June 25, 2017
Hart Park Stadium, Wauwatosa, WI
NPSL Regular Season Match
Milwaukee Torrent 1, Detroit City FC 2
MILW Nemanja Medic 18′
DCFC Tyrone Mondi (PK) 28′
DCFC Shawn Lawson (Tyrone Mondi) 84′
When the season began, I viewed this and the FC Indiana match as possibly the only two matches I’d miss during the regular season. But not wanting to break my attendance streak of twenty-straight regular season (home & away) matches, I drove to Indiana, and was not disappointed. Drawing closer to this match – #25 in a row – I found it possible as an opportunity to make a weekend of leaving Saturday and staying the night in Champagne, Illinois, drive up to Milwaukee on Sunday for the match, then back down to Champagne for the night, then drive home Monday.
But then, there came the bus.
Keith and Cassandra Malcolmson organized an NGS bus trip for this match. With the team rolling on a five-game winning streak, we weren’t about to disembark from this ride of momentum. Though it did get us up rather early Sunday morning.
Yeah, at 4:30 AM, the enthusiasm is a bit reserved.
Brian, our bus driver, guided us into Wauwatosa in remarkable time. He said that this was a newer bus, making its second trip. Didn’t know a hyper-drive was included.
I had my laptop with me, which came in handy as some legal research was required. There was an issue regarding whether Milwaukee Torrent’s management or the stadium would have Northern Guard Supporters arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The City of Wauwatosa’s civil ordinance was overly broad, and someone had a contact with a lawyer from the ACLU in Wisconsin who was eager to defend us, should we need. This is the third time this season that the potential for issues with local law enforcement occurred. In Ann Arbor, there was a few security guards placed directly in front of our supporters. In Lafayette, there was the threat by the team owner to call the police because we were making noise at their soccer match. Now this. Yet our Rouge Rover leaders always make contact with our host’s management and/or supporters group to learn the rules and codes of conduct so that we can support our team, in our way, without crossing any lines.
With a lot of time to kill, we acquainted ourselves with the town. Some of us had brunch at Cafe Bavaria, some of us found a store that sold a soccer ball and found a field to play on, some kicked back and relaxed, and at least one of us added to his library by visiting the local book store. Colonel Hart’s Bar became our gathering place. We made such a positive impression (at least to their Sunday morning revenue) that they hung a Northern Guard Supporter scarf behind the bar.
Time for the march. Our location was convenient in that Hart Park Stadium was right across the street from the bar and bus. With forty-three bus passengers, plus the dozens of supporters that arrived on their own, we were a significant percentage of today’s attendance.
Nemanja Medic, who scored a really nice goal at Keyworth in our first match of the season, scored in the 18th minute, to give Milwaukee the lead. Ten minutes later, Derrick Otim was taken down in the box, to give us a penalty kick.
Minutes later, a cross was sent into the box, and the ball ended up in the back of the net. However, the sideline referee whistled offside, and after watching the video, I don’t see it because there’s a Milwaukee defender on the line.
The half ended tied at one. As the fifteen minutes ticked by, this local ran sprints along the track in front of our stands. We started cheering him on with each sprint. He was a local who did this every weekend, and wasn’t aware there was a soccer match scheduled for the field. Upon discovering we were from Detroit, he made a comment about being a Packers fan, but also liking the Red Wings. He left just before the second half began as a Northern Guard Supporter.
In the second half, City began to dominate the match, but couldn’t find the go-ahead goal they needed to keep the winning streak alive.
Enter Shawn Lawson.
Eleven minutes after his appearance on the field, Lawson tallies another game-winning goal.
This is City’s sixth straight victory, with four of them being on the road. I can understand the discomfort of opposing team management with our presence on their turf. Including this match, City’s all-time NPSL road record is 18 wins, 10 draws, and 9 losses. We’re loud. We’re vulgar. We have fun. But we boost their gate revenues, and win hearts and minds of their residents. After the match, I met a local couple who were at Colonel Hart’s when we filled the place. They were so intrigued by us, and were gifted a NGS scarf, that they decided to attend the match…on our side of the field. The half-time sprinter appreciated our cheering him on. Even the ball boys appreciated the songs and chants of support for our team.
I hope it is obvious that I enjoy being a part of this club and this culture. Of all the regular season matches I’ve attended, this one has been my favorite thus far. From the bus trip to spending the day mingling with others in this new town, to the match and the ride home, pre-dawn to after midnight, this captured everything that this club and culture is about.
And when I go,
And when I go,
Cremate me in rouge and gold,
And spread my ashes on the pitch
Of our home ground.