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Aug 292013

First things first, below are the links to everything that has been officially published…

The Original Massive Report Post

American Outlaws Response

Massive Report Response To American Outlaws Response

Okay good…

I moved to Columbus when I was in 5th grade and lived there until January 2011. I was at the USA-Mexico game in ’05 in the middle of the supporters section. I have not met any of the Massive Report guys in person. I have no personal connection to any of them.

So now you know exactly where I’m coming from.

I am completely and utterly disappointed at the timing of this whole thing. We’re a little less than two weeks from the USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier that will take place at Columbus Crew Stadium. This will be the fourth consecutive World Cup qualifying cycle that features the USA-Mexico fixture in Columbus. For those who may not be aware, the score of each of the three previous games was 2-0; hence the term “Dos A Cero” that gets thrown around.

This year the guys at Massive Report and the rest of the Columbus faithful have gone all out for a special tifo display for September’s showdown. The official hashtag being thrown around is “#tifosweat”. They’ve kept everything under wraps so far, but their enthusiasm has been utterly contagious and it has made me borderline depressed that I no longer Columbus home.

But I still identify with the community there as I was a permanent resident. That’s what makes this whole situation even more depressing than missing out on “#tifosweat”. There’s a lot of anti-Seattle sentiment around the American soccer community these days and much of it has to do with the attention the Seattle Sounders and their large home crowds get from those who follow the sport in the US. Seattle recently hosted a World Cup qualifier for the first time since the Sounders joined MLS and put on a very impressive show of support. This has led many people to believe this could potentially be the last time Columbus is afforded the opportunity to host the USA’s greatest rival in a World Cup qualifier. So you can understand why the Columbus representatives on the conference call that took place earlier this week would be defensive towards representatives from Seattle being on the call.

I’ll let you choose whom you choose to believe as to what transpired on the call. Both sides have confirmed there was a call, but that’s where the agreement stops. Regardless of what really transpired, I have to say that I’m incredibly bummed by the way this entire fiasco has painted Columbus in a negative light; mostly because the negative backlash is somewhat justified. As the Columbus representatives on the conference call, the Massive Report guys (or at least, the ones on the call itself) have spoken out for the greater Columbus community of US Soccer supporters; whether it was their intention to do so or not. The tone of Matt Goshert’s post smacks of desperation and I can’t say I blame him given the uncertainty of Columbus’s future as the unofficial home for the US Men’s National Team.

He states: “After witnessing the disorganized crowd support for the U.S. Men’s National Team match in Salt Lake City, American Outlaws leadership and the Seattle chapter collaborated and decided to use Seattle-based capos for every USMNT match no matter what city it’s being played in. This was the reason American Outlaws Seattle was on the call.”

The national leadership for American Outlaws responded with the following: “AO Seattle is not being tasked to take over the in-stadium experience for this or any future USMNT games outside Seattle. A Seattle takeover of tifo and singing at all USMNT games has never been the plan or intention and any reports of such are false.”

So we have Columbus accusing the national leadership of favoring Seattle and the national leadership denying such claims. Unfortunately, this means we ultimately have to until the game itself on September 10 (and the next home USMNT game after that) to find out if in fact the only capos at the game(s) are from Seattle; and we may not even get proof if that is case. All of this distracts from the game itself and what is sure to be an awesome tifo display. Both sides are responsible for such a distraction.

Not only that but, as I mentioned earlier, this whole situation has painted Columbus in a negative light. Many people outside of Columbus are inclined to believe the statement from AO’s national leadership and it’s hard to blame them. Columbus has every reason to be paranoid and fearful of losing their only chance to showcase their passion for the US Men’s National Team on the biggest stage outside of the World Cup itself. But by singling out Seattle and excusing the national leadership (and even the US Soccer Federation itself; they had a rep on the call) of favoritism, the Columbus supporters on this call have played right into the hands of those who would claim that Columbus is simply jealous they cannot attract the same volume of supporters as Seattle.

But Columbus isn’t entirely to blame in this. The leadership at American Outlaws would have done well to trust in the Columbus leadership to pull off a smooth performance from the supporters on game day. I understand their concerns over the record number of “supporter sections”, but that’s no reason to deny Columbus the opportunity to show they are capable of handling such a large crowd. In fact, the conference call and its subsequent aftermath has already planted seeds of doubt in the minds of the leadership at the US Soccer Federation; not to mention the rest of the US Soccer supporter community.

The bottom line is this: the minute Massive Report made this a “Columbus vs. Seattle” issue, they lost a lot of credibility with the supporters from the rest of the country. And the minute US Soccer decided to host this call and bring a US Soccer Federation rep on board, they made the folks in charge of the federation think twice about giving this game to Columbus again in the future.

But worse than that is the fact that all parties involved in this have distracted us from the buildup towards what will be a fantastic game in which it’s very likely the US will have the opportunity to clinch their World Cup spot; just as they did when I was there in 2005. There’s still time to right the ship though and I sincerely hope both sides immediately drop the issue and focus their attention back on the game itself.



Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

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