Remembering When MLS Stopped For 9/11

MLS cancelled the last 2 weeks of the MLS season in 2001, and here's how it all happened
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Thursday, September 11, 2014

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

It has been 13 years.

Lives were lost 13 years ago when our nation was attacked, with both the Pentagon in our nation’s capital and the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan of New York City were both taken down.

It was a tragedy.

The Friday before that terrible day I took the PATH train (Port Authority Train of NY & NJ) from Hoboken to the World Trade Center and hung out in the area at the original hangout of the Empire Supporters Club in Nathan Hale’s near City Hall, had a meal and a beer to talk to friends.

I went to my job back in New Jersey to get ready for the evening’s work, which would be the last time I took the train to that location.

On Monday, Sept. 10, a night off for me. I went to the Yankees game against their hated rivals in the Boston Red Sox, but the torrential rainstorms made the field unplayable and the game was cancelled. I was a bit disappointed because I couldn’t watch the game, but at least I knew I could exchange the ticket for another game on the schedule or for the 2012 season.

Then, on that tragic day, my phone rang as my friend from Orlando, Florida, called me and told me to turn on the TV, which I thought it was going to be an announcement for a new ride at the Walt Disney World resort was going to open.

Sadly I saw the World Trade Center on fire. Then on the Television with a live shot showing the second plane flying into the other tower and the explosion followed. That was one of the worst days I have seen my city take as well as the country.

But most of all, I remember MLS subtracting the last two weekends of the season because of the aftermath of that day.

I felt back then Commissioner Don Garber did the wrong thing there, because it showed that the terrorists were winning and that their messages were heavily affecting American culture.

But as the years went by, I have reconsidered that stance and believed he did the right thing. No one was going to the games, for one thing. And, more importantly, it would give two cities the chance to heal. It help patch a wound the nation had surely felt.

At the time, the Red Bulls, known then the MetroStars, were involved with the Copa Merco Norte – which has been replaced with the Copa Sud Americana from CONMEBOL – and were in a group with Mexican club side Guadalajara of Chivas.

And yesterday, 13 years later, RBNY defeated DC United. An intriguing match given the history of the two cities of these two clubs.

It ended with New York getting the win, but a result doesn’t matter. Both the teams, like the two cities did for 9/11, believed in a cause and worked to overcome troubles that befell them.


Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.