A snowy Sunday marked a day of celebration at TCF Bank Stadium, where Minnesota United FC made its home debut.
The MLS expansion club played its first home game amidst snowy conditions and cold temperatures, with the game time temperature reported at 19 degrees Fahrenheit. According to numbers from the MLS, the contest marked the coldest game in league history, standing out during a weekend in which five outdoor games were played in below-freezing temperatures.
While the conditions may not have been ideal for soccer, MLS commissioner Don Garber said that the league was prepared for United FC to host some chilly games. He also expressed his pleasure in the support from the more than 35,000 fans in attendance. More from ESPN FC:
“This is everything we imagined when we awarded the team here in Minnesota,” Garber told reporters on Sunday. “I had a sense we’d have a few cold, snowy days, and we had one in our inaugural match here.
“We heard there were 35,000 tickets sold, and we were actually prepared that not everyone would show up, but they did. People are hearty here in Minnesota.”
United FC could not pull out a victory, instead losing in a 6-1 contest against Atlanta United FC, the MLS’ other expansion club for 2017. Despite the cold temperatures and loss, the hometown fans were still more than willing to celebrate the game and its significance to soccer in Minnesota. More from The Star Tribune:
As spectators lined up to enter the stadium, parents Angela and Oscar Alvarado had a fan take a selfie of them with their 4-year-old son, Mateo, whose eyes were barely visible between his hat and scarf. Watching soccer is something the family does together, Angela Alvarado said.
“He wanted to go,” Angela Alvarado said of Mateo, who had hand-warmers in his mittens. “It’s going to be his first time cheering for his Minnesota team.”
“It means a lot,” said Abdirahman Sahal, a college student who attended with three friends. “We get to see professional players play the game we all love.”
The final reported attendance figure was 35,043. For the MLS, it marked the second consecutive weekend in which one of its expansion clubs debuted to strong fan support, as Atlanta drew 55,297 spectators for its home opener on March 5.
Image courtesy Minnesota United FC.