Minnesota United fans pack Allianz Field for home-opener

April 13, 2019 10:13 PM

The roar from Allianz Field echoed through St. Paul's Midway neighborhood Saturday afternoon as Minnesota United took the field for the first time in its new home.

The sellout crowd of more than 19,700 fans packed in to see the soccer club in action against New York City FC.


"This is going to be a place where they get a real home-field advantage," said Chad Hanson, a fan who brought his son, Caden, to the game.

Hanson had already been inside to tour the new stadium before it opened, but other fans were excited to see what the Loons' new home looked like.

Season ticket holder Skylar Fehlan said she watched the team play the last few years at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

"I feel like we were stepping in on the Gophers, their home, but now that we're able to call this our home, it's a completely different feeling," Fehlan said. "It's a pride thing. It's an excitement thing."

Welcome To The Neighborhood

Some Minnesota United fans are so committed to the team and its new digs, they picked their families up and moved closer to the stadium.

Matt Privratsky and his wife bought a home in the Hamline/Midway neighborhood about three years ago.

"It was an incredible bonus to be able to find a great neighborhood that would also have a local soccer team playing right down the street," Privratsky said.

The stadium is a 20-minute walk from his front door. He marched to the game Saturday with neighbors from the area.

"Getting to see it in person and see the game will be sort of incredible," Privratsky said.

Leading that group of supporters was Nach Karnik, another St. Paul resident who made the decision to move to the area because of the soccer club.

"When Minnesota United decided to put a stadium here, there was only really one place to go and buy a house," Karnik said standing outside a local watering hole.

Karnik said he believes the long-term benefits to the area will come slowly as the season rolls on.

"I think it's going to drive a lot of traffic to this neighborhood and I hope it helps the local businesses," Karnik said.

As for the game itself, the team settled for a high-scoring draw.

Minnesota United's next home match is Wednesday, April 24.

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Kirsten Swanson

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