October 28, 2021
By Ulysses Smith, Staff Writer
It was cold, dark but the lights and the crowd led the way. I hadn’t been to a roots game since the pandemic started and this was the warmest of welcomes.
We parked on the street completely unaware that Laney offered their parking for free, so instead of parking somewhere stupid like I did, go down to the 12th street parking lot and find a good spot before the game. I made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.
We also left the house way too late and the line was long. There’s only one gate for the entrance so a crowd of 4,000 people had to be processed by four staffers. I missed the first 20 minutes of the match trying to navigate the line and make it through security. They also don’t take cash so make sure that you have a charged phone and a card ready because cashless payment is the only form the vendors accept.
The seating at Roots games is separated into sections, with the main sweep of fans taking up the Mosaic section, decked out in Roots and Oakland gear
Across the field are the sections Deep Roots, The Nest and The Grove. The Grove has padded seats and a private bar (a necessity for many). The Grove allows for access to The Nest, where those willing to drop the extra cash can view the game from an elevated platform above the commotion of the crowd and players below.
Saturday september 11th, The Roots met up with the San Diego Loyal for Pride Night in Oakland, Calif.; A sold-out crowd of over 4000 people came out to see an exhausting match that left both teams walking off the pitch nil-nil.
When you enter the stadium with the press there’s a totally different set up. I go to the office, pick up my press passes and then I’m off to the press box or the field to find the perfect view of the pitch. This time my dad surprised me with a couple tickets for the game last Saturday and I got the opportunity to see the Roots from the fan’s perspective. They did not disappoint.
We made it to the game with a full house of Oaklanders ready to see the Roots play against the Loyals. The mosaic, the general admission seats, were packed full of excited and slightly drunk fans ready to see the home team beat up the enemy.
The Loyals came into the game strong and managed to keep the ball on the Roots half of the field for most of the night. That was just an opportunity to see the impressive goalie work from Paul Angelo Blanchette #20 of the Roots. He managed to hold off two long penalty kicks, a header in the box and several shots on goal.
That’s not to say the Roots didn’t get their shots in. 25 minutes into the first half center-back Emrah Clemente #21 managed to fire a shot past the defense that went just shy of the bottom right post.
Overall it was mostly just a nail biter. That Saturday, we saw two formidable opponents go head to head in an extremely tight game. My favorite part of the night was at the 29 minute of the first half when the Loyals chipped a ball from the left side of the pitch into the penalty box only to be swatted away by Blanhette. We also saw a second place team go head to head with the Roots in 6th and watch them both walk away with nothing on the board.
The atmosphere is unbeatable in the Rootball. If you’re lucky enough to make it to a game you will feel a charge in the air. From excited fans to amped up action the Roots home game air is electric. Get there early as soon as the gates open. Get some empanadas from The Damel and bring some buddies to see an amazing team, and some die-hards screaming and drinking in the crowd.
Since this game the Roots have had some serious matches. They’re currently in fifth place in the Western conference and have one regular season game left. They face off against Sporting Kansas City Saturday the 30th. If Oakland can secure the win then the team will head off USL Western Conference playoffs.