“We’re going to miss them until they’re back in our stadium, that’s just a fact.” – LAFC Defender Tristan Blackmon
The “bubble” atmosphere that Major League Soccer was forced to create to host the MLS is Back Tournament was unique in almost every single way. From early morning kick offs to late night penalty kick shootouts in front of digitized fans watching on Zoom, it was a new experience for everyone associated with the games.
As LAFC returns to playing matches at the Banc of California Stadium on Aug. 22 against the Galaxy, one hopes a sense of normalcy will return as well. Except – The Banc, which is now known throughout the world for its raucous atmosphere and the incredible support from the 3252 will be empty. Due to the on-going global COVID-19 pandemic, the Black & Gold will be forced to play in another empty stadium.
“Everyone got a little taste in Orlando of what it’s like to play without fans,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “It’s weird. But, it’s just the way things work right now. We see it all around the world right now.”
The emptiness truly shows how much life and energy the Black & Gold faithful bring to a match.
“Obviously, our fans are a huge part of our team, our Club and our City,” LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon said. “We know they are backing us from home the entire way, and we know that the fans will be with us every step of the way.”
Without the ever-present sounds of the 3252 reverberating throughout Banc of California Stadium, will it still feel like a “home” match at the Banc?
“It’s going to be different for us,” Blackmon said. “But least we’re at home, in our stadium. So, it gives us a little bit more of a feel of what it’s like to be in that home crowd in a sense. We’re going to miss them until they’re back in our stadium, that’s just a fact.”
The reality is, these are unprecedented times, and even though LAFC will have to make do without the energy of their home crowd in person, it is still good to get back to the Banc.
“We’re certainly excited to get back and play in Banc of California Stadium,” Bradley said. “We miss our fans, so we’ll have to do a really good job of just imagining that they’re all there with us. But, it’s still our stadium. There’s still our memories that motivate us. So, that part is really exciting.”