When Europe's Best Soccer Team Comes to Fenway Park
BOSTON– Last Sunday, Liverpool FC played a friendly match against Sevilla, losing 2-1.
Liverpool, for those who aren't aware, won the Champions League this season, which is basically the best thing a club team can win. Seeing as Fenway Sports Group (aka John Henry) purchased Liverpool nine years ago, it makes sense to have them play in the home of the Red Sox. If you're thinking to yourself wait... how do you play soccer on a baseball field? Don't worry, you're not the only one. The field ends up looking strange and it's hard to argue that there's any truly good seats in the house, but they make it work.
I have to say, I was pretty blown away by the amount of fans I encountered during this day. I guess it makes sense that Liverpool would be Boston's soccer team, seeing as the John Henry owns them, but I never imagined it would be this far-reaching.
My day began taking the Red Line from Savin Hill. I ran into a full family waiting for the T, all in Liverpool jerseys. As I walked on the train, I saw another half a dozen. This was three hours before the game.
Walking towards Fenway in the hour before the match was wild. Hundreds of Liverpool jerseys, yes, but also so many others. Colombia jerseys, England jerseys, USA jerseys. What you have to understand about games like these is that anyone with any deep-seated love for soccer will come to watch them, even if they aren't a fan of either of the teams playing (myself included.) It's a strange phenomena that exists specifically in the United States.
This was proven, for better and for worse, during the match itself. If you've ever watched an English Premier League game on TV, one thing is unmissable: the noise. All across Europe, the chants and the noise are remarkable. However, during the course of the game on Sunday the loudest it ever got was some random organized clapping, a far cry from the songs belted out across the pond.
The game itself was, as most friendly matches (non-competitive games) are in the US: strange, disjointed games with flashes of brilliance. Liverpool played worse and deserved to lose the match, but that doesn't mean they're the worse team. They played many second-string players against a Sevilla side playing a much closer version of their starting team.
What's more important than the game is the 35,000 fans that nearly sold out Fenway. Yes, it was a pretty dull game, but getting that many people to show up for a meaningless soccer game in the heart of Boston can only bode well for the future of soccer in this city.