Wow, what a game. Any time the Union win I am proud, but I’ve never been prouder to be a fan of this team than I am right now. Between some amazing transitional play, great tactical and lineup changes, a heartfelt message and a coach and organization backing up their player in the face of possible scrutiny, this is what sports are all about.
People may say that they want to keep politics out of sports, but tonight isn’t and shouldn’t be about politics so to speak. It should be about an incredible team performance (with a billion different storylines) and an incredible gesture by a true leader acknowledging the pain many communities in the U.S. are going through right now due to mass shootings.
When Alejandro Bedoya scored in the third minute and ran over to the on-field microphone to deliver the message, “Hey Congress, do something. End gun violence now, Let’s go.” tonight became more than just about the result. There are people that will take offense to Bedoya’s message, and to be honest, a soccer article like this is no place to discuss the merits of different potential solutions to preventing mass shootings, but without a doubt, we should all want innocent people to stop being killed.
Bedoya’s message obviously resonated with many people, quickly becoming one of the tops trends on Twitter in the U.S., with a huge outpouring of support. With the game being nationally broadcast on FS1, the news of Bedoya’s message spread like a wildfire online.
In the post-match interviews, Curtin said he was “on Ale’s side” and went on to call for change himself. The MLS Players Association also came out in full support of Bedoya’s comments during and post-game.
“Before I’m and athlete, before I’m a soccer player, I’m a human being first,” Bedoya said post-game. This stuff affects me”
He went on to say: “I’m dropping my kids off at school and I’m looking around paranoid thinking about exit strategy, when I’m at the mall or movie theatre, when I’m at a concert or a festival down the street, big gatherings. Something’s got to be done. It’s gotten to the point where we’ve almost become numb to it, and that’s a big problem”
Our captain taking a stand for what he believes in is something we should celebrate. Bedoya grew up in Florida not far from Parkland High School, and knows many people personally affected by the horrible shooting that happened there. He wants a better and safer world for his kids to live in, and he took his opportunity tonight to deliver a message in the nation’s capital.
ON TOP OF THAT, he scored and the team demolished DC United 5-1. Curtin’s tweaks to the lineup made all the difference and Warren Creavalle played possibly his best game ever for the Union. Marco Fabián was able to stay higher up the pitch to find balls in more dangerous areas, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist as well. Kai Wagner was incredibly dangerous going forward, picking up another assist. The defense, while not maintaining the clean sheet, disrupted DC’s attack for the majority of the match, and while United looked dangerous at times, the Union were dominant on Sunday night.
There’s a lot to be excited about as a Union fan right now. First place in the east, a HUGE road victory, Wooten looking like a great signing, and players back from injuries.
Most exciting to me is that the Union were not just in the spotlight of the league, but in the entire sports and social media world because our captain Ale Bedoya stood up for what he believes in. That, to me, is a really special and incredible thing, and I hope that Bedoya is welcomed back to Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday with deafening cheers on Sunday.