Waking Up Terribly Early to Watch the Match from San Francisco
By Tim Palucka
While I would have liked to have joined you at Piper’s on Sunday for the Chelsea’s glorious 2-0 win over Liverpool, I found myself at the end of a business trip to San Francisco on Sunday morning. This meant (1) finding a soccer bar and (2) watching the game at 6:00 a.m. Must be tough to be a BPL fan on the west coast.
Google’s first listing directed me Danny Coyle’s Pub (which a patron later told me was a Tottenham bar) on Haight St.; apparently I should have done a deeper search and ended up at “Mad Dog in the Fog,” a Chelsea bar just a few blocks away on Haight. Ah, well. The pub was about 2 miles from my hotel. The morning was cold and drizzling rain, so I tried to get a cab. But the cabs outside the hotel were lined up for the big fares they get from taking people to the airport in the morning. Luckily, the first cabbie in line helped me to flag down a passing taxi and get me to the game on time.
There were about a dozen people there when I arrived at Danny Coyle’s and at least 10 of them were Liverpool fans. Three young men from Dublin had just arrived at the airport after flying all night and had gone straight to the pub to catch the match—one of them a Liverpool fan, one a Chelsea fan, and the other seemingly neutral. Alcohol was served starting at 6 a.m., but there wasn’t a food menu in sight.
The Liverpool fans were cocky, as they perhaps had a right to be after the string of victories they had recently posted. They had the home field advantage and a Chelsea side that didn’t have Oscar, Torres, Terry, Hazard, or Cech on the pitch—it looked like Mourinho was conceding this match and getting ready for Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
They were still cocky as we entered stoppage time in the first half, as the statistics showed they had controlled the ball for a good two-thirds to three-quarters of the first half. But hen Gerrard slipped and Dembe Ba kicked one into the goal between the keeper’s legs on a breakaway, and the mood decisively turned at Danny Coyle’s pub. Liverpool’s unyielding attack in the second half was met by Chelsea’s equally unyielding defense, until another breakaway by Torres and Willian led to the second goal and sealed the victory for Chelsea. The outcome of the BPL league, instead of being decisively in Liverpool’s control, was now as undecided as ever, with the Blue having a great shot at the title. What a game and what a season!
And I’ll never complain about getting up for an 8:30 match at Piper’s again. I’ll be thinking about our friends in San Francisco, getting up three hours earlier.
(Image from Wikipedia Commons)