Lowell United 1 Lowell Lusitanos 0 4/14/13

Lowell United 1 Lowell Lusitanos 0 4/14/13

Big Crowd on hand Sunday night in Lawrence

Game 41 (Game 9 Season 2)

Lowell United                1
Lowell Lusitanos           0

USASA (MSSL) (5th Division)
4/14/13 7:00 PM
Lawrence Veterans Memorial Stadium,  Lawrence, MA
Attendance:  61

I had a feeling this was going to be a game worth checking out.  Local intra-city derby, two teams very familiar with each other, red vs. blue, etc.  I had spent some time in my formative years taking part in various semi-clandestine activities around Lawrence, like my time with Innovage selling knife sets and coloring books on the street, and my ill fated attempt at cutting a rap demo with these guys, having my car towed and impounded for some reason I cant remember right now, and selling advertising to nightclubs when I was working at Jamn, so I am familiar with the vibe of the city.  That being said, it was still a little bit of a shock when a homeless dude coming out of a Subway before the game threatened me.  I’m walking out of the door toward my car and I hear a voice off to my left.  “You got a problem with me?”  “Fu***** Fa****!”  I’m just like “What the hell did I do?” in my head, but I didn’t say anything and just kept walking, and this crazy guy starts walking toward me from behind, all the time he’s yelling “Fu***** P****, I’ll f*** you up and I got AIDS!”  I got to my car and got in before he got closer than maybe 10-15 feet, but it certainly wasn’t the start to the night I was looking for!

It was an evenly matched affair

This parking lot is like right next to the stadium, so now I’m hoping this dude doesn’t spot me pulling in and break into my car, so I did a big loop around the block before parking.  As I pulled into the lot I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was pretty packed.  I had seen that afternoon on Lowell United’s Facebook page a plea for fans to come out, and I knew from last years experience watching the Lusitanos that they had a little fanbase, but I definitely wasn’t expecting a crowd to rival the Taunton derby, but that’s exactly what we got.  I counted 61 fans just before halftime, and they certainly did their part to contribute to the atmosphere.  The large stadium detracted a little from the effectiveness of the crowd, and the football lined fieldturf cant compete with Shores Street, but overall, this was definitely in the top 5 of USASA games that I have been to.  We’re off to a great start in 2013 crowd wise, with the US Open Cup game, and now this, hopefully it’s a preview of more to come.   Both coaches are known for working the officials and they didn’t let up the whole game.  I recognized the official, he does most of the big matches, it’s the guy who walks around in the USA jacket.

View from the top

The best line came from one of the Lusitanos supporters when the United coach was complaining about a foul he shouted “You can’t pay off the official, we already bought him!”  This was greeted with much appreciation on all sides, a sign of the good natured rivalry.  While the United coach kept his complaints directed toward the field, the Lusitanos coach would complain to anyone who made eye contact with him, playing or not.  This guy is pacing all up and down the sidelines, working the refs, working the opposing coaches, working the spectators, giving some player who was in the crowd grief for choosing another team over Lusitanos, promising him a full 90 minute run out every week.  It was all very entertaining and definitely added to my enjoyment.  The stadium was right across the street form a Dunkin’s which was very convenient given the temperature had dipped to the low 40’s by kick-off.  Spectators would take turns making coffee runs, bringing back full trays for their friends.  This all added to the positive community vibe.  Some people in the stands had brought blankets as well and were huddled up for warmth.   Both clubs receive tremendous support in the local community, and I was happy to see that Lusitanos even had a local jersey sponsor on the front.

Even more perfect, in true Bad News Bears like fashion, it was a liquor store.  When you find yourself in the metropolitan Lowell/Lawrence area pleasevisit Primos Liquors for all your alcoholic beverage needs.  It is also worth noting that Lowell has amysterious new 4th Division NPSL team this year called the Lowell Rapids.  They are listed on the NPSL website, but do not have their own website yet, and the only real world info I have seen about them was a joint tryout they held in conjunction with Mass United.

The game kicked off and it was apparent early on that both teams were pretty evenly matched and it would prove to be a cagey affair.  United were more disciplined tactically as a team, spacing wise, but Lusitanos played with great individual flair.  I found myself rooting for Lusitanos from the jump, and the game appeared headed for a 0-0 draw until United slammed home a loose ball in the box off a corner around the 80th minute.  I can’t say enough what a positive experience it was on the whole, but I do have a few questions.  Why did these two Lowell teams play in Lawrence?  and, Why not schedule this game later in the spring after it warms up a bit?  It seemed that the impact of these clubs is even greater than the 60 some odd who were in attendance tonight, and I bet if the match were in 60 or 70 degree weather in June, you might get 100 people out.  The rematch is scheduled for Sunday August 4th at 10:00 AM.

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