The Supporters’ Shield goes to the team that finishes the MLS season with the most points. This year that team is the San Jose Earthquakes. They did enough to lay claim to the trophy after matching the L.A. Galaxy’s two goals on Saturday in San Jose. The draw in combination with Sporting Kansas City’s draw with the New York Red Bulls clinched the Supporters’ Shield for the Quakes, but not without incident.
A fight broke out in the stands during the game which led to the arrests of seven fans. As the police attempted to ease the fighting they were hit with beer and other thrown objects, including smoke bombs. There were also reports of physical assault on police officers, but it’s unclear to what extent. It all sounds fairly serious and makes it seem as if this game had more meaning to the supporters than it did the players.
The Galaxy know their playoff spot is in the bag, and San Jose are obviously set for the playoffs and know the Supporters’ Shield is basically meaningless hardware. The MLS has attempted to give it more weight in recent years by making it an automatic qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions League. Of course the CCL is a tournament that yields very few fans and very little money and has MLS teams continually brush it aside in favor of league play. At least now the Supporters’ Shield adds slightly more clout than a number one seed in the playoffs, but still lacks the incentive teams apparently need to fight for that top spot in the league.
In Saturday’s game the players from both teams must have been rolling their eyes as the fight broke out in the stands shortly after the halftime break. They were surely thinking, “Really, they are fighting over us? We aren’t even fighting on the field.” Robbie Keane actually thought the game was a friendly.
One contingent of hard-core Galaxy fans reportedly in the midst of Saturday’s violence are conveniently called The Riot Squad. There was also another fan club allegedly involved that call themselves the Angel City Brigade. Clearly, they gave far too much credence to their overly extreme names as they cheered, and fought, literally, for a team named after the stars.
Check out the video of the aftermath. It’s actually quite anticlimactic. Seriously, the cops were worried about these hipsters?
Wait until the end of the video as a few fans lazily trickle out of the stadium. My 91-year-old grandfather could have taken down these hooligans. The term hooligans in this case is a sarcastic characterization.
(Sorry, the video would not embed, but come right back after you view it with the link below)
Is this the state of MLS fans in the U.S.? No wonder there is an issue with soccer catching on with mainstream sports fans in America.
The Riot Squad, and maybe U.S. soccer fans in general seem to be overcompensating for something. Not only with the names of their fan clubs, but with extremity of their actions, especially in comparison to their appearance, and the level of action on the field. Something doesn’t match up here.
It seems as if they have some need to add more drama to the game because they don’t appreciate the game of soccer for what it is, at least what it is in the MLS. They need a chant, or a fight, or bongo drums, or whatever other type of stimulation they can inject into an MLS game to make it interesting. In some ways, I don’t blame them.