Cary Delivers Cool Memories

USA – 1, Paraguay – 0

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The United States Men’s National Team traveled to Cary, North Carolina last Tuesday to take on Paraguay in a friendly match that saw them in the state of North Carolina for the first time in 12 years. The trip to The Triangle was a welcome one for soccer-hungry fans in the area, excited to see their MNT return to the state.

AO Raleigh welcomed dozens of members to their night before party at their host bar, The London Bridge Pub in downtown Raleigh. Great times were shared by the fans who traveled from near and far to experience the bar. London Bridge has been a long-time bar partner from AO Raleigh’s early days as AO Raleigh-Durham. The 3rd chapter in AO, it had hosted matches for the WNT before, but never the MNT.

WorldSoccerShop also had a major presence at the NB4, with a heat press set up so fans could get patches pressed onto their jerseys or shirts, handing out gift cards to all who showed up to the night before, and raffling off a brand new 2018 U.S. jersey as well as 4 AO 10 Year jerseys. All in all, it was a terrific night with terrific hosts. The owner of The London Bridge Pub sat down with AO to discuss how he thinks the partnership with AO Raleigh has benefitted both parties and why it’s important to join fellow members at local watch parties:

Tuesday was gameday, a cool, crisp one but the weather was not going to deter folks from coming in from all around the region. After hanging the banners and positioning drums at Early Entry, tailgate prep was on. Tents were set up, food was arranged, and the beer was organized. Al pastor tacos were on the menu in addition to burgers, hot dogs, brats and various sausages. Then, around 2pm, the tailgate began, with members streaming in to try some Oskar Blues and other local beer selections, sampling the food and picking up some merch from the AO tent:

WorldSoccerShop returned to join us at the tailgate, and the line of fans waiting to get AO patches pressed onto their jerseys was consistently long but full of happiness.

The tailgate brought everyone together, with people excited to see some of the young stars on the roster make their debut: Timothy Weah, Andrija Novakovich, and Marky Delgado were among the players fans were most excited to see in a MNT uniform for the first time. Then, around 6:30pm, the short march to WakeMed Soccer Park was on, with casual fans joining the more than 600 AO members in attendance to create a loud, visible presence to energize the crowd as they entered the stadium. The stadium is a small one, with a capacity of 10,000, and it provided an intimate atmosphere for attendees. After fans got settled on the endline, the support continued, with AO Raleigh providing some great chants to keep the section energized. In the 44th minute, Tyler Adams got taken down by the Paraguayan goalkeeper in the box for a penalty, which Bobby Wood calmly slotted into the back of the net to make it 1-0. That sent the section into delirium, as well as all of the almost 9,900 people at WakeMed Soccer Park.

In the second half, we saw debuts from Andrija Novakovich as well as Timothy Weah, who became the first player born in the 2000s to play on the MNT. There was a lot of energy on the field and in the stands for the entire game. Wood’s successful penalty proved to be the difference, as the USMNT emerged as the 1-0 winners over Paraguay. For the members in attendance, it was a night to remember, as the MNT collected their first win in 2018. We can’t thank AO Raleigh enough for the cool memories and the great times. I’m sure we will be back there soon.