Minnesota United hosted its biggest regular-season game of the year on Sunday, but the crowd at Allianz Field didn’t have a correlated playoff-like atmosphere.
When state health guidelines allow it, home games in St. Paul at Loons almost always have crowds of more than 19,600, but there were patches of empty seats at the stadium on Sunday, with an announced attendance of 19,027 for 3- . 1 defeat to Colorado Rapids.
And its volume was dampened by a strong soundtrack of cheers and chants emanating from sections of Wonderwall supporters in the southern end of the stadium.
Members of some MNUFC support groups said earlier this week that they would stay away from the stadium as a sign of protest against the club not establishing a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for those attending home games.
The Dark Clouds message on Monday was seen as a boycott of the Games. He clarified this on Wednesday. “We did not intend to interpret our statement as an ultimatum-induced boycott of matches,” he wrote. “…Any fan who feels comfortable participating should do so without feeling like they’re crossing a picket line.”
The MNUFC has endorsed vaccination, masking and social distancing as part of local health guidelines set during the pandemic, but like other professional teams in Minnesota, they have approved vaccination (or a negative test) before entering fans’ venues. proof) is not mandatory.
“We understand the team’s position that this is a difficult set of circumstances to navigate,” Dark Clouds said. “We believe that the team wants to find a way to implement security mechanisms for the benefit of their fans.”
On Thursday, Los Angeles FC said it would join a short list of MLS clubs to have vaccination mandates for games, and some vocal supporters took that news as an opportunity to drive home that the MNUFC should do the same. .
MLS commission Don Garber told Pioneer Press on Tuesday that the league works “in a very linear way” with individual clubs’ responses to the pandemic.
“We’ve said from the start of the pandemic through bubbles, getting back to our markets, getting through the 2020 season, coming back to our markets in ’21, we’ll be adapting to local health guidelines,” Garber said on Tuesday. . “The guidelines here in the city and the state are the ones the club is following, and that’s in accordance with league policy.”
The most obvious change to Sunday’s game-day feel was the absence of Thunderwall, the drum section that provides a steady beat throughout the game and the heavy bass underpinning the chants.
“We are not happy to announce that we will be skipping Bump for the rest of the season until a vaccine, mask or COVID testing mandate is established at @allianzfield,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
The home of the Thunderwalls is in the middle of the Wonderwalls, a group of only standing squares that were not at capacity on Sunday, nor were groups of other seats throughout the stadium.
Loons midfielder Ethan Finlay said fans in the stands were loud and in the game. “But we didn’t give them enough to please, to be honest,” Finlay said. “If it was quieter than usual, it was probably a little bit on us.”