I’ve covered a few dozen matches at Allianz Field, which opened in 2019, but never from inside a tent while contemplating whether I should have worn 10 layers of clothing instead of a mere nine.
Inside the tent set up to accommodate the media members that the U.S. Soccer Federation couldn’t fit into the stadium’s tiny press box for the U.S.’s World Cup qualifying against Honduras on Wednesday night was a long row of tall tables and barstools, each with the name of an unfortunate soul who wasn’t granted indoor seating. The match was about to kick off, and to either side of my station were two open seats, each bearing the names of who I was supposed to be brushing elbows with for the duration. It was eerie seeing so many reserved spots left unclaimed; had they already succumbed to the cold before even making it into the arena?
Further to my left was a long-time Minnesotan who moved to his publication’s home base a few years ago. It took a second to recognize him, thanks to his large hat, thick jacket, and ski goggles. Within a minute of reconnecting, I learn that he has opted to put hand warmers inside of his boots to keep his feet warm. Even though he’s directly in front of a heating lamp, he said it isn’t enough to even remove his hat.
To our right, local TV reporters are talking about “roughing it” and similar Minnesotan standby synonyms for “this sucks.” Exactly as we had both imagined what it would be like to cover a World Cup qualifier in our home state.
There’s only one topic which Minnesotans love discussing more than the weather: how long they’ve lived in Minnesota. I’ve lived in this state my entire life, from birth to Wednesday night’s flirtation with frostbite nearly 28 years later. From the day U.S.