The New York Red Bulls, currently sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference of MLS, are building a strong following of their own as well. With the recent construction of the new Red Bull Arena, and the acquistion of Thierry Henry in 2010, the Red Bulls have warranted some attention.
However, building a new stadium and bringing in players like Henry can only keep fans happy for so long. Bottom line, New Yorkers want winners.
Although their team currently occupies second place in the Eastern Conferene, Red Bull fans are in discontent. And it starts with their general manager Erik Soler.
"The season has so far been below our expectations, and there’s nowhere to hide that [disappointment]." Soler said to the Sporting News. "We are, in my opinion, eight to 10 points behind where we should be."
The most recent development that has turned Red Bull fans away was the U.S. Open Cup.
Red Bulls fans have been waiting fifteen years for a major trophy and July 12 did not sit well with them. In a quarterfinal match against the Chicago Fire, the Red Bulls started a second-string unit and lost 4-0.
This Saturday, when the club hosts FC Dallas, they will try a new tactic to voice their displeasure: Silence.
According the Sporting News, three supporter groups have opted to remain silent for the first 45 minutes of Saturday's match. The silence will essentially erase homefield advantage and will portray a lack of support entirely.
The club has won just two regular season games since April and has accumulated 11 ties in 22 games this season. Second place in the Eastern Conference should be enough for the club to refute fans' feelings, but the Red Bull supporters want more.
For MLS, this is much bigger than a bunch of pissed off fans.
In a four-sport dominated market, seeing this type of discontent for an MLS team bodes well for the league. New York has made strides to advance the league with the construction of the new stadium and bringing in big name players, but it's not enough.
It's a good thing to see MLS fans not settling for anything but the best as well.
MLS was established in 1993 with 10 teams. The league has no doubt grown over the years, including the expansion in 2005, to what has become an 18-team league. The solid fan bases and support, like the one in New York, will determine the league's future.
Although it will be interesting to see what happens if New York scores in the first half, the deafening silence, if held strong following a goal, might wake up Henry and the rest of the Red Bull squad.