It is probably too late to get a focused opinion or pertinent observation out of me, but this is me trying. As kickoff approaches, the game is the only thing that matters.
For all the road games I've witnessed firsthand for Philadelphia teams, I've never done so in New York or New Jersey. I am generally in awe of New York City's grandeur, sprawl, and history, but not as interested in bloody noses or any facial bruises.
Humor, sports and screaming: these are a few of my favorite things. And combining them all at once? Add in a rollercoaster and that's it for me.
I like the talk, but would not rather do the walk. My size, temperament and subtle balancing would serve me well in a fight, I am sure, but I am just soft; the adrenaline of the crunch is just too much. Given my propensity for smack-talking, my chatter would likely be short lived if I were to be marooned and surrounded by New Yakkers.
Away support is one of the aspects of world soccer culture that sets it apart, and one of the biggest attractions to the sport for me. Allowing all the traveling fans their own section generally enhances the atmosphere by a significant degree. If they're in your home building, you must keep them seen but unheard. If they're audible, then you're being shown up. And the ante of insults can be upped when its impact will be deflected on thousands instead of individuals.
The pack mentality and competition for ear-space on both sides becomes its own match, co-dependent with the one being played out on the field. Listening for the back and forth when watching a game on TV is intriguing for a newcomer.
Honestly, I couldn't ask for a better first experience on three fronts: away soccer match for our brand new Union, going into New York for a Philadelphia game, and the fortunate fact that the Red Bulls have failed to acquire hardware in any season of their existence. Talk about a perfect storm!
The fever has captured me, I must prepare the hatred.