Away Days: A Running Diary of Our Visit to Frisco

Wednesday, August 23 
After checking the Los Verdes Slack every few hours for the last couple weeks, my buddies (Ram & Miles) and I secured bus tickets for the away match at FC Frisco. For whatever reason, we waited too long to get bus tickets during the initial drop, but this was also due in large part to the fact that the front office (FO) had only secured three buses as opposed to the six that were available last year.

The ideal plan was to ride the bus to and from, but we were prepared to drive and stay the night in Frisco if that didn’t work out. Luckily it did, and I was able to cancel the hotel room.

Many of you reading this have likely seen our boys under the Verde Lights of Q2 stadium on multiple occasions. And while I love watching at Q2 (shout out to Section 135), there’s something special about supporting the team you love in enemy territory.

Years ago, I read This Love is Not for Cowards by Robert Andrew Powell and I fell in love with the idea of the Away Day. I first read the book in 2014, back when having a professional football club in Austin seemed like a distant fantasy. But I knew that, given the opportunity, I would like to replicate what Powell did with some of the crazy supporters of the now-defunct Indios de Ciudad Juárez when they went off to support their team in Monterrey.

Friday, August 25
Bad news, our friend Miles had to drop out and our trio is now down to two. I’m gutted because, beyond being a hell of a lot of fun to be around, Miles understands the role that the away fan plays. You gotta be loud, you gotta sing for 90+ minutes, and while having fun with fellow supporters is almost always guaranteed, the primary objective is to do everything in your power (within legal means) to help the boys earn all three points on the road.

We’ll be down one Miles, but the show must go on. I pack about 200 stickers for the trip to Frisco.

Saturday, August 26 – Match Day
11:00 AM
After watching Arsenal drop points to Fulham at The Tavern, Ram and I head off for some sustenance. If you’ve been reading my articles, you know very well how much I love food. But today, I didn’t really care about eating anything specific. I just knew that I wanted something that wasn’t too greasy and, ideally, something I could eat right before the match. Enter: Chick-fil-A.

Scarfed up my #1 combo, bought an extra sandwich for later, and headed off to Q2 stadium to board the buses.

Austin FC Jerseys

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12:00 PM
Met up with our friend Cassy, who also helped make sure we secured bus tickets, in the Q2 parking lot and chatted about, the topic du jour: the damn heat. We soon realized we were dumb for not standing in the shade and found a tree to stand under.

It was here we learned about Bob Barker’s passing. Many people around us had assumed that Bob had passed years ago. But I guess he hadn’t. RIP, Bob. Thanks for being such a big part of my childhood. Remember to help control the pet population; have your pet spayed or neutered.

12:15 PM
It’s time to select the right bus. First priority is to make sure that you’re getting on the same one as your buds. Second priority is to avoid Bus #1. Always avoid Bus #1.

To be honest, if this were 2013, and not 2023, I’d be one of the first ones on Bus #1. But I’m almost 40, and I have to sleep on the way back if I’m going to function at all on Sunday. I’m down to party all the way up to Frisco, but on the way back, I need my mimis.

Third priority is to get on the bus with the jello shots. So far all three boxes are checked. As we’re boarding Bus #2, I see them loading a speaker the size of Verne Troyer onto Bus #1. Always avoid Bus #1.

12:30 PM
And we’re off. I’m surrounded by a bunch of friends, both new and old. Ram, Capital City Soccer’s very own Adam Byerly, Adrianne, Cassy, Kyle (who is named after Kyle Field but not that Kyle Field), and Gary who is ready to go the full 90+ for La Murga.

Making the right choice of bus also includes choosing a good seat. Assuming you have the entire bus to choose from, you want to sit near the front (closer to the ice chest), but avoid the back (in case someone drops a deuce in the restroom which is very, very frowned upon but also possible).

Our bus is also supported by Luis and Shohan (sp); two young guys who work for the club. Their main responsibilities include passing out Heinekens and Dos XX to the passengers, putting up with our stupid jokes, and making sure all passengers make it back to Q2 fourteen hours later.

2:00 PM
We arrive at Buc-ee’s in Temple, Texas and are directed to the parking lot by none other than Darth Verde himself. Not all heroes wear capes. I mean, Darth Vader does, but Darth Verde (aka Rashid) doesn’t need to.

2:15 PM
The goal once inside Buc-ee’s is simple: use the bathroom and buy some snacks. Also, if you ever see me in line at Target, H-E-B, or Buc-ee’s go to the opposite line. One of my hidden talents is finding the slowest moving line. Here’s an unflattering picture of me waiting in the slow line taken by Ram.

Los Verdes at Buccees

2:30 PM
The picture. It’s tradition to take a supporters pic at the Buc-ee’s. You’ll notice that last year, we had way (like a lot more) people in the pic. This may be due in part to the FO only being able to secure three buses. Or maybe everyone is just tired of Josh Wolff. 
We take the pic, desperate to get back inside the buses before we melt.

2022 vs. 2023 | Both photos courtesty of Los Verdes

3:30 PM
At some point we exhaust the jello shots and I request ‘that song by Akon.’ The DJ knows what I mean, and I’m transported back to 2006 while we jam out to ‘I Wanna Love You.’ Only whatever the non-radio version is called.

I crack open a cold one with the boys.

5:00 PM
We finally make it to the Green Gator to guess what…drink some more! Unlike Buc-ee’s, the Green Gator is not prepared to handle the mass of Verde inside of their restaurant. I learned my lesson from last year and promptly ordered a bucket of beers for the crew. After taking down a few buckets, and checking in with all the Verde friends inside we head back to the buses.

I am now very hungry.

Los Verdes at Green Gator
Verde…verde everywhere

6:30 PM
Some flares are lit right outside the bus and La Murga leads us into some songs. I get inside the bus to my extra chicken sandwich and Cassy takes a very unflattering video of me taking down my dinner (that’s what friends are for, I guess?). It’s at this point that I realize that I’ve had 2.5 Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches in one day. My wife had half of a sandwich in the fridge and that ended up being my breakfast earlier that day.

Don’t judge me too harshly, por favor.

6:45 PM – 10:00 PM
We make our way inside Toyota Stadium and make our way to Section 132. I don’t really feel the need to recap the game, but you should read Adam’s recap if you haven’t already. Some general comments:

  • There is a LOT of organization that has to happen to make sure that (a) 375 tickets are allotted to our away fans correctly, (b) everyone gets their safely, and (c) that we’re allowed to bring the right amount of flags, banners, and instruments inside the stadium. I can’t say enough good things about all the people in Los Verdes, Austin Anthem, and La Murga for everything they do to coordinate this experience. They are the real MVPs.
  • Because it’s so hard to fill up Toyota Stadium, their FO has to come up with cheesy gimmicks like they do at baseball games. Fair play to them, I guess. You gotta do what you gotta do. But because the post-match show was a Star Wars themed drone show, there were a ton of really stupid references to Star Wars during the match.
FC Dallas Stadium Drone Show
  • The FC Dallas FO literally didn’t allow us to bring Pollo into the stadium. Imagine being that scared of a rubber chicken. You can’t make this stuff up.
  • It was hot (shocker) and we were standing and singing the full 90 minutes. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I struggle to focus on the match when I’m in the Supporters Section. Between singing and flag waving (a very important part of any supporters section, IMO), it’s just hard to maintain full focus. But I firmly believe that, as an away supporter, I’m there to help influence the game, more than I am there to enjoy it. Again, priority one is getting all three points. Or in this case, just a freaking draw!

10:00 PM
I’ve watched some really painful losses throughout my time as a sports fan, but I’ve never been there in person to witness one as cruel as this one. This was the Stomach Punch. After Dani Pereira got sent off in the 67’, we all knew that we’d just be holding on to the draw. As the game wore on and we got closer to full-time, you could hear us get louder and louder. I’ll always remember one of the Capo’s coming up to the middle of the section and signaled ‘2 more minutes’ with his hands. It was that close.

The plan was always to exit the stadium immediately after the game, as the FC Dallas FO made that very clear. We were never going to be allowed to watch the drone show. I don’t know if any Frisco fans taunted us on the way out, but it may have happened. I was too crushed to notice anything happening in my peripherals anyway.

The bus ride was a very somber one, to say the least. 

And to add insult to injury the drone show looked pretty damn cool from inside the bus.

FC Dallas Stadium Drone Show

2:00 AM
We made it back to Q2 and I drove back home in silence.

It’s been a very tough season, to say the least, but an away win over your rivals is always something to look forward to, especially when a trophy is involved (and I don’t care if that trophy is ‘unofficial’ it’s still real to me, damn it).

I love this team, even though the 2023 iteration of it isn’t as likable as the 2022 version. I’ll still be at all home matches, and will be hoping for a playoff appearance. And, should we make the playoffs, who knows, maybe some sort of magic will happen.

But another part of me just wants this season to end. After poor showings in all three Cup competitions, Diego being shipped to LA Galaxy, and the constant #WolffOut noise (which is deserved, IMO, that dressing room hasn’t been right all season) I’m ready to just start it all over.

2:30 AM
Made it home and showered. After being awake for the last 21 hours (though I did take ~90 minutes worth of naps on the bus ride back), I’m still thinking about my day. You always take a risk attending an away match. If you come back home with a positive result, you feel vindicated in your sacrifice. If you don’t, well, you question things. It’s just the way it is.

But questioning doesn’t mean regret. I’m thankful that I’m in a position in my life where I can support my local team, both here at home and away. And also thankful I have a wife who supports me in doing so (another real MVP).

If you don’t know Spanish, the Robert Andrew Powell book ‘This Love is Not For Cowards,’ translates to ‘Este Amor No Es Para Cobardes.’ And look, I understand that there are levels of fandom. I don’t expect anyone to love this club the way I do, though there are many people that do (and then some). Este amor no es para cobardes…to love your team in this way means you open yourself up to all the bad things that could possibly happen in fútbol.

But also the good. And that’s why, in 2024, when it’s time to go to Frisco again, I’ll start to get that itch.

For now though, it’s finally time for some mimis.

Cover image courtesy Los Verdes

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