Justin Finger is having a pretty good year. The 30-year-old Air Force veteran from Dover, Delaware, got to see his beloved Philadelphia Eagles finally win a Super Bowl, popped the question to his girlfriend, and now his favorite soccer team is playing for a trophy against his local MLS team.
“This is just the icing on the cake,” Finger said in a recent phone interview.
Finger will be joining a group of some several hundred Sons of Bens supporters making the trek to BBVA Compass Field for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final tonight while his fiancée Megan Flora plans to sit with her fellow Dynamo supporters.
“It’s cool because she’s followed the Dynamo almost since the beginning and I’ve followed the Union from the first season,” Finger said. “Now there’s a rivalry in our apartment.”
Finger first fell in love with the beautiful game during the World Cup in South Africa when he would watch games on his phone during breaks at Wal-Mart back home in Delaware. Support for the Philadelphia Union soon followed and he quickly became as passionate for the Union as he is for the Eagles and other Philly teams.
Love for the game led him to the love of his life. He and Megan first met at an American Outlaws watch party for a U.S. Men’s National Team game in downtown Houston and attended their first USMNT game together against Mexico in San Antonio. Flora was the president of AO Houston at the time so the two quickly bonded over their love of the sport, despite their support for different MLS teams.
“This wouldn’t be the first time Justin and I have had our two teams battle against each other,” said Flora, who was at the MLS Cup finals the Dynamo lost in Los Angeles in 2011 and 2012. “We’ve done it for football as well.”
The Dynamo won the MLS Cup their first two seasons in existence in 2006 and 2007, beating New England Revolution in Frisco for the first title and the Revolution again at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., the following year. This is the team’s first Open Cup final and first final in any competition they are hosting.
“We unfortunately lost (the two MLS Cups in Los Angeles) but walking away with the experience of being at both games is a memory you don’t forget,” she said.
The Union won in Houston at the end of July for the first time since 2011 and just the third time in their history. Now, instead of a two-year wait, Finger gets to see the Union play in person again.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a Union match,” he said.
His wife-to-be isn’t the only one in Houston ribbing him about the game. While he’s currently busy with work and finishing his associate degree in logistics at a local college, he co-hosted a Houston Dynamo podcast for three years and contributed to SB Nation site Dynamo Theory, all the while with full knowledge that his allegiance remained with the blue and gold.
“I would get so much crap for it,” he said.
Finger was back on an SB Nation Dynamo podcast — Generation Orange — on Tuesday night to help them preview tonight’s final, which like many Union fans right now he’s confident will go in Philadelphia’s favor.
“The Eagles went to three Super Bowls and they won their third,” he said. “So now it’s the Union’s turn.”