to know each other the club is hoping that possession style turns into wins and goals. For now, the club has shown flashes of what it could be but often are caught giving the ball away. Nonetheless Q2 Stadium is going to be one of the best places to be in MLS!
Inter Miami: Can it get any worse?
Inter Miami playing bad is nothing new. What was new was the absence of their most expensive player, Gonzalo Higuain, the club said, “fitness issues”, unofficially the Argentine strikers’ recent comments about “playing with a cigar in his mouth” did not sit well. MLS is 26 years old, NYCFC recently signed a Brazilian youth international for $12 million, the league is beyond these ridiculous statements anymore.
On the field, Inter Miami was dreadful, being outplayed by a DC United side that could have won the game 2-0 or 3-0. Phil Neville has yet to find any answers after a decent start for Inter Miami. The team has now hit rock bottom and need to get it together and fast.