Several members of the FC Dallas family are traveling to Brazil this summer to take in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and have agreed to share their experiences with FCDallas.com to give our readers a first-person perspective of the festivities. Today's entry comes from Mobile Sales Team Manager Ryan Hurtado from Rio de Janeiro.
I'll keep this one as succinct as possible.
The amount of US support in Rio was amazing!
Yesterday while wearing my away kit and and matching board shorts, I was ready to cheer my heart out for this US. We started with breakfast for the Portugal-Germany match at the "Gringo Cafe." A place where American food, drink and traditions are shared. From there, we took in Rio De Janeiro's FIFA Fan Fest on CopaCabana beach. As we walked the streets, constant chants of U-S-A were chanted aloud from English, Americans and Brazilians alike.
Upon arrival it was evident, Americans were ready to represent in Brazil. The music was all American from Guns and Roses to Springsteen and "Born in the USA." As the chants grew, the "I Believes" became stronger, kick was underway. I am not sure if my country pride has ever been stronger. Instantly with Dempsey's fantastic finish the crowd erupted! From tears, hugs and kisses from strangers, it felt like we were outside the White House cheering on our USMNT!
We know how the game panned out and my son will now be named John Anthony. As the whistle blew and the crowd exploded, the screams (I currently can't speak,) the chants and the music was all in accordance for a feeling that I can't only describe as a state of euphoria that was the most intense in my entire life! Seriously, the Fan Fest was the greatest thing I have ever been a part of! This reached it's pinnacle when the PA systems blasted "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and 20,000 plus screamed every lyric while in a joyous mosh pit. The actions we took for this day will be repeated for the following US matches out of superstition to ensure we get out of the group. (We are just trying to do our part).
I know my words will not truly embody what we experienced, but this is a story and feeling I want to share for the rest of my life!
With that day in my memory, I know that soccer is real now in America and if that support grows, the sky is the limit for the US!
I Believe, Ryan
FCD was back to winning ways on Saturday night thanks to Fabian Castillo's game-winner in the 3-2 victory over Colorado. The goal was Castillo's fourth of the season, twice as many as the 21-year-old scored last season, and his wonderstrike has been nominated for AT&T MLS Goal of the Week.
WATCH: GOTW Week 12
FC Dallas returns to Toyota Stadium on Saturday night for the final home match before we kick off the 2014 FIFA World Cup and we're getting ready for the world's biggest sporting event in style.
Gates open at a special 4:30PM time for Saturday's game as we'll be showing the USA's final World Cup sendoff match against Nigeria kicking off at 5:00PM on a portable jumbotron on the north concourse as well as offering $1 tacos(while supplies last) and $4 beer in the El Jimador Cantina until 6:30PM before transitioning straight from the USMNT into FCD's big match against Colorado at 7:30 on the Toyota Stadium pitch.
If you haven't got your ticket yet for Saturday's match, secure yours right here.
We'll see you out here Saturday night as we celebrate both club and country with FC Dallas taking on Colorado in the final home MLS match before July 4 and watch the USA take on Nigeria in the final tuneup before heading down to Brazil.
Matt Hedges has started every match and played every minute of the season for FC Dallas this year, but he hasn't made a save like the one he did on Saturday. After some magic from Earthquakes attacker Yannick Djalo, San Jose's Steven Lenhart headed a looping ball over Chris Seitz that looked destined for the back of the net, but Hedges was the man on the spot to clear away a certain goal.
Hedges' clearance is up for MLSsoccer.com Save of the Week so head over there and vote Hedges!
WATCH: SOTW Week 13
The calendar has turned and that means it's time to release the next edition in our Scarf of the Month line. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicking off this month, naturally June's scarf has a World Cup theme.
The limited-edition scarf shows your support for club and country all at the same time. One side displays "USA" and "FC Dallas" in red, white and blue - the colors of the USMNT and FCD - while the reverse side reads, "One Heart, Two Teams" in yellow, green and blue - the colors of World Cup host nation, Brazil.
This is sure to be one of our fastest-selling scarves of the year, so order yours today before they sell out!
FC Dallas is back home for the next two matches and it all starts on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes. Here's the 10 things you need to know before coming to Toyota Stadium:
1. Gates open super early at 4:30PM for this one as we'll be hosting the Dallas Soccer Heritage Tribute Match featuring former players from the Dallas Tornado, Dallas Sidekicks, Dallas Burn & FC Dallas. Admission is free (with a ticket to the FC Dallas vs. San Jose match) so come on out and watch some of the past stars of Dallas soccer!
2. Get to your seat by 7:15 as we'll be recognizing the Ivory Coast National Team in a special on-field ceremony with their players. Ivory Coast will play El Salvador at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday night!
3. If you do arrive early, stop by the MoneyGram Nations Cup taking place all day on fields 9-14. If you Tweet from the tournament, you can win an FCD jersey or an FCD prize pack with a Raul Fernandez signed mini-ball.
4. While parking is always free for everyone at Toyota Stadium, our Toyota drivers out there can enjoy FREE upgraded parking in the Camry Gold Lot. The Camry Gold Lot is directly NW of the stadium adjacent to the Dr. Pink field.
5. Saturday's match is a family affair for Adam Moffat. He's married to the sister of San Jose Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart.
6. Saturday's Lamar Hunt scarfing ceremony will be done by former 1967/1968 Dallas Tornado member John Stewart.
7. If you can't make Saturday's match, kickoff is set for 7:30PM and the game is available in English on Time Warner Cable Sports HD 148 and in Spanish nationally on UniMas. Your radio options are 100.7FM(English) and 1270AM(Spanish).
8. FCD battles San Jose for the second time in three weeks on Saturday night. They fell in a heartbraking 2-1 loss at Buck Shaw Stadium in a match where Dallas outshot San Jose by nearly 3-1 margin. Read all about the Earthquakes with our Know Your Enemy feature.
9. Weather is looking great for Saturday night with temperatures in the low 80's and only a very slight chance of a quick shower.
10. We've got just a few of our May Scarf of the Month left in the FCD Team Stores and they'll be $10 off at Saturday's game!
There you have it! If you haven't secured your tickets yet, beat the box office lines and get those right here and we'll see you on Saturday night!
We're still a few weeks away from the big tournament in Brazil, but a mini-World Cup comes to Toyota Soccer Center this weekend with the third-annual MoneyGram Nations Cup.
The MoneyGram Nations Cup was organized in 2012 to promote outreach and unity in the local DFW community through the game of soccer and in 2014 we will celebrate the third year of the tournament. 16 teams have been drawn into four groups in a World Cup-style tournament that will determine the 2014 MoneyGram Nations Cup champion.
All group stage games will take place on Saturday, May 31st throughout the day leading up to the FC Dallas vs. San Jose game, and the knockout round semi-finals and finals will be on Sunday, June 1.
Admission is free to all games and we encourage all FC Dallas fans to come out early on Saturday afternoon to take in a little bit of the soccer carnival atmosphere! There will be plenty of fun for the kids with face painting, balloon artist and a soccer-shaped bounce house as well as pizza from Cici's sno-cones and other treats!
On Field 10, the Ultimate Soccer Experience will be set up with different interactive stations including soccer bowling, soccer basketball and a 1-on-1 competition while an EA Sports FIFA 14 station offers the chance to win bragging rights over your friends.
In addition, everyone who attends the MoneyGram Nations Cup will have the opportunity to win a brand new 2014 FC Dallas jersey by Tweeting your most creative photo from the 2014 Nations Cup using #NationsCup14 and here at FCDallas.com we have a special contest where you can win an FCD prize pack featuring a Raul Fernandez signed ball!
You've seen bubble soccer and now a new soccer-related sports mashup is hitting golf courses around the area called Footgolf! It's a combination of soccer and golf and it's something you're definitely going to want to try out.
Lake Park Golf Course in Lewisville is the first footgolf course in DFW and they've partnered with us to create a fun weekend at the end of May. Come out and play a round of footgolf on Friday May 30 and then get a ticket to the FC Dallas game the following night vs San Jose or next weekend's game against Colorado all for just $22!
Here's everyone's favorite, Name That Tune from our last home game against New York:
FC Dallas was incredibly proud to be named the 2013 Editors' Choice Best DFW Sports Team by D Magazine and now we need your help to take home a trio of awards in 2014!
Raul Fernandez made his first start of 2014 just this past weekend and he's been nominated for Best DFW Athlete. Toyota Stadium is set to have the highest FC Dallas average attendance in stadium history in 2014 and our home has been nominated for Best DFW Sports Venue. Third and finally, FC Dallas is nominated for Best DFW Sports Team.
You're allowed to vote once a day and voting runs from today through Sunday, May 11.