Match Day: NY Greek American Atlas vs. Stal Mielec NY

Match Day: NY Greek American Atlas vs. Stal Mielec NY

The evening of Sunday, March 15th will always hold a special place in my heart.  No, not because of some MLS (single entity) game that I witnessed at Yankee Stadium, but because I finally made it to the Met Oval in Maspeth, Queens, New York.  The journey was arduous and I defied death throughout, but it was all worth it to experience this historic pitch.

I had spent all weekend in New York City.  I woke up way too early on Saturday and made the four hour drive into Brooklyn with my -super hot, witty, and intelligent girlfriend, Emily.  (She edited this, although it’s true.)  We pushed our bodies to the limit throughout the day and evening, consuming enough liquor to kill three steeds.  Sunday was challenging, to say the least, but there was no way I could let the opportunity to watch the Greek Americans play at the Met Oval slip away.  After spending the day watching MLS with lackluster NYCFC fans, it was time to refocus all of my dwindling energy on a little non league soccer in the US of A.

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The drive through Maspeth was desolate and dark.  We raced through a lengthy stretch of industrial roadway and I was overcome with the feeling that we might be the last creatures on earth. But nothing was to stop us now – we had come so far.  Eventually, we broke free from the warehouses, potholes and chain link fences and I could see a glimmer of light off in the distance–and I knew, I had finally made it.  Steve Bayley always said his first time at the Met was similar to the first time he kissed a woman… and damn it, it was even better than that.  [Check out Steve’s first time at the Met, here.]

Maybe I exaggerated just a little bit, but as I drove up to the field I was astonished.  In the middle of a residential neighborhood, surrounded by industrial waste, in the midst of New York City was this perfectly lit soccer field overlooking the Manhattan skyline.  A soccer field in the heart of New York City of this caliber is surely something special.  Constructed by German and Hungarian immigrants in 1925, the Metropolitan Oval was has been host to thousands of games throughout its history.  Tonight I would witness another battle as the historic New York Greek Americans took on Stal Mielec NY, a Polish side.

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The Greeks, the defending USASA 2014 Amateur National Champions, proved to be the dominant side over Stal Mielec, who unfortunately holds the crown for the worst record in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League this year.  [I saw the Greeks in Region 1 qualification last year, check out the write up.]Emily and I braved the cold throughout the first half, which was surprisingly even, then darted into our rental car to warm up.  The majority of support actually watched the game from their vehicles, pulling up on the edge of a hill overlooking the field.  I was not able to secure an official attendance count, but I did count 24 vehicles in the junk yard-esque parking lot.

The second half belonged to the Hellenic side as well, who thrashed Mielec with four goals in the second half.  The Greek Americans are hoping to defend their USASA Amateur National Championship again this year, against a solid Massachusetts side, the Battery Park Gunners of the Bay State Soccer League, on April 19th.  The Greeks will have a busy spring; they are also slated to participate in the 102nd US Open Cup.

The final whistle eventually blew, with a solid Greek triumph of 5-2 over Stal Mielec.  My first experience with the Met Oval was a special one, and I am already looking forward to my return.  I strongly urge all soccer fans to make the pilgrimage to this historic pitch, and pack the stands with supporters and fans alike.

Cold, exhausted, and content I began my long journey home.

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